BA (Hons) Early Years Education and Practice (with Early Years Practitioner status)


This course is for students who wish to become a key part of the early year’s education workforce. Designed in line with Welsh Government’s push to create confident, well-prepared 21st century early year practitioners, you will build an understanding of the development and learning needs of young children from 0-8 years, spanning many contexts such as child development, curriculum and pedagogy, children’s mental health, behaviour management, as well as independent projects. The learning is supported by expert teaching, placements, and real-world experience.

One of the major advantages to students studying this course is that it’s accredited by Social Care Wales. When you graduate, you’ll leave with Early Years Practitioner status, which is a stamp of approval in the Education Workforce.

Placement sits at the heart of this programme, allowing you to link theory to practice around areas such as activity planning, assessment and recording procedures, and Welsh language development. Through years 1-3, you’ll attend placements which accumulate to 700 hours over three years, giving you quantifiable experience and knowledge of early years education in the work place.

Designed in line with cutting-edge research and current practice, the aim of the course is to give you the knowledge, skill set, and confidence to be employable within the early year’s workforce, thus equipping you with the following:

  • An academic qualification, combined with Early Years Practitioner Status
  • The ability to confidently work with young children in areas such as safeguarding, child development, sociological and psychological elements of childhood, and more
  • The ability to apply theory into practice, through placements and real experience
  • The ability to evaluate policy, planning, and management
  • A developed intellectual understanding of critical reasoning, analysis, and creativity
  • The skills and attributes desired by employers, including leadership, communication, reflective practice, and problem-solving.

On successful completion of this degree, many students go onto study a PGCE in primary studies. Students wishing to study a PGCE at USW are guaranteed an interview with us.

Top in Wales for graduate prospects in Education (Complete University Guide 2023)

BA (Hons) Early Years Education and Practice (with Early Years Practitioner status)

Typical A-Level Offer
CCD to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 88 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and CD – CC at A Level to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 88 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer
BTEC Extended Diploma Merit Merit Merit (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Access to HE Offer
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 88 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements
GCSEs: The University requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent. If you are completing an Access to Higher Education Diploma we will accept 12 Level 2 credits from English Units and 12 Level 2 credits from Mathematics Units in lieu of the GCSE C/4 grade requirements.

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Entry Requirements

Contextual offers

We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.

Other qualifications and experience

We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.

To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.

If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here


Additional Requirements:

An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child Workforce and Child Barring List and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)


Each year of study contains key ‘themes’ woven through the modules. These golden threads enable students to make vital connections between modules and replicates the connections required in real-world practice, which are developed through this challenge-based learning approach.
Year 1 – contains the themes of learner voice, safeguarding and pedagogical approaches
During year one, you’ll be given the building blocks to develop academic skills. This is focused on challenge-based learning, collaborative, and interdisciplinary skills, and includes immersive learning projects working in small groups, a focus on sociological and psychological childhood development, and the opportunity to explore experiential learning opportunities for young children.

  • Early Years Curricula: Play and Pedagogy    Core (40 credits)
  • Professional Learning and Practice 1 – Core (40 credits)
  • Perspectives of Early Childhood – Specified (20 credits)
  • Project 1 – Specified (20 credits)

Year 2 – contains the themes of collaboration/ diversity and children’s mental health
During year two, you will continue to progress through your professional practice module working towards the next set of competencies in placement over a seven-week period and evidencing them in a portfolio. Key topics during this year include behaviour management, the development of demonstrating creativity, innovation, and project management capabilities, alongside the opportunity to gain additional qualifications in supporting children with dyslexia.

  • Professional Learning and Practice 2 – Core (40 credits)
  • Project 2 – Specified (20 credits)
  • Behaviour Management – Specified (20 credits)
  • Inclusive Practice in the Early Years – Specified  (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Research – Specified (20 credits)

Year 3 – contains themes of Leading and managing, sustainability and digital competency
In year three, leadership and management skills will be woven through the modules, building on the experience you have already gained during the previous years of study and your placements. Digital competency will underpin the immersive learning project, and you will work in a team to scope the design, content, and application of a digital vehicle to support children’s learning and development. This will also be the year where research makes up a significant amount of study, improving your ability to work independently whilst engaging with external partners and applying ethical practices through the collection of data. Finally, you will engage in ‘outdoor learning’, which provides the theoretical and practical experience of this important practice.

  • Professional Learning and Practice 3 – Core (40 credits)
  • Research in the Early Years – Specified (40 credits)
  • Project 3 – Specified (20 credits)
  • Children Learning through Landscapes – Specified (20 credits)


Students at level four will have a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, and tutorials. Seminars and workshops will include group and individual contributions and formative feedback will be provided at relevant check points within modules.

Professional Learning and Practice Modules progress through years 1 -3. These modules centre around students attending placement which accumulate to 700 hours over three years. Employability is the focus, and these modules embrace opportunities for problem based and real-world learning.

Students will also have opportunities to engage in additional qualifications like the Agored Cymru Outdoor learning Practitioner award, Hidden Sentence training, Accredited Learning Support Assistant (accredited by the British Dyslexia assoc.), and First Aid and Safeguarding certificates.

Finally, it is intended that opportunities to disseminate student research to a wider audience, including their mentors that have supported their practice, will be organised, thus sharing their findings to inform future practice.


The course has no exams, and this is often perceived as a benefit by many students. Different methods of assessment are employed across the modules, and these include:

  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Creation of a resource
  • Lesson planning
  • Reflective reports
  • Poster presentations
  • Report writing
  • Research analysis


Students are supported by our placement officer and suitable placements in early years settings are arranged for students to attend. Mentors receive training and guidance, and all students receive a visit whilst on placement from their university tutor.

The modules studied, centre around students attending placement which accumulate to 700 hours over three years

Placements are located across the region of South Wales and travel time can vary but will take into account the student’s home base.

There is a dedicated area with specialist resources which support you in your development. The university is equipped with the latest digital equipment to help you create resources for practice. We also have plenty of support materials available for you to develop your skills for practice in the library.

Our teaching team are all research active lecturers and are experts in a range of areas. Team members have published works on Schema development, children’s use of social media & digital identity, outdoor learning pedagogies, storytelling approaches, transitions in education amongst other topics. The course at USW is predicated on cutting edge research and current practice that informs the learning opportunities provided to our students.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Additional Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.


Cardiff and South Wales has a booming arts and media industry, meaning you’ll have world-class venues and production companies on your doorstep, including the drama studios for BBC Cymru Wales, a major centre for production in the UK (Dr Who, Torchwood, Casualty), the recently developed Pinewood Studios Wales, National Theatre Wales and the Wales Millennium Centre amongst others.

Students on the Performance and Media degree alsogain key transferable skills in teamwork, negotiation and project management, which will be valued in many industries and boost your employability.

Our Careers and Employability Service
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the “Ask a Question” service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.


Full time

Complete your degree in the shortest possible time and study flexibly – when and where suits you!


You’ll study 9 modules in total (approx. 37 hrs/week).

Part time option one

Study for a degree whilst fitting it around your work, care and other life commitments.


You’ll study 6 modules per year (approx. 25 hrs/week).

Part time option two

Take time to study and spread the tuition fees over a longer period – at no extra cost.


You’ll study 4–5 modules per year (approx. 19 hrs/week).

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