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Social Care & Early Years

Early Childhood Studies - Foundation Degree

Start Date: 13th September 2021
Code: PHFB01620

  • Higher Education
  • Full-time
  • Ballymena
  • Course Information
  • Applications for this course can be made via the UCAS website.


Duration: 2 years Full-time
Start date: 13th September 2021
End date: 5th June 2023

Fee for 2021/2022 Academic Year:

£2500 - View available payment options.

The Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies will provide you with the opportunity to develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of early years and related issues, enabling you to become a competent and well qualified Early Years Practitioner. It will also give you a nationally recognised qualification and evidence of your ability to work in the Early Years sector. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to progress to year 2 of the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies course at Stranmillis University College.

This course is validated by Queen's University Belfast and quality assured by Stranmillis University College.

Course Content

You will study 12 modules in total, for example:

  • Child Development
  • Professional Practice
  • The Acquisition of Language and Communication Skills
  • Learning Through Play
  • Quality Provision in Early Years
  • Historical Overview of the Development of Early Years Provision
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Developing Skills and Strategies for Managing Children’s Behaviour
  • Working with Children with Additional Needs
  • Anti-Discriminatory Practice and Inclusion in the Early Years Environment
  • Science and Technology in the Early Years

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods include assignments, case studies, practical exercises, presentations, examinations and placement assessments.

GCSE Requirements
Grade C or above in English and Mathematics or equivalent approved qualifications (Level 2 Essential Skills in Communication is acceptable in lieu of a grade C in GCSE English Language, however Level 2 Application of Number cannot be subsituted for Mathematics).

A Level

BTEC Extended Diploma

CACHE Extended Diploma
Overall grade C - Children's Care, Learning & Development

Irish Leaving Certificate Requirements
H5H5H5H5H5 to include English and Mathematics

Students who have achieved a recognised Access Course (minimum of 55%) will also be eligible to apply.

Where mature students wish to have prior education and/or experience taken into account, in lieu of meeting the full course entry requirements, they should contact the relevant Course Director by 10th August, as an application deadline will apply.

Full-time applications to the course should be made through UCAS using UCAS code LX53 and selecting Northern Regional College.  Closing dates are subject to UCAS deadlines. 

Selection process is completed through our partner University Stranmillis College. Please email if you require further information on entry requirements or the admissions process for the Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies.


Graduates of the foundation degree will have qualified status to work in the education sector in posts such as nursery school assistant, classroom assistant and special needs assistant etc.

Graduates of the Foundation Degree will have the opportunity to progress to year 2 of the full time BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Degree course at Stranmillis University College, subject to the availability of places. This degree is also offered in part-time mode of study at Stranmillis and successful FD graduates may wish to consider this option for progressing their studies.

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree programme at Stranmillis.

Please note that onward progression to a postgraduate teaching qualification in Northern Ireland requires applicants to have GCSE English, maths and science at grade C or above, or specified equivalent qualifications.

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Deirdre McNicholl

Alternatively it is available at the following campus.