Early Childhood Studies

Study options


BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code:
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
3 Years
Start date:
23 September 2024

Learn outside the classroom

with our Woodlands Day Nursery and Forest School practitioners

Specialise in your field

with a pathway in Special Education Needs and Disabilities, Mental Health and Wellbeing, or Education for our Sustainable World.

100% Satisfaction for Teaching and Academic Support

National Student Survey 2023 - BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

Through our Early Childhood Studies degree, you will become an early years specialist and will learn how to make a difference to young lives. We cover the 0 to 8 age range, with a particular focus on pre-school children.

There are few more rewarding roles than helping children to develop new skills, grow socially and emotionally, and overcome challenges. With our Early Childhood Studies degree you can prepare for roles like this.

You’ll develop a deep understanding of the factors which affect children’s learning, health and wellbeing. You will then put the theory into action, using teaching techniques, play therapy and other practical approaches.

You’ll also build experience across a range of placements. And there’s even an opportunity to spend a summer or a year abroad.

Our graduates go on to work in a variety of places, including schools and nurseries, local authorities, health organisations and charities. Some train to become teachers or move into social work.

There’s no better time to specialise in supporting children and their families.

We offer fantastic University facilities, including access to our £4.4 million Woodlands Day Nursery and Forest School. Our strong links with community groups mean you could also be working with real families alongside experienced professionals.

In your second and third years, you can tailor your degree to your individual interests. Either continue with a more general route, or choose one of the following pathways:

  • Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Education for our sustainable world

The sustainability pathway includes outdoor learning using the amazing forest school setting.

For those exploring mental health and wellbeing, placements could focus on pastoral care or other aspects of education welfare and support. The SEND pathway provides an ideal platform for students wanting a career working with children who have additional needs.

The course will also cover the leadership and management of early years settings, what childhood looks like around the world, and early years policy.

As an Early Childhood Studies student, you will also be eligible to:

  • Gain an approved qualification which meets the Department for Education criteria for counting in the EYFS staff-to-child ratios
  • Earn the title of Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner through assessment against the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) graduate competencies.

On successful completion of study, depending on your choice of specialism pathway, we will issue you with one of the following awards:

  • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
  • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Special Education Needs and Disabilities)
  • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Mental Health and Wellbeing)
  • Ba (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Education for our Sustainable World)

Work placements

This will give you first-hand experience for future careers. You can immerse yourself in a team, work alongside children and put your skills into practice.

Typical settings include day nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes, children’s centres, and voluntary and community groups.

Students could also be working with a local authority on roles as diverse as safeguarding support and speech and language intervention. Or you could work with a charity and learn how to manage a project.

All students will attend work-based learning in early years settings throughout the programme. It may include observations of children, planning and evaluating activities, and being able to locate relevant policies and resource audits for review and discussion.

Students will be supported by a work-based supervisor within the setting.

We also have international links, including with a university in Cantabria where you can study for a year.

All students will attend work placements in early years settings throughout the programme, they will be expected to undertake work based activities in preparation for their teaching and learning sessions. These may include information exercises such as locating relevant policies and resource audits for review and discussion. Observations of children or work processes in the placement/work setting may be used to inform discussion, such as analysing children's needs, involvement in the planning process or the preparation of work focused learning materials. Placement records will provide support for learners on placement and all students will be supported by a work-based supervisor within the setting.

Course content

As an Early Childhood Studies student, you will develop knowledge and understanding of the factors that impact on children’s learning, development, health, and wellbeing within the 0-8 age range.

In your first year, you will study three core modules which are shared with the Education Studies programme. Studying within a multi-disciplinary context, you’ll learn in a collaborative manner and develop a deeper insight into the wider educational sector. You’ll develop a firm foundation of the necessary knowledge, academic and professional skills which you’ll build upon in your second and third years.

Specialist pathways

In the second and third year of your studies, you will develop specialist knowledge through studying a further four core modules. You can then elect to follow a specialist pathway and increase your knowledge in areas of professional interest. Our pathways include:

  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) – this pathway enables students to develop a specialist insight and critical understanding of SEND practice and appropriate pedagogical approaches for children and young people with SEND.
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – this pathway enables students who have an interest in promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing to develop an informed understanding of the factors that can impact on mental health and wellbeing and the knowledge, skills and dispositions required to promote and support children and young people.
  • Education for our Sustainable World – this pathway enables students who have an interest in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding required to support and motivate learners to act for sustainable development. Students who elect to study on this pathway will have the opportunity to complete an outdoor learning module which will take place in the Forest School.

As an Early Childhood Studies student, you will also be eligible to:

  • Gain an approved qualification which meets the DfE criteria for counting in the EYFS staff:child ratios.
  • Earn the title of Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner through assessment against the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN) graduate competencies.

Academic year

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each year, you will study four modules of either 20 or 40 credits. 2 modules per semester Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity. Full-time students take modules worth 60 credits per semester. All students take a total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits for the degree as a whole. Your overall grade for the course and your degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.  The full-time course has one start point in September.

Fridays at Faraday: Our community playgroup work placement

Fridays at Faraday: Our community playgroup work placement


Skye and Courtney talk about starting the free playgroup as part of their undergraduate studies.

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The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module where available.

Standard route

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Education for Our Sustainable World

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Entry requirements

  • Typical UCAS offer: 104-112 UCAS points 
  • A levels: CCC
  • A minimum of GCSE in English, at Grade C or grade 4

All applicants are individually assessed on their qualifications, skills and experience.

We welcome applications from candidates with a CACHE level 3 Diploma.

Students who wish to apply for the PGCE Primary Education following completion of this degree will need GCSE grade C/4 or above in English, Maths and Science.

We understand that you might have experienced a challenging run up to higher education and may have not met the entry requirements as listed. If this is the case don’t worry, contact us and our team of expert advisors can guide you through the next stages of application, or help you find the perfect course for your needs.

What are the specialist pathways for Education?

What are the specialist pathways for Education?


Course director, Jo, talks about the specialisms available from second year.

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For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.



Early Years Settings

You will have the opportunity to train within a variety of early years settings across the region, working with a range of practitioners, babies and young children, other professionals, and parents.


The Institute of Education enjoys a range of partnerships with organisations across the city and beyond which will give you work-based learning opportunities with volunteer and charity groups.


As an Early Childhood Studies graduate, you will have the skills and experience for a range of jobs.

Popular routes include working in schools, nurseries, local authorities, health organisations and with charities.

Many of our graduates have progressed onto postgraduate studies, including primary and early years teacher training.

Others work as education welfare assistants, nursery managers or within social work teams, supporting vulnerable children and their families.

A student perspective - Emma Green

A student perspective - Emma Green


Listen as Emma talks about her experience studying Early Childhood Studies at Staffordshire University.

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Teaching and assessment


The teaching and learning strategies on our Education degrees have been carefully designed to maximise the opportunity for you to use and reflect upon work-based learning. This provides practical contexts for the analysis of contemporary issues and problems of a practical and theoretical nature. We also teach through whole and small group discussion, case studies, individual research, verbal questioning, experiential practical learning, facilitated learning observation, one-to-one tutorials, critical reflective practice, tutor modelling of good practice and observation of other professionals.

Students will also receive guest lectures from external bodies, such as the Makaton Charity, to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to teach students with a range of educational needs. 


Your course will provide you with opportunities to test your understanding of your subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally includes practice or ‘formative’ assessments, for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark. There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. This includes a range of coursework assessments, such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations, final year, independent project, and work-based practice observations (graduate competencies). The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

Learning support

In addition to the excellent support you will receive from your course teaching team, our central Academic Skills team provides group and one-to-one help to support your learning in a number of areas. These include:

  • study skills such as reading, note-taking and presentation skills
  • written English, including punctuation and grammatical accuracy
  • academic writing and how to reference
  • research skills
  • critical thinking and understanding arguments
  • revision, assessment and examination skills
  • time management

Additional support

Our Student Inclusion Services support students with additional needs such as sensory impairment, or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.


You will normally receive feedback on coursework assessments within 20 working days following the date of submission. 

What are Education Studies placements?

What are Education Studies placements?


On our Early Childhood Studies degree you'll experience a range of placements across a range of age ranges.

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Whilst work-based learning is not assessed, it is anticipated that students will undertake a minimum of 10 days in a variety of organisations and settings with an early childhood focus to gain a wider knowledge base of working with children and families in a diverse range of roles.

Your study time will consist of class contact hours, self-directed learning, assessment and placements where appropriate. Your actual contact hours will depend on the subject area, on the option modules you select and professional body requirements. A typical composition of study time for this course is:

Year 1

24% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
76% of time in independent study
0% of time in work based learning

Year 2

24% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
76% of time in independent study
0% of time in work based learning

Year 3

24% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
76% of time in independent study
0% of time in work based learning

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, laboratory or other timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve utilising a range of digital resources including our virtual learning environment; reading journals, articles and books; working on individual and group projects; undertaking research in the library; preparing coursework assignments and presentations. Your independent learning will be supported by a range of excellent facilities. These include the library, open access computer facilities, informal learning zones, a range of laboratories and specialist teaching areas.

Year 1

17% practical assessments
83% coursework
0% written exams

Year 2

27% practical assessments
73% coursework
0% written exams

Year 3

47% practical assessments
53% coursework
0% written exams


You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teaching training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is research-informed and 80% of our full-time staff in Life Sciences and Education are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.

Amanda Tayler

Senior Lecturer

I am an early years specialist with a specific interest in our workforce. I take great pride in managing this course and educating the next generation of practitioners to lead practice and change the lives of young children. 

Amanda's profile

Francesca Brown-Cornwall


I’m an Early Childhood Specialist and hybrid Psychology and Education researcher fascinated by smiles, laughter and thinking. I am passionate about supporting a skilled, innovative and joyful workforce in childhood and educational services.

Francesca's profile


For the course starting on 23 September 2024 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for BA (Hons)-Full-time
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Full-time £9,250 per year of study £16,750 per year of study

UK and Channel Island students: This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation. If the UK government passes appropriate legislation, the fee for subsequent years of study may increase in each academic year. But this increase will not exceed the rate of inflation as measured by RPIX**. Any change in fees will apply to both new and continuing students. The University will notify students of any change as early as possible. Further information about fee changes would be posted on the University’s website once this becomes available.

**RPIX is a measure of inflation equivalent to all the items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.

Included in tuition fees
Included in the fees:
  • DBS checks where required for assessed modules
  • Loan of subject-related equipment where required for modules
Not included in tuition fees
Not included in the fees:
  • Text books are available from the library, but some students chose to purchase their own copies
  • Printing
  • Travel costs to and from placements. We will have available placements within travel distance from the campus, or within proximity of your address.
  • Clothing suitable for placements
  • Any optional field trips
Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Sources of financial support

If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits. Details can be obtained by reading our additional funding web pages, or visiting www.gov.uk

Scholarships and additional funding

As an undergraduate student at Staffordshire, you may be eligible for additional financial support through one of our scholarships and bursaries. You can visit our funding page to find out more and check your eligibility.

Our students

My first placement was in a nursery and I loved every second of it. The age range is the not the age I want to work with, but the children were all so lovely and they were all such a lovely age. The staff at the nursery were all so helpful and kind, nothing was ever too much trouble for them.

My next two placements were in schools. The schools had diverse cultures and were in different areas of Stoke-on-Trent, which was interesting to see, as one school was more financially stable than the other. I was able to work alongside the teachers and TAs within these placements to help children’s development.

Courtney Taylor

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus BA (Hons) Full-time 23 September 2024 Apply now

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations.

Information from discover uni

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Optional pathways in Mental Health and Wellbeing, Education for Our Sustainable World, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Study options
in the UK for Quality Education

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for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

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of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

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