FdA Childhood Studies & Professional Practice

Start date(s):
21 Sep 2020
2 years
Level 5
Credit Value:
Course Code:
Ucas Code:
Study Mode:
Full Time
Attendance Type:
Attendance Pattern:
Framwellgate Moor Campus
Course costs:
£9000 per year
This programme is validated by New College Durham


Course details may be subject to change

This course combines practical and theoretical learning to help you develop expert skills and knowledge for working with children, and is perfect for those who would like to work as an early years practitioner, childminder, pre-school leader, or in another similar role in the early years and education sector (0-11 years).

The early years sector is diversifying and there is an increasing demand for highly-trained staff who are knowledgeable, flexible and adaptable. Your mandatory work placement will help you put your theoretical knowledge into practice.

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Guest speakers

Our early year's degree students regularly hear from guest speakers to increase their knowledge of the career opportunities available.


This programme aims to challenge you, and facilitate critical reflection and the development of contemporary academic understanding. You will establish a firm understanding of the early years sector.

The vocational aspect aims to produce higher level engaged professionals that value a child-centred approach to care, learning and development.

The programme provides a curriculum relevant to the requirements of early years students, to allow them to secure employment.


Level 4:
  • Personal and Professional Development 1 - this module will cover a range of skills necessary for higher education, with an emphasis on academic development and the importance of becoming a reflective practitioner.
  • Work Related Learning 1 - this module will provide you with an understanding of organisational practice and the wider community.
  • Developmental Influences on Children's Learning - this module aims to provide you with a balanced and critical overview of how children develop underpinned by theoretical perspectives.
  • Sociological Perspectives on Children - sociological theory is introduced to consider the contemporary influences and challenges which affect children in today's society.
  • Living and Working in a Diverse World - this module explores the concept of discrimination and all the facets.
  • The Curriculum 0-11 Years - the curriculum is explored using philosophical and theoretical perspectives combined with an exploration of alternative curricula.
  • You will be observed in the workplace.

Level 5:
  • Personal and Professional Development 2 - this module aims to enable you to understand research methods, processes and critical thinking skills.
  • Work Related Learning 2- skills of organisational appraisal will facilitate a deeper understanding of professional practice which will broaden career development.
  • Safeguarding Children - an in depth understanding will be explored of professional roles and responsibilities.
  • Additional Needs and Challenging Behaviour - a case study reflection will facilitate your understanding of special educational needs.
  • Child Health and Well-being - this module explores contemporary views of child health and well-being.
  • A Study of a Contemporary Workplace Issue - you will choose a contemporary issue which impacts upon your practice appraised by a literature review.

Time commitment

Average number of hours per week

Work Placement
Assignment Feedback
Independent Learning


*Days and times of study are subject to change. Timetables are confirmed at the start of term.

Teaching & assessment

This programme is theoretical by design and underpinned with placement opportunities. This develops employability skills and reflection on practice.

Teaching will involve lectures, classroom based activities and interactive workshops. Strategies are designed to engage you and will include involvement in presentations, case studies, debates and student reflection. Subject specific guest speakers inform module content. You will be observed in the workplace, to facilitate academic understanding.

You will be assigned a dedicated tutor. Tutorials are either one-to-one, group or email. Additional learning materials are provided via the College virtual learning environment to encourage independent and self-study.

You will receive written and oral feedback through formative and summative assessment. This will enable improvement of future work. You will develop an individual learning plan to help plan and monitor your performance both academic and professional practice skills within the PPD modules.

Maths and English

Literacy - higher order and critical language will be developed based upon subject specific vocabulary in speech and writing. Summarising and synthesis of information from a range of sources, using correct terms and higher order thinking. This is underpinned by correct academic writing styles. Activities undertaken with children have to link to their literacy development.

Numeracy - extraction of information from research data will be developed, which is module specific. Understanding child development in terms of maths; percentile charts, physical growth and activities linked to children's numeracy development.
Stobo Castle

Maths & English

Maths and English skills are essential for the workplace and university.

Industry links:

You will be observed in the workplace over both years of the programme of study. There is a requirement for you to adopt a professionalism within your workplace. Workplace guidance is provided and a critical friend will be required.


If you are studying on the full-time programme, you will be expected to attend a placement equivalent to one day per week for the duration of the academic year.

You are expected to have your work placement organised prior to starting the course - this is based upon your career aspirations. Placement opportunities are varied; private day care, statutory nursery or school, independent and private provision, children's centres, voluntary community groups, special education provision and domiciliary placements.

You could progress to study BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Top-up) or BA (Hons) Education and Training (Top-up) at New College Durham, or a relevant qualification at university.

Alternatively, you could secure employment in the industry, such as a learning mentor or family support worker.

Progress onto further study


BA (Hons) top-up Education & Training

This programme will top-up your foundation degree in an education or supporting learning related area to a degree and will provide you with the potential to progress within the education sector.

Meet our students

Charlotte Tait BA (Hons) Education & Training

Charlotte Tait

Charlotte progressed to work as an Early Years Practitioner at Stepping Stones Nursery in Durham.

What else?

We have strong links with employers to ensure this course meets the demands of industry and best practice.


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Fees and funding

Find out more about course fees and financial support for UK, EU and non-EU students, plus how to pay your fees.

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Refund Policy 20-21

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Additional Costs

Placement attendance is mandatory therefore travel costs may be a consideration. Additionally, the placement may expect you to conform to uniform policy.

Interview Instructions

At interview, you will be asked to undertake a written test, which will assess your ability to answer questions in a balanced way and will assess your understanding of working with children. Literacy and coherence of the work will be assessed.

The interview will explore;
  • Prior experiences and professional practice.
  • Motivation for undertaking the course and areas of interest within the programme.
  • Ability to cope academically and transition into higher education.
  • Your perception of key qualities and attributes to work in the sector.

Further Education

Getting ready for your college interview

Find out more information about your college interview.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System Credits:


Entry Criteria

UCAS tariff points:
Standard entry criteria:
  • At least four GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or Level 2 equivalent), including maths and English – a GCSE grade C/4 or above in Science is essential for those wanting to progress to a teaching degree.
  • Appropriate Level 3 qualification or A-Levels relevant to the sector.
  • If you are a non-native English speaking student, you will be required to hold an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent.
  • Minimum of 32 UCAS credits.

If you are looking to study on this programme, you must be employed or volunteer within the sector and have the support of your employer to commit to your required study leave. This is obtained through written confirmation either letter or email.

Non-standard entry criteria:
  • Evidence of relevant work experience
  • Evidence of the attainment of skills which demonstrate ability to study at this level and concordant with UK Quality Assurance Agency code.
  • A current satisfactory Enhanced Certificate DBS will need to be provided.
  • Two satisfactory references will be required from appropriate professionals which includes an academic reference.
  • Interview on a one-to-one basis to identify preparedness, career aspirations and demonstration of qualities and attributes necessary within the early years and education sector.