Course specification and structure
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PMEARCHI - MA Early Childhood Studies

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Arts Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University, Portobello Institute, Dublin
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Subject Area Health, Social Care and Early Childhood
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time Distance Learning 1 YEARS  
Part-time Distance Learning 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

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

The MA Early Childhood Studies programme is designed for professionals working within the early childhood workforce, including those who may not be working directly with children but are involved in developing the early childhood workforce, such as further education lecturers and Local Authority advisors.

This MA offers students an opportunity to advance their knowledge, understanding and professional practice through engaging with current research and thinking in early childhood. It also involves students in reflecting on and analysing their own professional practice. A commitment to equality, diversity, social justice and advocacy is theme which is central to this programme.

The programme is delivered by distance learning using an interactive on-line platform and individual academic support from tutors. As well as academic content the interactive on-line platform includes pod-casts/video, on-line discussions and links to identified reading – either as scanned chapters or through accessing our wide range of on-line books and academic journals.

The Early Childhood Studies team has a long history of developing accessible training routes for the early childhood workforce and was one of the first universities to offer an undergraduate programme designed for those working within the early childhood workforce – both as a face-to-face and distance learning programme.

Course aims

This course aims to provide a high quality, contemporary and coherent programme of study leading to the award of MA. It provides a programme of study that is inherently flexible to meet the needs of those working within the early childhood workforce.

The course is underpinned by the following aims:

- To develop a detailed understanding of current research and thinking in the field of early childhood
- To continuously appraise research and theory and reflect on its impact on early childhood provision and practice with an emphasis on students’ own professional practice
- To develop a sophisticated understanding of the historical, economic, social, cultural and political contexts which impact on the lives of young children and their families
- To develop a comprehensive understanding of and commitment to issues of equality and diversity, social justice and advocacy in relation to the field of early childhood
- To develop a strong commitment to working collaboratively and in partnership with parents and carers and recognise this as a core value that underpins early childhood provision and practice
- To advance scholarship through their own inquiry and research relevant to early childhood

Course learning outcomes

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

1. Apply methods and techniques appropriate to their own research or advanced scholarship in Early Childhood Studies

2. Apply knowledge with originality, based on a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in Early Childhood Studies

3. Evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in Early Childhood Studies

4. Evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses

5. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

6. Exercise self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level

7. Advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level

8. Exercise initiative and personal responsibility, including decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations

9. Learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development.

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

• Demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible practitioners

Assessment strategy

Students will receive theoretical input through bespoke on-line module materials with access to an allocated module tutor who is available to support them by e-mail, telephone or face-to-face. All students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of the virtual learning environment, WebLearn for supplementary materials, links to E-books, on-line discussions and self-assessment exercises such as reflective tasks. Reflection and discussion are key to teaching – reflection will be promoted by the discussion-board exercises incorporated into the web-based materials. Teaching and learning strategies and methods will link module content to workplace skills and professionalism in early childhood.

Students are assessed using a variety of assessment methods relevant for students studying at a distance, for example:
- Reflective essays based upon observational visits
- Presentations
- Facilitated discussion board engagement
- Portfolio and associated commentary

Course specific regulations

On completion of this course, students will be able to:
• Demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible practitioners
Table mapping modules (with code) against the course learning outcomes can be seen in Course Handbook for following modules:


Learning Outcomes cover LO1-9

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 concern

Modules required for interim awards

For Masters award – see Course Structure

PG Diploma

SE7000 Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
SE7001 Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Education and Care
SE7002 Equality and Inclusion in Early Childhood
SE7003 Foundations of Being

PG Cert
SE7000 Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
SE7001 Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Education and Care

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Reflection on learning and its subsequent impact on professional practice are a key feature of the MA programme. Students are encouraged to continuously appraise current research and theory and reflect on the impact it has on approaches to provision and practice. The emphasis is on enhancing the work they do within the early childhood sector.

The modules’ content has been designed to facilitate a deep engagement with current theoretical and research-based knowledge. Assessments are designed to facilitate the transfer of this knowledge to students’ own practice through reflection, critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Career opportunities and potential continuing professional development include:
- Advisers to local and national government
- Further and higher education tutors
- Leadership roles within early childhood
- Doctoral research

Career opportunities

Career opportunities and potential continuing professional development include advisers to local and national government, further and higher education tutors, leadership roles within early childhood and doctoral research. Graduates have gone on to roles as early years educators at nurseries and play therapists at children's hospitals.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a relevant honours degree (at least 2:2) and work within the early childhood workforce

Some of the modules require an observational visit to a setting offering care and education for children from birth to six-years-old. Where you're not working directly with children you will need to be able to commit to this component of the programme.

All students are interviewed, but importance is also placed on the statement of application.

Due to statutory requirements, we are not able to offer sponsorship under the Student 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 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 2015/16 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 14 Apr 2015 Last validation date 14 Apr 2015  
JACS codes 100457 (early childhood studies): 100%
Route code EARCHI

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE7000 Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Core 30        
SE7001 Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Educa... Core 30        
SE7002 Equality and Inclusion in Early Childhood Core 30        
SE7003 Foundations of Being Core 30        
SE7P00 Research Methods and the Dissertation Core 60        

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
SE7000 Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Core 30        
SE7001 Distinctive Approaches in Early Childhood Educa... Core 30        
SE7002 Equality and Inclusion in Early Childhood Core 30        
SE7003 Foundations of Being Core 30        
SE7P00 Research Methods and the Dissertation Core 60