Early Years - FdA

UCAS Code:
Full-time: X311
Part-time: apply direct to South and City College Birmingham
Full Time (2 years), Part Time (3 years)
September 2016
South and City College Birmingham , Digbeth Campus

Available full-time or part-time at our partner, South and City College Birmingham, this foundation degree is an excellent source of professional development if you are already working in a childcare setting, and is a highly respected starting point for your studies. Equivalent to two years of degree-level study, it offers direct entry to the final year of the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies providing a commendation/merit profile is achieved.

What's covered in the course?

The course is carefully designed to offer appropriate skills and knowledge relating to professional practice, and the application of work-based experience. It also focuses on your self-development and independent learning, as well as team work and your ability to manage others.

Skills and knowledge acquired from your modules combine to give you a thorough appreciation of a child’s social and emotional development, covering issues of language, literacy and numeracy, knowledge and understanding of the world, and physical and creative development.

Applying your knowledge in real Early Years settings is a vital part of your learning, and you need to complete 720 hours of work placement during the course. As a working, part-time student, you normally achieve this through your professional commitments; if you study full-time, you get all the support you need to find a suitable work placement.

“The library has outstanding facilities including private study rooms, computers and even a cafe. It also has extended opening hours during busy periods of the year and the staff are always friendly and willing to help you find what you are looking for.” Roberta Goddard

Why Choose Us?

  • Studying in small, intimate groups, trainee Early Years practitioners get the chance to enhance skills and professional standing, while aspiring entrants to the profession enjoy a practical, hands-on introduction to key issues.
  • The part-time route offers flexibility to fit studies around your weekly commitments.
  • Although based at South and City College Birmingham (Digbeth campus), you have full use of facilities at any of the University sites and will feel part of our supportive student community.
  • This course supports the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), ensuring you can deliver provision that complies with EYFS learning and development requirements.
  • Ofsted rates South and City College Birmingham as a ‘Beacon Status’ college, making it one of only a few UK training providers to achieve the government’s Training Quality Standard in three or more sectors.
  • The College also has Customer Service Excellence status, proof of the importance placed on student satisfaction.
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Open Day - 11 June 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

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Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.

This course is not open to International students
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Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

A minimum of 2 GCSEs in English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, at the point of enrolment.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level 120 UCAS Tariff points. We will accept a maximum of 2 AS levels together with minimum of one A Level. Not including Business or ICT.
Access to Higher Education Diploma 60 credits including 45 at Level 3. We will not accept Access to Business or ICT. If you do not have GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above, then credits must also include English and Maths at Level 2.
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) MP
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) PPP
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) Grade: Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma 24 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate Minimum 240 UCAS tariff points
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher Minimum 240 UCAS tariff points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 240 UCAS points.
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 24 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Successful candidates will be required to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance via the Faculty.

Places will be offered on the programme after applicants have attended an introductory workshop and successfully completed a full disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

We welcome applications from mature students and from all members of the community under-represented in education.

New UCAS tariff

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
FdA Sep 2016 FT 2 years £4,900 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 3 years £3,270 per year

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Part-time applications 

Applications for the part-time option should be made direct to South and City College Birmingham:

Phone: +44 (0)121 694 5000
Email: admissions@sccb.ac.uk
Web: www.sccb.ac.uk

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Course structure

The emphasis of this Foundation Degree programme is on developing skills and academic knowledge as vehicles for learning. The course focuses on the following key areas:

  • Self-development and independent learning
  • Team working and managing others
  • Critical application of professional practice
  • Application of work-based experience/evidence

All modules are compulsory and are generic to early years practice.

Full-time students are expected to attend college during the day, while the part-time course and teaching is organised to enable students to fulfil work commitments. Typically, teaching takes place in the evenings and at weekends.

Course breakdown

Year one

Students on the full-time two-year programme will study eight modules each year. Those embarking on the part-time FdA course will study 16 modules over three years.

Developing and Managing Self
Theories of Child Development
Supporting Children’s Personal Social and Emotional Development
Supporting Children’s Development in Communication, Language and Literacy
Supporting Children’s Development in Problem solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
Supporting Children’s Development of Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Supporting Children’s Physical Development
Supporting Children’s Creative Development

Year two

Safeguarding Children
Working with Parents and Families
Including all Children
Multi-agency Working
Issues in Early Years
Assessment for Learning
Professional Development
Independent Study

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

If you successfully complete this course you can apply to top up to a BA Honours in Early Childhood Studies. The entry requirements for the Top Up programme include a Commendation/Merit profile in FdA Early Years. This route takes no longer than the BA pathway. 

Provided you meet the The National College for Teaching and Leadership requirements for Initial Teacher Training you may also be eligible to apply for a PGCE, or other ITE programme, to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Early Years Teacher Status.

Employment opportunities

This course enables you to enhance your career in the early years sector. This could be into child care management positions in a variety of settings, such as day nurseries, primary schools, children's centres and health centres.


Students need to evidence they have completed 720 hours of work placement during the course. Generally, part-time students will already be working in an early years setting while studying for their FdA. Full-time students will be supported on work placement.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Education courses are one of the top 12 degree subjects for getting a job according to a recent article in the Telegraph, with 92.6 per cent of graduates nationwide going into work or further study within six months of finishing their degree.


This course runs at South & City College Birmingham's Digbeth Campus.

Find out more about Digbeth Campus

Rosemarie Lowe

Programme Director Early Childhood Studies

Having spent 10 years teaching in a variety of primary and infant schools in Birmingham I had the opportunity to develop a service within the local authority of a team of early years specialist whose role was to support and develop early years practice and provision across the maintained and non-maintained sector.

This move into an advisory role, training and development combined interests in adult learners and a passion and commitment to high quality effective early years provision. Moving to Higher Education seemed a natural progress and I spent some time teaching and developing Early Childhood courses at Newman University College before joining Birmingham City University in 2008.

The rights of children and the need to work in partnership with parents remain a core value in my teaching and research interests, which is reflected in my current studies and recent evaluation projects for local authorities.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295