BA Early Childhood (Flexible Learning Route)

  • BA Early Childhood

98% of UWTSD students at the School of Early Years were satisfied with their course – NSS 2017.

This is an innovative course for those interested in discovering how young children develop and learn. The course is delivered in a supportive and engaging environment and explores all aspects of children’s well-being and holistic development. Students can study on evenings and weekends while still maintaining full-time employment/volunteering.

Key Facts

UCAS Code: L521
Institution Code: T80
Course Length:
2 years / 3 years

School of Early Childhood
Contact Name:
Dr Glenda Tinney
Contact Email:
Language Choice

The Flexible Early Childhood degree is designed to combine students' work and volunteering commitments with study on evenings and weekends. Students access lectures and tutorials during some twilight and evening sessions as well as on some pre-arranged Saturdays each term.

Students explore the links between theory and practice and the degree places a strong emphasis on children’s wellbeing and development. The degree reflects the values of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child with a strong emphasis on young children’s rights, the importance of listening and respecting children’s ideas and decisions, and the right for young children to have access play.

During the degree students will have several opportunities to explore the importance of play for young children’s development and learning. These ideas will be explored in the context of the Foundation Phase, Flying Start, the Foundation Stage and other international early childhood approaches.

The degree places a strong emphasis on practical, hands-on learning and offers several opportunities for students to undertake practical activities which support the content of lectures.

Outdoor learning and creative development are also themes that feature prominently within the degree and throughout your study there will be opportunities for students to learn in the outdoors and to use their own ideas and initiative to undertake learning tasks. There are also opportunities for educational field visits and trips which are included as part of the different module content.

These include:

  • music and dance workshops
  • language and play workshops
  • visits to early childhood centres
  • speakers from local and national early childhood organisations and professions.

There are also opportunities for optional visits abroad.

During the degree students will develop effective research, critical thinking, analytical, problem-solving and IT skills as well as developing both team and independent working skills.

Typical modules in the first year include:

  • Academic Study Skills for Students;
  • Human Development: The Early Years;
  • Working with young children and families: principles;
  • Young Children - Creative Thinkers;
  • The Young Child: health and well-being in the early years;
  • Working with young children and families: practice.

Typical modules in the second year include:

  • Research for Learning;
  • Come rain or shine: young children learning outdoors;
  • Keeping children safe: well-being and safeguarding;
  • Talking Together: adults, children and language;
  • ABC or Stories? - Children’s Early Literacy;
  • Promoting Bilingualism and the use of Welsh in Early Childhood.

Typical modules in the third year include:

  • The Reflective Adult;
  • Social Justice and Inclusion in the Early Years;
  • A Green Childhood: Sustainability in Early Childhood;
  • Early Childhood: International Perspectives;
  • Leadership in Early Years Provision;
  • Children and the media;
  • Extended Essay.

In the third year some modules are compulsory and some are optional, depending on the student's own interests.

This is an ideal course for those interested in developing their knowledge and understanding of the issues which impact on young children and their families. It also provides an opportunity to integrate full-time study with students' work commitments, allowing students to study and work at the same time. The new two-year flexible learning route also allows students to condense their study thus allowing them to progress more quickly into graduate training or promotion opportunities.

The School, and degree, is located on our Carmarthen Campus which provides a welcoming and friendly learning community. Throughout the course staff provide a supportive and engaging environment where students are encouraged to develop new skills and partake in new experiences. 

Within the degree there are also opportunities to undertake certificated courses such as the John Muir Award. There are several opportunities for visits, to listen to guest lectures from early childhood experts and professionals and for optional visits to other countries within Europe and further afield. Current students have gained confidence and valuable life experiences from such opportunities. All these experiences are designed so that students can develop a varied and impressive CV alongside their academic degree.

The degree is designed to develop students’ research, evaluation and self-reflection skills so that they are well equipped to question and develop their own professional development. The hands-on focus of the course and the opportunities for outdoor learning ensure that the academic content of the course is closely linked to practice. Time is also provided within the timetable and within some modules for students to volunteer in early childhood / early years settings to gain important practical work experience.

The School has developed a strong study skills programme which is designed to provide students with additional support with written and academic skills. This support provides students with the opportunity to increase their confidence and improve their attainment in assignments.

The degree is assessed using a variety of different types of coursework assignment including:

  • essays;
  • portfolios;
  • academic posters;
  • briefing papers; debates; and,
  • seminar presentations.

Each module usually includes two pieces of coursework that allow a student to demonstrate a range of skills, from their academic written skills through to oral presentation and debating skills. There are opportunities for group and paired coursework tasks as well as individual assignments.

There are no formal examinations.

The programme requirements are between 88 and 104 points and above. The School of Early Years encourages and values applications from students who are returning to education as they will have experiences and life skills that could support their entry onto the degree. Generally, students will have attained or will be working towards a relevant level 3 childcare / education qualification such as NNEB, CACHE, BTEC, NVQ. They will also be working or volunteering regularly in an early years setting or a workplace that provides services for young children and families.

All applicants will be required to provide a satisfactory enhanced disclosure document from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Applicants are asked to attend an informal interview on campus. This provides applicants with an opportunity to:

  • visit the campus;
  • ask questions about the degree;
  • have a tour of the site with a current student.  

During the interview the course tutors discuss the applicant’s experiences of working with young children. The team also like to hear about applicants’ interests, hobbies and responsibilities. 

The course is a recognised route into further training such as the PGCE to become a primary school teacher and the MSc in Social Work. However this multidisciplinary degree means that students can access several other careers linked to working with young children and families.

Past graduates have gone on to work as:

  • Nursery managers and deputy managers;
  • Foundation Phase Coordinators;
  • Early years /early childhood development officers;
  • Play officers;
  • Further and higher education lecturers;
  • Family Centre personnel;

Graduates have also progressed to working in the government, voluntary and private sectors.

The degree focuses on developing students’ research skills and their written and oral communication skills as well as providing students with excellent time-management and organisation skills. These are all skills which are highly sought after by a variety of diverse employers, and thus skills gained during the degree are transferable to different career pathways. 

We work closely with employers and have developed an employer forum with local employers. The forum meets regularly and helps the lecturing team ensure that the content of the degree supports the types of skills and experiences required of graduates when applying for work.

The School of Early Years has a successful reputation for delivering high quality higher education. The lecturers have a diverse range of expertise from previous careers including those who have worked as nursery and primary school personnel, nursery owners and managers, police child protection officers, early childhood development officers and researchers. Lecturers also maintain close links with the early childhood sector in order to ensure students have the opportunity to link what they learn in University with real issues in the workplace.

The School also has close ties with the local community and a strong focus on widening access so that non-traditional students are able to return to education.

Students who study the Early Childhood degree are provided with an innovative and exciting course, which is tailored to facilitate students’ involvement and participation in their own learning so that they become confident graduates in the future.