Foundation degree in Childhood Studies (Distance Learning)

FdA Childhood Studies (Distance Learning) at Winchester is a work-based degree designed for those working with children aged 0-11 and their families, as early years practitioners, teaching assistants or in other roles in the Children's Workforce.

Foundation degree in Childhood Studies (Distance Learning) at University of Winchester

UCAS code: XX30

Entry Requirements

It is expected that students will be working with children and families, and qualified to Level 3 or equivalent in a related area. Ideally they will have at least one year's experience working in the sector.

Additional entry requirements:

  • A GCSE A*-C or 9-4 pass in English language and Mathematics is required
  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check required when applicants accept their offer for a place on the course (applicants cover the cost of this which is currently £44)

Degree duration:

Full-time: 2 years, participation in weekly 'twilight'  e-seminars.  The full-time FdA includes a significant proportion of work-based learning, and so is not 'full-time' in the traditional, classroom-based sense - much of the learning is done whilst at work rather than at University. Many students are employed full-time whilst studying this programme.

Part-time: 4 years, blocks of participation in weekly twilight e-seminars followed by blocks where participation is not required.

If English is not your first language:

IELTS 6.0 (including 6.0 in writing) or equivalent

Selection process:

Suitable applicants are normally invited to attend an interview. Alternatively, if it is not possible for the student to attend the University for interview, a Skype interview can be arranged.

Start date:


Course Tuition Fees and Additional Costs

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

2017/2018 Entry full-time: £4,000 p/a
2017/2018 Entry part-time: £2,000 p/a

Total Cost | £8,000

Additional Costs

To find out what general costs are included or excluded in the course fees, such as text books and travel expenses, please click here

Other Information 


FdA Childhood Studies at the University of Winchester has been certified by SEFDEY (Sector Endorsed Foundation Degrees for Early Years) as meeting the needs of employers. For students working in Early Years settings and completing their assessed work-based portfolios in these settings, the FdA in Childhood Studies constitutes a 'full and relevant' qualification (National College of Teaching and Learning, Feb 2015). The degree is designed to be consistent with the Early Childhood Studies Benchmark (QAA).

Work experience:

Students organise some fieldwork visits to other settings to extend their experience.

Distance learning only:

There are e-seminars in the early evening, with full tutorial and study skills support.

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man 

How to apply

Full-time application process: UCAS

Part-time application process: Direct Entry Application Form

Student Satisfaction:

Students on the course have made the following positive comments:

  • "The lecturers were brilliant"
  • "By doing the degree, I've become a more reflective practitioner"
  • "It's enhanced my practice"

The above quotations are taken from the programme video on this page.

Comments made by students in module evaluations include:

  • "The tutor support has been fantastic. I particularly appreciate the fast response to emails and the chance to discuss our work."
  • "The tutor's skills within this module were immense and helped everyone to understand in simple terms."
  • "Enjoyed this module, found it interesting and insightful and has benefitted my practice."

Pre-approved for a Masters:

University of Winchester students studying Bachelor Honours degrees are pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible students must apply by the end of March in their final year and meet the entry requirements of their chosen Masters degree.

Terms and Conditions 

For more information about the University of Winchester's terms and conditions click here

Personal Computing Requirements 

Note - these requirements are reviewed annually by ITS and the Head of Technology Enhanced Learning. They were last updated in February 2016. Any currently enrolled student who has concerns should contact their Programme Leader in the first instance.

Any computer or mobile device purchased within the last 5 years should be sufficient. If in doubt, or for older devices, the following minimum specifications will ensure that a workstation performs to a reasonable standard:

Operating System: Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 | Mac OS X
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster | 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
Memory (RAM): 2GB | 2GB
Hard Disk: 80GB* | 80GB*
Optical Drive (DVD/CD-ROM or Writer)**: Optional | Optional
Sound***:  Yes | Yes

* Considerably more disk space will be needed to store large amounts of personal files.
** May be required to install additional software if supplied on DVD/CD-ROM and can be an externally attachable one, e.g. USB
*** Required if the programme requires media which has sound. Most modern computers and mobile devices have integrated sound.

Computer Hardware Explained

a) Processor
This is the main component which will determine the speed of the computer. Intel processors are currently labeled Core i3, i5 and i7 with the latter being the most powerful and most expensive. Other brands such as AMD have equivalent models.

b) Memory (RAM)
This component is also very important to the overall performance of a PC. RAM stores files related to the operating system and programs which are running while the computer is turned on. Every program requires a certain amount of memory to run, so if too many programs or large files are run at the same time, the computer may run out of memory and begin running very slowly.

c) Hard Disk
Hard disk is the permanent means of storage and is where all the files such as Docs, Music, Pictures and the Operating System files are stored. It is important to have enough hard disk space to serve your storage needs. If a hard disk becomes very full it can negatively impact the overall computer performance.
For further advice on specification when purchasing a new computer, seek guidance from your preferred reseller.

d) Screen
When buying a new computer a screen size of at least 17” is recommended but sizes these days are routinely far larger and in wide screen format. Screen size for mobile devices such as laptops and tablets will generally be smaller than 17” but should be selected at a sufficient size for comfortable use.

e) Printer
There are currently no printer specific requirements for Distance Learning programmes.

Mobile Devices and Tablets

This heading covers the increasingly popular Smart Phone and Tablet devices such as the iPhone/iPad, Android, or Windows-based phone/tablet devices. Most of the University online systems work on these mobile devices. However we do not guarantee that all systems will be problem free. There is also a dedicated and fully supported University app available, UoW mobile app, which contains useful information and services and is available on Apple App Store, Google Play as well as a browser-based version.

Workstation Health & Safety

From a health and safety point of view, staff and students are advised to use a conventional workstation for long periods of study rather than laptops and mobile communication devices. As these more portable devices have become more popular there has been a corresponding increase in the number of people suffering from upper limb disorders and back problems. Please refer to the Health & Safety pages on the Intranet of Setup Help Guides and Workstation Exercises.

Computer Software requirements

a) Operating System

Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, or Mac OS X are recommended and supported by our services. We are unable to support Linux or other less mainstream operating systems.

b) Other Software
The following software will be required for distance learning:

  • i) Microsoft Word or an equivalent word processor which can save documents in the format .doc or .docx.
  • ii) Other Microsoft Office products such as Excel or PowerPoint may be required by some courses
  • iii) Access to an email service - the Unimail email system is provided by the University through the Microsoft Office 365 service.
  • iv) A supported web browser - Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 11 or above) or the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari.
  • v) Free downloads such as Adobe Reader may be required to open online material
  • vi) A form of Malware/Virus Protection
  • vii) Adobe Flash Player

From time to time Microsoft offer deals to University staff and students. Details of any currently available deals will be posted on the Intranet by ITS.

Internet Connection

Distance learning programmes all require extensive access to online resources. As such, a broadband connection of at least 1Mbps is recommended. Higher speed services would be advantageous due to the reduced load times for online resources. A dial up connection is not recommended.

Electronic submissions for assessment

These should be word-processed documents in Microsoft Word format (either .doc or .docx). Students can submit assignments prepared using a Mac, running their preferred word processor and a standard web browser, as long as they submit work in one of these formats.

Computer Security and Disaster Recovery

Keeping the PC secure and ensuring coursework can be recovered in the event of a disaster is extremely important. Computer and printer failure cannot be used as a reason to be granted an extended deadline for an assignment.

To try and ensure the PC is kept as secure as possible staff and students should:

a) Use strong virus protection:

  • i) Microsoft offer Security Essentials for Windows 7, which is free for home use, if there is no other protection in place. Windows 8 and 10 come with Windows Defender already installed but you may wish to choose a different solution for your protection.
  • ii) Ensure the virus protection is kept up to date
  • iii) Run scans for viruses at least once per month

b) Use strong passwords:

  • i) Use numbers
  • ii) Upper and lower case letters
  • iii) Do not use common words or names
  • iv) Do not use the same password for everything

c) Be aware when using the computer that most threats can be eliminated by taking the following precautions:

  • i) Take care what links you click on in emails and online
  • ii) Be careful what email attachments you open
  • iii) Be careful where you browse on the internet
  • iv) Be careful what you say yes to when a dialogue box appears
  • v) McAfee SiteAdvisor is a free download which can help you to determine where it is safe to browse

d) Make sure the operating system and software is kept up to date using services such as Windows Update

e) Use a Firewall: Windows has a firewall built in which is more than adequate in most cases.

It is very important that work can be recovered in the event of a PC based disaster, the following can help:

  • a) Save your work regularly
  • b) Save your work in versions, especially large assignments to minimise loss of work in the event of a file corruption
  • c) Backup your work regularly to CD, Memory Stick or using an online service such as Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive which is part of your Office 365 services as a student. You could also email assignment backups to yourself
  • d) Make sure you have your computer's recovery disk available in case it needs reinstalling as a result of failure

For more information, please see the Distance Learning Policy online at

This course offers a flexible programme of study for those in employment, so students may 'earn while they learn'.

The overall aim is to foster a reflective approach to the knowledge, understanding and skills which underpin work with young children. The view taken of the child is holistic and there is an emphasis on children's social and emotional development. The programme takes an inclusive, positive and individualised approach to fostering children's development.

Students on this Distance Learning course benefit from weekly twilight e-seminars with lecturers and other students, providing support and social interaction in an innovative environment. This pathway offers flexibility to students who are self-motivated and well-organised, and able to work independently to prepare for the e-seminars and complete online activities. Sessions are generally not scheduled during school holidays to help students balance work, study and family commitments.

Students study six modules in Year 1 (Level 4) and six in Year 2 (Level 5). Each year two modules are work-based, with links to practice featured throughout the programme, and the other four modules are taught via e-seminars and online tasks.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • Introduction to Higher Education
  • Perspectives on Childhood
  • Introduction to Social and Emotional Development
  • Core Practice Skills (work-based)
  • Understanding Children's Learning
  • Developing Practice (work-based)
  • Core Work-based learning: The Developing Practitioner

Year 2 (Level 5)

  • Team Working
  • Working with Families
  • Meeting the Challenges of Social and Emotional Development
  • Advanced Practice Skills (work-based)
  • Policy into Practice
  • Advanced Workbased Learning - Analysing Impact 

For further information about modules, please view the course leaflet (see right-hand side).

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at

Most teaching employs an online seminar format with tutor input leading to opportunities for students to engage in discussion via the weekly Adobe connect on-line seminars. The sharing of experience and practice, and the development of supportive networks amongst students, are features of the programme that students highlight as enjoyable and helpful.

Work-based learning takes place throughout the degree, with each module offering a choice of directed tasks to be carried out in the workplace. Many University-based modules offer opportunities for students to extend their experience by making visits related to the module content.

Throughout the programme, students set their own professional development plans and the workplace practice modules allow them the scope to address their learning goals, within a set framework. Students select both a workplace representative and a mentor to support their learning. Guidance on these roles is provided by the University.

Key features of the student experience are:

  • Linking theory with practice in their workplaces
  • Making a range of visits to extend their experience and learning from fellow students who work in a range of relevant settings and roles
  • The use of guest speakers is a feature of the programme.

Programme Leader

Teaching team

The degree is situated in the Department of Interprofessional Studies and, in addition to the core programme team, has input from other members of the Department as visiting speakers, for example a member of the Social Work team. The Department benefits from being within the Faculty of Education, Health and Social Care which has a particularly strong reputation for its teacher training programmes. Students therefore have access to a high degree of professional expertise from a number of backgrounds. Many of their tutors have active involvement in relevant research. 

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures library

The assessment strategy has been carefully designed to support student confidence and achievement and assessments have been designed taking account of the Research on Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA, online; Jessop, Lawrence and Clarke, 2011).

The assessment strategy is designed to spread effort, foster deep learning and maximise students' success. There is coursework for each module but no examinations. Written assignments for the University-based modules include essays but also some other tasks such as designing posters or leaflets for particular audiences.

The programme recognises that the assignment requirements of Higher Education are new to most students and so the first module provides specific guidance on these. Formative assessment (feedback as a student begins work on an assignment, provided in time to guide them on that assignment) is built into the degree. The University has study and academic writing support that all students can access. The Faculty also offers on-line support for IT, study skills and learning support. Work-based practice assessments are varied and include records of visits, piloting and reporting on new practice, presentations and many other activities. There is strong encouragement and support for students to share good practice and learn from one another.

At the University of Winchester validated programmes may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances. The University is committed to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used in the programme you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day/Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

The Foundation degree in Childhood Studies qualifies students to Level 5. Students may want to top-up their degree by progressing on to the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies (top-up) which is specifically designed as an Honours programme to complement the Foundation degree. Several appropriate postgraduate professional programmes are offered at the University and careers advice is available to all students.

For more information about graduate employment visit From Freshers to Future - what will yours be?


The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) record collects information about what those completing university go on to do six months after graduation. The Careers Service undertakes DLHE on an annual basis through surveys and a data collection process. DLHE is designed and strictly controlled by HESA.

While DLHE provides accurate information about first destinations, this data needs to be viewed with some degree of care. Six months after leaving university is often a time of much uncertainty and change for leavers; many will be unsure of their long-term career plans and may take a temporary job or time out. The destinations of graduates only six months out of university do not necessarily reflect longer term career success and are therefore a crude measure of employability. Therefore, DLHE data should be viewed as merely a 'snapshot' of one particular year's experiences at a specific point in time.

At the University of Winchester, we are committed to ensuring all our students gain employability skills to enable you to enter graduate level jobs and pursue the profession of your choice, for more information please read the Employability Statement.

Course Enquiries and Applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
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