Course specification and structure
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UDERLYCS - BA Early Childhood Studies

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Social Professions
Subject Area Health, Social Care and Early Childhood
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS  
Part-time 4 YEARS  
Part-time Distance Learning 4 YEARS  
Full-time Distance Learning 3 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is a full or part-time degree, offered in both face-to-face and online modes. The degree has been developed to meet the need for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families across all sectors; play, care, health. Students who are experienced practitioners are required to be working with young children during their studies, so either attend for taught sessions in the day or evenings or study through distance learning, usually part-time.

Students, who are new entrants to the field attend for taught sessions in the day, usually full-time and are required to complete assessed professional placements in early childhood settings at all levels of the course. In order to qualify with ‘practitioner option’ and be classed as a ‘full and relevant’ practitioner, under the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage, students need to successfully complete the professional practice modules at level 4 [SE4004] and level 5 [SE5W50]. Therefore, a key feature of the course is its emphasis on praxis and the development of professional as well as academic skills and knowledge.

The focus of Early Childhood Studies is the study of the play, development and learning of the young child in a historical, political and socio-cultural context and the implications of this for practice in early childhood settings. A range of local and international perspectives are taken, including; children's rights, children's health and well-being, pedagogical and curriculum approaches, diversity and inclusion. The course therefore draws on a range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology and social policy, education and health.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods include workshop-seminars and blended learning for taught students; and for distance learning students, access to course materials through the university’s virtual learning environment. A range of visual materials, such as diagrams, photographs and videos are used both in the classroom and on the university’s virtual learning platform, and are therefore available to all students. Students are also encouraged to undertake enriching activities e.g. attendance at relevant exhibitions and visits to relevant sites or community resources and these enrichment activities are embedded in some modules.

Online students who are located geographically near to the university are included in all university based teaching and learning and enrichment activities. Students who are located at a distance from the university are offered parallel activities and experiences through the university’s virtual learning platform and to engage with relevant facilities local to them.

Debate and group discussion support cognitive skills both in the classroom and through web-based discussion and seminar groups. Reflection and discussion are key to teaching for all students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the reflective exercises incorporated into the web-based materials. For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods also focus on workplace skills and professionalism. All students undertake and reflect on observations in the placement / workplace and all modules have a range of weekly tasks and reflective exercises to support increased knowledge and understanding. Observations, action research, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of practitioners’ professional competence. The development of transferable skills in presenting evidence, arguments and points of view to a range of audiences, through a range of media, including the use of ICT also supports learning.

Course aims

1. Develop the professional competence of those who work with young children and their families, meeting local and national workforce development needs, thereby improving the quality of early childhood care and education across a range of services
2. Promote the academic study of children and early childhood in an ecological context and to enable students to develop insights and understandings relating to how children and childhood are understood from a range of academic and professional perspectives
3. Facilitate the development of early childhood specialists who are able to explain, reflect upon and critically assess their own practice; the legislative and historical framework in which they work and to take a well-informed part in current debates in the field, thereby acting as advocates in the field
4. Enable students to recognise their strengths, capabilities and experience as professionals and learners and to take active responsibility for their own learning and to contribute to the learning of their colleagues
5. Develop students’ awareness of the inequalities faced by young children and their families and to develop awareness of anti-discriminatory practice
6. Enhance the professional identities of early childhood practitioners, within a multi-disciplinary, multi-professional context
7. Enable, empower and enthuse students to make transformational changes to their own lives and to the lives of children, families and communities
8. Enable students to meet required early childhood care and education professional standards

Course learning outcomes

The following learning outcomes incorporate and depend on systematic understanding of the key aspects of the knowledge base of Early Childhood Studies, including a coherent and detailed knowledge of some specialist areas in depth.

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

1. deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within Early Childhood Studies

2. devise and sustain arguments, and/or to solve problems, using ideas and techniques, some of which are at the forefront of Early Childhood Studies;

3. describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in Early Childhood Studies, recognising the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;

4. manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (for example, refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to Early Childhood Studies);

5. apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects;

6. critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem;

7. communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;

8. exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts;

9. undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

SE4001
SE4005
SE4002
SE4003
SE4004
SE5059
SE5002
SE5003
SE5054
SE5055
SE5W50
SE5004
SE5058
SE5060
SE6057
SE6003
SE6054
SE6P00

Learning Outcomes covers LO1-9

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Early Childhood Studies (2014)

Assessment strategy

The teaching and learning strategies offer a wide range of opportunities for formative feedback. All students, taught course and distance learning, have opportunities for formative assessment through submitting tasks for either peer review or tutor written feedback as appropriate. Taught course students also receive formative feedback in class activities and group activities, whilst distance learning students have the opportunity for on-line discussion forums and quizzes. Students are encouraged to reflect on and take responsibility for their own learning, building on the formative feedback they receive.

All students for both taught and distance learning modes are invited to attend a face to face tutorial to discuss their summative assessment in advance of submission deadlines. Where a personal meeting is not possible, (for example, students living abroad and studying in distance learning mode) this will take place by telephone or e-mail. Students will receive detailed formative written feedback following these tutorials.

A range of summative assessment instruments are utilised throughout the course in ways which will enable students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding. The range includes essays, child studies, critical analysis of policies, portfolios and a final research project. Taught course students make oral presentations, while distance learning students undertake parallel assessment tasks but in written form. All students will receive written feedback against all criteria following the publication of marks. This will be the most comprehensive in cases of failure, where this will support learning for reassessment.
Students without a pre-existing level 3 early childhood qualification or the required experience must undertake assessed placements in relevant settings across levels 4 and 5 of the course, in order to achieve professional recognition. Assessment will be through completion of a portfolio of work and through setting based practice assessments against agreed criteria on three occasions over the course of an academic year. Setting-based mentors and university supervising tutors will complete regular observations, with formative feedback given on each occasion. A report will be completed with a grade given.

There is a strong emphasis in all assessment instruments on the relationship between practical work related tasks and theoretical perspectives – which is itself an important practical professional skill.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Students, who are experienced practitioners in the field will normally be working with young children throughout their studies; where this is not the case they must spend a minimum of two hours per week per module observing and working with young children in a placement in an early childhood setting.

Students who are new entrants to the field will be required to attend placement in early childhood placements across the whole programme – practice will be assessed at levels 4 and 5. Students are supported by a setting based mentor and a university supervising tutor. Assessment will be through completion of a portfolio of work and through setting based practice assessments against agreed criteria on three occasions over the course of an academic year.

Course specific regulations

Students who have completed a Foundation degree in Early Childhood with one of our partner institutions and who are enrolled as LMU students are able to complete at BA level as well as BA (Hons).

Fitness to Practise Procedures – Early Childhood Studies

A. Policy

A.1 London Metropolitan University recognises that in conferring certain academic awards that lead to a professional qualification or registration, it has a duty to ensure the fitness of students for practice and registration. As a result students on courses leading to such awards have certain obligations and responsibilities that go beyond those of other students. In ensuring that it abides by its duties in these respects it may not be possible for the University on every occasion to respect students’ confidentiality.

A.2 Fitness to Practise Regulations are necessary:
A.2.1 To comply with the requirements of the regulators which accredit the courses;
A.2.2 To protect children and families with whom the student may come into contact during the training;
A.2.3 To show that students are fit to practise their future profession and have developed the requisite professional attitudes and behaviours;
A.2.4 To ensure that students do not invest the time and money in qualifying for a career which they are not suited for;

A.3 Fitness to Practise is an ongoing matter and will be considered when a student is:
A.3.1 starting a particular Professional Course; or
A.3.2 already on a Professional Course; or
A.3.3 returning to their current Professional Course.

A.4 The aim of this document is to give effect to these principles and obligations, and to provide a procedural framework through which possible issues can be addressed.

A.5 Reasonable adjustments will be made to this procedure so that a disabled complainant is not substantially disadvantaged by the procedure.

B. Definitions and Interpretations

B.1 Fitness to implies that practitioners have the skills, knowledge, character and health to do their job safely and effectively and in the context of these Procedures this relates to:
B.1.1 Where the student’s behaviour or health means they are in breach of, or cannot comply with, the code of conduct/ethics issued by the Regulator and/or the University;
B.1.2 A serious or persistent concern about the possibility that the student will:
B.1.2.1 In virtue of their behavior or health, put at risk children and families, the public, other students, staff or themselves;
B.1.2.2 Damage the trust in the relevant profession;
B.1.2.3 Fail to maintain high standards of personal conduct, honesty and integrity and in so doing fall outside of the legal and/or ethical boundaries of the profession;
B.1.2.4 Fail to act in the best interests, or respect the confidentiality, of children and families that they may come into contact with.

B.2 Professional Course means a course of academic study that leads to professional qualification or registration.

B.3 Regulator means the professional body which accredits the course;

B.4 A reference in these regulations to a particular office-holder includes that officer- holder’s deputy or nominee.

B.5 Any period expressed as a period of days shall mean clear working days and shall exclude the days by which the period is calculated.

B.6 Applicant means any person who has applied or is considering applying to study on a course at the University or a person to whom an offer (whether conditional or unconditional) of a place to study at the University has been made, whether or not that offer has been accepted.

B.7 Any notice or other communication under this Procedure required to be in writing may be sent by email.

B.8 “Authorised Staff Member” means a member of academic staff who teaches on a professionally accredited course other than the course for which the student is registered.

B.9 A Friend means a person, who shall normally be a member of staff or student of the University, appointed by a student to assist him or her in the conduct of his or her case at a hearing.

C. General Provisions

C.1 Fitness to practise is separate from and additional to fitness to study, or allegations of academic or other misconduct. A student is not exempt from these regulations simply because they have been subject to fitness to study or misconduct proceedings arising out of the same set of facts or circumstances.

C.2 The University will take into account relevant legislation such as the Data Protection Act, the Mental Health Act, the Mental Capacity Act, the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act when making decisions under these regulations.

C.3 In the interest of fairness in a particular matter, the University Secretary may:
C.3.1 substitute any person of suitable seniority/experience in the University for any person otherwise entitled or required to act under these regulations;
C.3.2 alter the procedures prescribed by these regulations; provided that the substitution or alteration is not to the detriment of the student.

D. Fitness To Practise Concerns

D.1 Concerns
D.1.1 Any person who has concerns about a student’s fitness to practise may refer the matter for investigation; however, concerns raised anonymously will not be considered in the absence of corroboratory evidence. The procedure may be invoked at any time during the student’s programme of study.
D.1.2 To initiate an investigation, a written report should be made directly to the Head of Subject. He/she is responsible for initiating the process in the first instance. Where; the urgency of the situation does not allow time for a written report; this report can be made orally, but this should be followed as soon as possible by a written report.

D.2 Circumstances that trigger the use of this procedure may include (but are not limited to):
D.2.1 A third party (for example, a fellow student, a relative, friend, colleague, placement provider, member of the public, medical professional) reports concerns about the student which raises questions about their fitness to practise;
D.2.2 The student tells a member of staff that they have a problem and/or provides information, which raises questions about their fitness to practise;
D.2.3 Proceedings under the Student Misconduct Regulations are taken against the student;
D.2.4 An allegation of Academic Misconduct is substantiated against the student; and/or,
D.2.5 The student is the subject of proceedings under the Fitness to Study Regulations.

D.3 Where the Head of Subject considers the concerns sufficiently serious, she/he may refer the matter directly to a Fitness to Practise Panel.

D.4 Where concerns about a student’s fitness to practise have been raised, a senior member of University staff may suspend a student for a period of time if they consider:
D.4.1 It would be in the best in interest of the student; or
D.4.2 It would be in the best in interest of another person, e.g. another student, member of staff, client etc.; or
D.4.3 Allowing the student to remain on the premises would breach the University’s duty of care to the student or others; or
D.4.4 A student refuses to cooperate with proceedings under these regulations.

D.5 Suspension means that the student shall be excluded from all University premises and any premises connected to a placement that the student may be undertaking. The student may seek support from their Academic Tutor or Course Leader, the Students’ Union or caseworker, but must make an appointment. A student who has not made an appointment will not be admitted to the University’s premises.

D.6 Suspension is precautionary and does not mean that any conclusions have been drawn or that a decision has been reached.

D.7 A student who has been suspended under these procedures may:
D.7.1 Ask the member of staff who authorised the suspension to review it. Any such request must be in writing and made not more frequently than once a month.
D.7.2 Ask the Director of Student Journey for temporary permission to attend the University for examinations or for submission of coursework or to seek assistance. Such request must be in writing.

E. Exploratory Interview

E.1 Where issues of fitness to practise have been raised about a student, but are not deemed serious enough for direct referral to a Fitness to Practise Panel, the student’s Academic Tutor/Course Leader should approach the student and explain to them, in a supportive and understanding manner, that concerns about their fitness to practise have been raised.

E.2 The student should be made aware of:
E.2.1 The nature of the behaviour that has caused fitness to practise concerns to be raised;
E.2.2 If appropriate, the risks perceived by the University.

E.3 The student should be invited to a meeting with her/his Academic Tutor/Course Leader and where appropriate, a representative from Student Journey.

E.4 Prior to the meeting, the student should be sent written confirmation of the concerns to be discussed.

E.5 At the meeting the Academic Tutor/Course Leader should:
E.5.1 Reiterate and where necessary expand upon the nature of the concerns that have been raised;
E.5.2 Hear and consider the student’s views
E.5.3 Explore with the student any explanations for the behaviour that has caused fitness to practise concerns to be raised.

Please check Course Handbook and WebL

Modules required for interim awards

The following modules are core compulsory for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
Adults and Children as learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies or Academic Skills and Professional Practice [Alternative core]
Perspectives On Children’s Development
Understanding Play
Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing
Enquiry Based Learning or PSED Matters [Alternative core]
Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
Creative Thinking and Representation from Birth To Six or Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement 2 [Alternative core]
Children’s Rights in Today’s World
Promoting Early Learning Through the EYFS and Key Stage 1 or Communicating in a Multilingual Contexts [Alternative core]
Leading Practice with Children, Families and Children
Debates on Children and Childhood
Reading Research and Research Methods in Early Childhood
The Project

To attain the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (with Professional Practice ) students must pass the following in addition to the above core compulsory modules:
Academic Skills and Professional Practice 1
Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement 2

The following modules are core compulsory for the Diploma of HE Early Childhood Studies (with Practitioner Status):
Academic Skills and Professional Practice 1
Perspectives On Children’s Development
Understanding Play
Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing
Enquiry Based Learning
Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement 2
Promoting Early Learning Through the EYFS and Key Stage 1
Children’s Rights in Today’s World

The following modules are core compulsory for the Diploma of HE Early Childhood Studies :
Adults and Children as learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies or Academic Skills and Professional Practice 1 [Alternative core]
Perspectives On Children’s Development
Understanding Play
Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing
Enquiry Based Learning or PSED Matters [Alternative core]
Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Early Years
Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood
Creative Thinking and Representation from Birth To Six
Promoting Early Learning Through the EYFS and Key Stage 1 or Communicating in a Multilingual Contexts [Alternative core]
Children’s Rights in Today’s World

The following modules are core compulsory for the Certificate of HE Early Childhood Studies:
Adults and Children as learners: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies or Academic Skills and Professional Practice [Alternative core]
Perspectives On Children’s Development
Understanding Play
Safeguarding Young Children’s Health and Wellbeing

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Reflection and discussion are key to the teaching and learning of all early childhood students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the reflective exercises incorporated into the web-based materials. For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner. For example, they practise and reflect on techniques to promote effective interactions with children, parents/ carers and with other professionals, undertake critical evaluations of their own practice, keep learning journals and develop portfolios of evidence against professional standards.

All students are invited to discuss their progress with Course Leaders and Module Tutors which take place either face to face or in the case of many of our online students, on the telephone or through e-mail. These meetings ensure that the individual student is supported in their studies and enabled to progress appropriately according to their needs.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Students on the Early Childhood Studies programme undertake a variety of career paths, both while studying and on completion of the course. Graduates of this course are employed as leaders and managers in Children’s Centres, Nursery and primary schools and other early childhood care and education settings. Some go on to specialise in a particular area such as Special Educational Needs, while others go on to teach in FE colleges or take up posts in strategic management posts in local authorities or government departments. A significant number of students continue their professional studies. This may be through post-graduate study for Early Years Teacher Status, or through the traditional PGCE route and through newer employment based routes to teaching. Others continue their academic studies at MA level.

Career opportunities

Graduates of this degree go on to pursue a variety of careers in education, health and social care sectors. The success of our graduates reflects the current need for well-trained graduates who can quickly move up to more senior roles in children’s centres, nursery and primary schools, and other early childhood care and education settings.

Some students go on to specialise in a particular area such as special educational needs, while others take up advisory posts in local authorities or government departments.

A significant number of students continue their professional studies, whether it's through the PGCE route to teaching or at postgraduate level.

Entry requirements

Entry requirement for full-time students

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • 112 UCAS points achieved through a Level 3 qualification in early years/childcare, ie NVQ3, CACHE/BTEC Diploma or a recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma in a related subject
  • two references and evidence of an enhanced criminal records check
  • GCSE English at grade C/grade 4 or above, or equivalent such as Functional Skills or Key Skills at Level 2

We recommend that you have GCSE Maths at grade C or above, but this is not an essential requirement for entry to the programme.

Entry requirement for part-time and distance learning students

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of two years’ full-time employment experience of work with young children
  • current employment as a practitioner with children from birth to six years, or be able to undertake a placement in an early childhood setting for a minimum of two hours per week per module studied
  • met the standard entry requirements of a Level 3 qualification in early years/ childcare: ie NVQ3, CACHE/BTEC Diploma or a recognised access to higher education certificate in a related subject
    two references and evidence of an enhanced criminal records check
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above, or equivalent such as Functional Skills or Key Skills at Level 2

If you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Early Childhood Studies Extended Degree BA (Hons).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Due to statutory requirements, we are not able to offer sponsorship under the Tier 4 visa route for this course. We will be happy to consider those falling into this category for an alternative suitable course on request. Overseas nationals who already hold an alternative visa in a suitable category or have been granted permission to remain in the UK indefinitely, and EU nationals may be considered for admission but please note that an additional international enhanced police check will be required.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes X310 (Academic Studies in Nursery Education): 100%
Route code ERLYCS

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE4002 Perspectives on Children's Development Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR MON PM
SE4003 Understanding Play Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR TUE AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
SE4004 Safeguarding Young Children's Health and Well-b... Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR TUE AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
SE4001 Adults and Children as Learners: An Introductio... Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON EV
SE4005 Academic Skills and Professional Placement Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR TUE PM
          NORTH AUT+SPR TUE AM

Stage 1 Level 04 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE4002 Perspectives on Children's Development Core 30        
SE4003 Understanding Play Core 30        
SE4004 Safeguarding Young Children's Health and Well-b... Core 30        
SE4001 Adults and Children as Learners: An Introductio... Alt Core 30        
SE4005 Academic Skills and Professional Placement Alt Core 30        

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE5002 Approaches to Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Ea... Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR FRI AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR THU PM
SE5058 Children's Rights in Today's World Core 15 NORTH SPR FRI PM
          NORTH SPR THU AM
SE5059 Challenging Inequalities Core 15 NORTH AUT FRI PM
          NORTH AUT THU AM
SE5003 Personal, Social and Emotional Development Matters Alt Core 30        
SE5004 Enquiry-based Learning Alt Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR FRI AM
          NORTH AUT+SPR THU PM
SE5055 Communicating in Multi-lingual contexts Alt Core 15        
SE5060 Promoting Early Learning Through the EYFS and K... Alt Core 15 NORTH SPR THU AM
          NORTH SPR FRI PM
SE5054 Creative Thinking and Representation from Birth... Option 15 NORTH AUT FRI PM
          NORTH AUT THU AM
SE5W50 Professional Studies and Practitioner Placement... Option 15 NORTH AUT+SPR WED AM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE6003 Leading Practice with Children, Families and Pr... Core 30 NORTH AUT+SPR MON PM
SE6054 Reading Research and Research Methods in Early ... Core 15 NORTH AUT MON AM
          NORTH AUT MON EV
SE6057 Debating Children and Childhood Core 15 NORTH SPR MON AM
          NORTH SPR MON EV
SE6P00 Early Childhood Studies Project Core 60 NORTH AUT+SPR FRI AM