Entry requirements: It is expected that students will be qualified to Level 3 or equivalent and have at least one year's experience working with children and their families.
Part-time: 3 years (maximum one day a week attendance)
If English is not your first language: IELTS 6.0 (including 6.0 in writing) or equivalent
Start dates: September
Full-time applicants: UCAS
Part-time applicants: Direct Entry Application Form
All applicants need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Services check
The Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies is a work-based degree designed for applicants working as early years practitioners, teaching assistants or in other roles in the Children's Workforce. The degree offers a flexible programme of study for those in employment, so that they can 'earn while they learn'. It is 'family friendly', avoiding taught sessions in school holidays.
The overall aim of this programme is to foster a reflective approach to the knowledge, understanding and skills which underpin work with young children. This helps produce graduates who have clearly developed value positions with respect to their professional attitude and understanding of the ecology of early childhood and who are knowledgeable and competent in a range of complex practical settings. Study requires students to engage with a wide range of relevant academic knowledge combined with its application in practical settings, in order to enable students to respond to developments in the workplace. The programme takes an inclusive, positive and individualised approach to fostering children's development.
Students study six modules at Level 4 and six at Level 5, four modules at each level being University-based and two work-based. Links to practice feature throughout the programme.
The programme is delivered using a range of teaching approaches including seminars, practical classes, external visits, work-based learning and guided independent study.
Work-based learning earns credit within the programme and needs to be reflected upon and related to theory in a systematic way. Students are provided with a framework for this reflection through the taught components of the programme.
This work-based learning degree aims to shape 'confident learners' by enabling students to develop the skills to excel in their studies here and in the workplace. The degree is explicitly designed to be delivered in a way that puts into practice the key concepts about promoting effective learning that the programme advocates practitioners should be employing with children, and to highlight the links to students throughout.
Staff and students form a community of learners who, together and independently, seek to generate and exchange knowledge. Over the duration of the course, students develop independent and critical learning, building confidence and expertise progressively through independent and collaborative research, problem solving, and analysis with the support of staff. Students take responsibility for their own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.
In addition to the formally scheduled contact time (i.e. seminars etc.), students are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, personal tutors and the wide range of services to students within 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
- Guest speakers
The assessment strategy has been carefully designed to support student confidence and achievement.
The assessments relating to University-based modules use relatively few types of assessment to enable students to use feedback on one type of assessment to inform the next assignment of the same type. Formative assessment is used throughout the programme, and particularly in the early modules of each level, to scaffold students' learning. Demands for student autonomy increase as students progress through each level.
In the assessment of work-based practice modules, a much wider range of assessment is employed, including records of visits, observations, planning and evaluating activities, piloting of materials/approaches, reflective accounts and presentations/demonstrations to a variety of audiences. These celebrate, extend and enrich the often very strong creative and practical skills possessed by students. Some of the tasks that make up the work-based practice assessments are set as directed tasks throughout the taught modules, so students can be carrying out a range of practical activities that contribute to assessment throughout the year.
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. Careers advice is available to all students.
For more information about graduate employment visit From Freshers to Future - what will yours be?
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.
*Subject to validation
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.
Assessment is carefully tailored to the aims and learning outcomes of the course. The assessments in the programme have been designed taking account of the Research on Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA, online; Jessop, Lawrence and Clarke, 2011).
Formative assessment is used throughout the programme, and particularly in the early modules of each level, to scaffold students'; learning. Demands for student autonomy increase as students progress through each level.
In the assessment of work-based practice modules, a much wider range of assessment is employed, including records of visits, observations, planning and evaluating activities, piloting of materials/approaches, reflective accounts and presentations/demonstrations to a variety of audiences.
Assessment also meets sector endorsement criteria.
This is a work-based learning degree, students are all employed and the degree is specifically designed to further develop the understanding and skills needed for effective working with children and families. Many students gain promotion whilst on the programme. As one student on the programme video commented: ';I';ve been promoted at work to a Team Leader because of the knowledge I';m gaining from the Foundation degree.'; Many students go on to gain an Honours degree which opens up careers in teaching or a range of fields.
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.