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Undergraduate study
Children and Early Childhood (with Foundation Year)

Children and Early Childhood (with Foundation Year) BA (Hons)

This degree gives you an in-depth specialism around the distinct and specialised nature of working with babies and young children in the early years phase of life, considering children from birth throughout the primary school phase. You focus on the holistic view of children and early childhood, developing a deep understanding of the early years and beyond of a child’s life.



Course routes:


Course overview

A wide range of professions are open to you, including child protection roles, working in schools or other educational settings, parent support workers, play workers, and further study in teaching and social work.

Course content is intellectually stimulating and current. It is interdisciplinary, drawing on contemporary research and discourse, ensuring your knowledge of children and families is relevant to current developments in sociology, psychology, education, health, legislation and policy.

You develop theoretical, practical and reflective skills to lead to good practice when working with early years and young children, parents and other disciplinary services. You focus on child development and behaviours, assessment of children, comparison of children in the UK and across the world, and children’s services.

The teaching team have an array of relevant and professional experience in childhood and early years. Active researchers and authors on the team, include the pedagogy of early literacy; poverty and the impact of childhood; early years pedagogies, which benefits your learning experience.

This course includes a foundation year - ideal if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1 of a degree.

Top reasons to study this course

  • Sector speakers and experts share their experiences, giving you authentic and up to date views.
  • A range of theoretical and transferable skills make you career ready for a range of professions.
  • Teaching and support staff with specialised skills enrich your understanding and application to practice.
  • University services, such as careers and Volun-Tees, support your graduate employment skills and experiences.
  • Your final year project is an opportunity for you to focus and research on your own specialist interest

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Course details

Course structure

Foundation year core modules

Academic Study Skills Toolkit

This module will assist you in developing the personal and academic skills that you will need for undergraduate study. It focusses on developing skills such as information retrieval, evaluation, critical thinking, note taking, presentation skills and group work.

Contemporary Issues in Social Sciences

This module will introduce you to the historical and contemporary development of social science disciplines and will provide examples of theoretical challenges and the ways in which research is applied in society. You will gain an understanding of the critical differences between disciplines and how interdisciplinary research is fostered through collaboration. You will also be introduced to academic standards, ethical guidelines and research protocols, personal development planning and to a range of study and transferable skills relevant to your degree course and beyond.

Fake News: Propaganda and Polemics, Past and Present

This module provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills in thinking critically about the information and analysis presented in an array of media in today’s digital world, drawing on the methodologies of a range of disciplines within the social sciences, humanities and law. You will explore examples of the debates over fake news in both the past and present, and look at how fake news can be used to both support and undermine the status quo, enabling you in the process to become more savvy and engaged citizens.

Historical and Popular Crime, Justice, Law and Psychology

This module introduces you to the history of crime and justice, using media representations and crime fiction as a way of exploring crime over time, including aspects such as changes in society, law and education in this context.


This module allows students to identify an area of interest related to their undergraduate degree and to explore this through a small scale research project where students will be required to produce an analysis of an area of focus.

Teesside: History, Literature, Culture, and Society

This module provides you with an opportunity to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the Teesside region. You will learn about Teesside’s history, culture and society through the examination of various topics which will give you a deeper understanding of the region, both past and present.


Year 1 core modules

Children's Development

You explore children’s personal, social, emotional and physical development, including theoretical perspectives on how children learn and develop.
You examine the range of theories about children's growth and development and the provision that is made to ensure children develop to reach their own potential.
You also look at the contribution to children's development of parents, practitioners and other professionals.
You are assessed by a short answer examination.

Engaging with Research in Early Childhood, Education and Care

You look at the importance of research in early childhood education and care (ECEC). Increasingly, policy makers and practitioners in various roles connected to young children are asked to account for the policy and practice they produce by making reference to relevant supporting research. You gain a brief introduction to the secondary and primary research processes. You recognize and use certain skills and tools which are important when engaging with research connected to early childhood education and care. You also develop your skills in research, finding research studies, selecting research and critically evaluating it. You are assessed by two 1,500 word assignments.

Foundations of Policy

You are introduced to the importance of policy within the early years sector. Globally, there is unprecedented attention on the early years, which is reflected in the emergence of policy in the areas of young children’s development, education, care, curriculum, needs, safeguarding, welfare, workforce, and families.
You consider what policy is, why it is important and what role it performs. You examine the policy process at different levels - global, supra-national, national, local and setting-based policy and the links between these different levels.
You explore policy implementation and influences on it through practice and whether this is a straightforward process.
You are assessed by a 3,000 word report focusing on one article from The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Global Childhoods

You consider how different childhood experiences are influenced worldwide by the interaction of geography, social structures and social systems. This is linked to theories and concepts and key global policy initiatives.

You are assessed by a 4,000 word report.

Notions of Childhood

You gain an understanding of the conceptual underpinning of early childhood studies. You consider the historic and social notions of childhood. You also consider how childhood is represented in literature and the media and how this has evolved. You gain an understanding of the importance of an ethical approach to studying the discipline of children and early childhood. Your assessment is a 3,000 word essay.

Working Collaboratively in Early Years

You explore the nature of professional practice in early years. In some EU countries and in Malaysia an emphasis is placed on working collaboratively in early years - the state, the private and voluntary sectors come together and work towards shared agendas. You reflect on the theories and philosophies that resulted in this collaborative approach. Not everywhere adopts this understanding of working in early years and there are countries in the developing world where a laissez faire approach to working with children and families is evident. You consider how working collaboratively with children and families in particular cultural contexts have evolved over time. Your assessment is a 3,000 word essay.


Year 2 core modules

Key Issues in Early Years Policy

You build on the Foundations of Policy module from Year 1 and critically evaluate the effects of policy on children and families. You consider key influences (international, social, political, economic) on national policy decisions, and the policy-making process and apply this understanding to a number of key policy areas such as early intervention, family justice, child health, commercialisation, special needs, disability. You choose one of these areas as the focus for your 3,500 word assignment. You develop skills in analysing and questioning policies, using research and professional opinion to evaluate your outcomes, consider what alternatives exist, and how existing policy can be changed and improved.

Language and Literacy in the Early Years

You develop your understanding of language acquisition and development, and how children become literate. You cover major theories of language development and developmental progress. You explore the factors that affect children’s developing language. You examine early literacy and how children become readers and writers.
You are assessed by a 3,500 word report on a case study provided by the University.

Pedagogy in Early Years

You explore approaches to supporting children’s learning and development in the early years. You examine the importance of play in children’s learning and consider the differing approaches developed by early play pioneers and contemporary theories. You build on your understanding of child development to explore the relationship between play and learning and the use of observations and assessments to promote a child-centred learning environment.
You are assessed by a 3,500 word essay responding to a case study provided by your tutor.

Research in Early Years

You plan your own research project in the early childhood education and care context. You develop your understanding, knowledge and skills to carry out aspects of research. You negotiate the focus of this research with your tutor. You cover a range of issues pertinent to planning and completing research within the early years. Your assessment is a 3,500 word research proposal, this is a plan of the research you undertake in the Early Childhood Studies Dissertation module in your final year.

Safeguarding and Protecting Children

You explore safeguarding and protecting children in their early years. You consider how practice based on children’s rights and good practice approaches in working with parents and other professionals, can help to safeguard children. You consider the current evidence base on causes, risk factors and effective help for children in need of protection. You discuss different levels of need and response – early help, children in need and significant harm – and what your role is in each. You consider how policy, law and guidance create a framework for practice. You evaluate this framework using research, professional opinion and international comparisons in order to judge how effective this is in keeping children safe, and how it could be improved. You are assessed by a 1,750 word report, and a two hour seen exam based on a case study provided in advance.

Understanding and Supporting SEN in Early Years

You consider Special Educational Needs (SEN) in relation to early years. You explore the concept of inclusion of children with SEN and the impact of policy and legislation. You look at the systems and processes in place to identify and support children with SEN. You explore the practitioner's role and the expectations of working with the children's families and other agencies. You also consider how the barriers to learning and development can be addressed as far as possible in practice so that children with SEN can be supported and progress towards their full potential. Some of the areas studied include autism, ADHD, hearing-impaired children, Down’s syndrome, visually-impaired children.
You are assessed by a 3,500 word assignment where you critically analyse legislation and impact in relation to the chosen SEN and outline issues and challenges.


Final-year core modules

Critically Analysing Early Years Policy

You develop your critical awareness of the historical, social and political influences that affect the provision of care and education for children in their early years.
You explore comparative practices past and present, in the UK and internationally. You explore key policy areas and themes, how these have developed, and consider the policy directions currently being taken in early years.
You consider the increasingly detailed responsibilities of workers in the sector who use multiple and complex abilities for the delivery of care and education, working with the child, families, carers and other agencies.
You develop an understanding of how policy is created and implemented, and the role of the early years’ worker. You look particularly at your potential role as a senior member of staff in leading and developing practice.
You are assessed by a 1,500 word review of an academic article and 2,500 word literature review on one aspect of current national early years policy.

Early Childhood Studies Dissertation

You complete a research project in a specific topic area relevant to early childhood education and care. This is research you plan in the Research in the Early Years module. Supervisory support is provided to assist you. You emphasize your autonomy in appropriate decision making and challenge your capacities for independent learning and action. You produce an 8,000-10,000 word dissertation outlining the context for your research, the research methods used to collect and analyse data and your findings. Your dissertation demonstrates high levels of research enquiry skills and ethical good practice, an in-depth knowledge of an area of early childhood education and care as well as the ability to collect and analyse data connected to your topic of interest.

Enhancing Learning in Early Years

You understand the importance of pedagogy in an early years context. You explore engagement and implementation of educational frameworks with a particular focus on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). There is an emphasis on play as the central belief that practitioners plan for children’s care, learning and development. You consider the individual and collective nature of children’s learning and how to plan for this in an early years environment and across the range of areas of learning.
You are assessed by 1,000 word lesson plan linked to educational guidance and theory and a 3,000 word essay critically discussing the practitioner’s role in providing learning opportunities and educational resources for children.

Inclusion and Diversity

Develop a deeper understanding of a range of influences that impact on children's learning and development. Develop an understanding of diversity in society and examine some of the ways in which the care and education systems can respond to issues. The limitations of institutional responses to complex issues are examined. Issues of professional practice in inclusion and anti-bias education are also explored. You are assessed by a 4,000 word report.


optional modules

Exploring Curriculum Delivery in Educational Settings

You explore the importance of child-centred teaching and learning across early years foundation stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. The different pedagogical approaches between the different key stages are explored with a focus on key subject areas. Different modules of curriculum and their influence on the teaching environment are explored. This is relevant if you are considering working in an educational setting such as schools and nurseries.
You are assessed in two ways - small group work delivering a teaching session and an individual 3,000 word essay.

Professional Identities: Leadership and Support Across Children’s Services

You understand leadership and support within an early years context. You explore critical engagement with leadership and management theories and research.
You explore generic theories of leadership and management, and the application of these to the context of early years. You explore the emerging role of the Early Years Professional (EYP) and critically consider the application of leadership and support within the sector.
You are assessed by a 1,500 word written speech on an agreed aspect of leadership and 2,500 word essay.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

We provide you with a range of opportunities to develop the skills and understanding you need for working with babies and young children. You study relevant, contemporary material, applying theory to practice.

How you are assessed

Assessment is through essays, reports, exams, as well as case studies and presentations to demonstrate your academic and developing professional skills, and reflective practice.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 32-64 tariff points from at least two A levels (or equivalent) and GCSE grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent in English.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

Career opportunities are working with families and children in a range of different roles: for example as support workers and assistants in schools, local authority or health services. Students progress into roles in nurseries, schools and children centres supporting both children and parents. With a good honours degree, you can progress to post graduate professional study such as for teaching in the early years or social work.

The programme incorporates broad employability skills development that will help to prepare you for future employment. You will be encouraged to volunteer and will have opportunities to take part in projects. There are guest lectures from professionals working in relevant areas and opportunities for site visits. Workshops are available for skills development.

All programmes are designed to incorporate employability skills development alongside your degree course. Our staff utilise their extensive connections to provide many and varied opportunities to engage with potential employers through fairs, guest lecture sessions, live projects and site visits. In addition we offer a series of workshops and events in the first, second and third year that ensure all students are equipped with both degree level subject knowledge PLUS the practical skills that employers are looking for in new graduate recruits.

Our award-winning careers service provide information sessions each year to help students prepare for employment and they work with regional and national employers to provide careers fairs advertise graduate positions, in addition to providing postgraduate support for all Teesside University alumni.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Other course routes


Entry to 2022/23 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£14,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 4 years
  • UCAS code: X318 BA/CECFY
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 32-64 tariff points from at least 2 A levels (or equivalent)

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2023 entry

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2022 entry

UK applicants

Complete this enquiry form only if you have already obtained your qualifications and achieved grades. If you do not have these at this time, we will be unable to progress your enquiry - please re-visit and complete the form after you have received your results.

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International applicants

Our undergraduate courses are available through Clearing to international applicants. Please only complete this application form if you have already obtained your qualifications and achieved your grades. You must upload all requested documents including a copy of your passport, academic qualifications and English language qualification, and copies of any sponsor letters or maintenance documents to meet the requirements. If you have previously applied through UCAS for 2022-23 entry, please include your UCAS personal ID number in the course details box.

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Education, Early Childhood & Youth

The facilities available to Education, Early Childhood and Youth students at Teesside University are ideal preparation for a career in education. Students have access to many of the kind of resources that you would expect to find in an educational setting.


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