This course is for students who wish to become a key part of the early year’s education workforce. Designed in line with Welsh Governments push to create confident, well-prepared 21st century early year practitioners, you will build an understanding of the development and learning needs of young children from 0-8 years, spanning many contexts such as child development, mental health, behaviour, psychology and more. The learning is supported by expert teaching, placements, and real-world experience.
One of the major advantages to students studying this course is that it’s accredited by Social Care Wales. When you graduate, you’ll leave with Early Years Practitioner status, which is a stamp of approval in the industry.
Placement sits at the heart of this programme allowing you to link theory to practice around areas such as activity planning, assessment and recording procedures, and Welsh language development. Through years 1-3, you’ll attend placements which accumulate to 700 hours over three years, giving you quantifiable experience and knowledge of the industry.
Designed in line with cutting-edge research and current practice, the aim of the course is to give you the knowledge, skillset, and confidence to be employable within the early year’s workforce, thus equipping you with the following:
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
Each year of study contains key ‘themes’ woven through the modules. These golden threads enable students to make vital connections between modules and replicates the connections required in real-world practice, which are developed through this challenge-based learning approach.
Year 1 - contains the themes of learner voice, safeguarding and pedagogical approaches
During year one, you’ll be given the building blocks to develop academic skills. This is focused on challenge-based learning, collaborative, and interdisciplinary skills, and includes immersive learning projects working in small groups, a focus on sociological and psychological childhood development, and the opportunity to explore experiential learning opportunities for young children.
Year 2 - contains the themes of collaboration/ diversity and children’s mental health
During year two, you will continue to progress through your professional practice module working towards the next set of competencies in placement over a seven-week period and evidencing them in a portfolio. Key topics during this year include behaviour management, the development of demonstrating creativity, innovation, and project management capabilities, alongside the opportunity to gain additional qualifications in supporting children with dyslexia.
Year 3 - contains themes of Leading and managing, sustainability and digital competency
In year three, leadership and management skills will be woven through the modules, building on the experience you have already gained during the previous years of study and your placements. Digital competency will underpin the immersive learning project, and you will work in a team to scope the design, content, and application of a digital vehicle to support children’s learning and development. This will also be the year where research makes up a significant amount of study, improving your ability to work independently whilst engaging with external partners and applying ethical practices through the collection of data. Finally, you will engage in ‘outdoor learning’, which provides the theoretical and practical experience of this important practice.
Students at level four will have a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, and tutorials. Seminars and workshops will include group and individual contributions and formative feedback will be provided at relevant check points within modules.
Professional Learning and Practice Modules progress through years 1 -3. These modules centre around students attending placement which accumulate to 700 hours over three years. Employability is the focus, and these modules embrace opportunities for problem based and real-world learning.
Students will also have opportunities to engage in additional qualifications like the Agored Cymru Outdoor learning Practitioner award, Hidden Sentence training, Accredited Learning Support Assistant (accredited by the British Dyslexia assoc.), and First Aid and Safeguarding certificates.
Finally, it is intended that opportunities to disseminate student research to a wider audience, including their mentors that have supported their practice, will be organised, thus sharing their findings to inform future practice.
The course has no exams, and this is often perceived as a benefit by many students. Different methods of assessment are employed across the modules, and these include:
Students are supported by our placement officer and suitable placements in early years settings are arranged for students to attend. Mentors receive training and guidance, and all students receive a visit whilst on placement from their university tutor.
The modules studied centre around students attending placement which accumulate to 700 hours over three years
Placements are located across the region of South Wales and travel time can range from approx. 10 – 30 minutes taking into account the students home base.
There is a dedicated area with specialist resources which support you in your development. The university is equipped with the latest Apple Macs and equipment to create resources for practice. We also have plenty of IT resources that are available for you to develop your skills for practice in the library (to note, you will have the opportunity to become an ‘Apple’ educator, please ask for more details).
Our teaching team are all research active lecturers and are experts in a range of areas. Team members have published works on Schema development, children’s use of social media & digital identity, outdoor learning pedagogies, storytelling approaches, transitions in education amongst other topics. The course at USW is predicated on cutting edge research and current practice that informs the learning opportunities provided to our students.
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. Applications are considered on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.
An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child Workforce and Child Barring List and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)
BCC - CDD to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points
GCSEs: The University requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent. If you are completing an Access to Higher Education Diploma we will accept 12 Level 2 credits from English Units and 12 Level 2 credits from Mathematics Units in lieu of the GCSE C/4 grade requirements.
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
|Extra curricular qualifications and development activities||£90||
Year 2 : to include the ALSA Award, Outdoor Practitioner Award.
Year 1,2 & 3 depending on location of study event .
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
|DBS Updating Service *||£13||
Subscription required for each year of the course for a yearly fee of £13. Please note the service has to be joined within 30 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.
|Other: Resources required to support study||£100||
Years 1, 2 & 3. A range of books are available in the university library , but students often purchase key texts.
|Other: resources required to support placement||£100||
Years 1, 2 & 3 .
|Other: Travel to Placement *||£0 - £300||
Years 1, 2 & 3 - Cost is dependent on placement location.
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
A Early Years Education degree can lead to a range of interesting careers when you graduate. Career paths typically include those in education, with graduates working in schools, nurseries, children’s charities and integrated children’s centres. A number of graduates also go on to gain their PGCE qualification and become qualified teachers.
Recent graduates have gained employment in a variety of roles in early years settings as well as project officer roles within local community projects and in charities. Plus, many students gain employment as a result of their practice in placement, supporting children one to one and in higher level teaching assistant roles and within flying start settings (salaries from approx. £19 - 21,000 p.a.).
As a USW early years student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.