You are here

FdA Childrens Care, Learning and Development

UCAS code: 
Institution code: 
East Coast College (Lowestoft)


Two years full-time.

Three years part-time.


Typical Offer: 

2023-24 and 2024-25 entry; 80 UCAS tariff points (or above), CDD (A-Level), MMP (BTEC), Pass A*-C (T level).


The Foundation degree in Children's Care Learning and Development is an exciting programme enabling those working in early years to work towards graduate status.

The course is suitable as a pathway to primary school teaching (you must also achieve GCSE maths, English and science). We welcome applications from those working within the childcare sector and from students who may not have child care experience but wish to enter this field.

Those studying at Lowestoft will attend one day per week (2.00pm - 9.00pm) and will need to have face-to-face contact with children for at least 20 hours per week.   

As these are employment-based learning courses, students will require the support of their employer to successfully complete the qualification. Students need a mentor in the workplace to support them with their studies. These courses emphasise multi-agency working, helping to create a workforce committed to joint working and improving standards of care for children.

For those students who successfully complete the Foundation degree, and who are interested in progressing their studies within the field of children's care and learning they can progress on to the BA (Hons) Children's Care Learning and Development. We welcome applications from any student who has achieved 240 credits in higher education (120 credits at level 5) e.g. A Foundation degree related to early years practice.

Students study early intervention, child health and professional practice alongside their dissertation study. Topics offered for dissertation last year included identification of gifted and talented children, the value of home visiting in transitions and whether the school starting age is too young.

What is the Foundation Degree in Children’s Care, Learning and Development?

The Foundation Degree in Children's Care, Learning and Development (FdA CCLD) is a higher education programme for experienced practitioners who work with children (teaching assistants, nursery nurses etc). The underlying theme and focus of the programme is to facilitate professional development through the process of reflection. Each module will develop student s ability to explore, discuss, analyse, evaluate and develop their practice with regard to theory, research, policy and recognised good practice.

I understand that if I am a full-time student I need to be in an appropriate setting for 20 hours per week, or as a part-timer for 10 hours per week. Do I have to be in paid employment or can I work as a volunteer?

You may be in either as long as you have regular contact with children and fulfil the other requirements (NVQ L3 or equivalent and current CRB check). You will need to ensure that you have a mentor and that your employer fully understands the implications of you being a student and having opportunities to carry out work based tasks within the setting.

How much independent study will I need to do?

That is difficult to equate as each student is different. As a rule, we tend to suggest that for each module, you will need to allow 150 hours of self-directed study. You need to consider this carefully as busy practitioners often find it hard to find individual study time within their busy lives.

I haven’t written an essay for 15 years! Is there any student support available?

Yes, we have a number of ways in which you can enhance your study skills: face to face with our study support team, electronically through our study skills portal and also through extended reading the library has a study skills section and some texts specifically focus on study skills for mature students.

What sort of support should I expect?

All students are allocated a personal tutor who may discuss any issues affecting your studies. In addition, academic tutorials are an integral part of each module during which students can clarify and review the teaching and learning with their tutors.


Course modules

The areas of study include early years, care and education, children's services and play work. This course is designed with the child care practitioner in mind. It has been shaped to combine studying while working in a busy childcare setting. At all campuses the course enables students to earn while they learn and maximise the amount of time spent at work. Some modules have adopted a blended learning approach where students can access part of the module via the virtual learning environment supported by face-to-face group tutorial sessions.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Supporting Children’s Care Learning and Development (Work based Learning)

This will focus on developing current practice. The students will develop resources and activities to improve an area of practice. The students will need to critically apply current theory e.g. research on working with colleagues, parents and other agencies, leadership, children’s learning etc. The students will do a presentation on their activities and show how they have developed their learning and practice since year one. They will also be asked to produce a written assignment on the resource and its impact on the setting.

Negotiated Research project

This module is designed to enable students to develop a critical understanding of formal methods of enquiry and select and justify appropriate methods of investigation. It is intended to introduce students to both the theoretical and applied aspects of educational and social research. This will involve a detailed introduction to a number of different methodologies and research strategies. It will also consider the use and application of concepts, practices and processes within research requiring students to both evaluate the methodological elements of the research process, followed by the formulation of a research proposal. As an integral part of the module, students will select, design and apply a range of research methods. This will be done within the context of students identifying a research issue or question and then exploring it using the methods they have chosen. In addition to the above the module seeks to establish strong links between theory and practice so as to enable the students to develop their reflective skills and to consider how research findings have, and can, inform and enhance their professional practice. 

Children in Society

It is imperative in an ever changing employment landscape that the students’ are prepared for contemporary issues that will impact on their practice. At level 5 students need to critically apply current theory and research to their everyday practice in order not only to enhance it, but to critique it .Consequently this module will always focus on developing contemporary issues using social construction, post structuralism, structuralism and sociological theory childhood and the role of children in a dynamically changing society. 

Child Protection and Safeguarding Issues

This will focus on safeguarding and child protection legislation and procedures as well as how to keep children aged 0 – 11 safe, including cyber technology. This will involve covering relevant legislation, the impact this legislation has on practice. The support systems that are available to children and their relationship to practice will also be considered. The aim of the module therefore is to go beyond safeguard training that is made available to students within the workforce and to enable the students to develop a critical awareness with regard to the current legislation, frameworks, policies, procedures and support.

Diversity, Inclusion and Rights and implication for Practice

The children’s workforce has many demands and challenges not least of which is the children’s rights agenda. Since 1989, the United Nations Charter for the Rights of the Child has set the tone for children’s rights at a global level. The discourse of rights has becomes a central part of the care of children and has led to a participation agenda applicable to all sectors of the workforce. It is essential therefore that all practitioners within the children’s workforce have a good appreciation of this agenda. In addition, Britain is a diverse society and the children’s workforce has a variety of children’s’ needs to meet and enhance. Thus to understand not only the forms of diversity and the legal requirements which apply to the workforce, it is also necessary to consider how to deal with such diversity and the consequences of not doing so. Consequently this module aims to investigate the value and beliefs systems applicable to the children’s workforce. The students will reflect upon their own values and how they impact on their professional role. The module will also include an examination of organisational structures and systems and the values therein, and a reflection of practitioner’s role within a variety of organisations. 

Supporting Children’s Development

The children’s workforce has many complex demands and as such needs to be flexible and work collaboratively to meet the challenges of the workforce for tomorrow. The module will enable the student to deliberate some of the most recent issues, theories and concepts in developmental psychology. It will enhance the student’s understanding of child development and behaviour within a broadening context and encourage identification and consideration of the determinant factors. It will also enable them to apply those theories to practice and by so doing enhance their own continued professional development.

Emergent Literacies and Creativity

This module provides students from the child care workforce  the opportunity to explore issues regarding literacy and its place in society. Students will question what literacy is and   the impact of digital literacies and its links to children’s learning.  The nature of creativity will be explored  in context of a allowing children the freedom to discover new ways of communicating . Students will also have the opportunity to explore their own creativity. Students will  examine current government guidelines on emergent literacy  and the impact on their practice.

Personal and Academic Development

This module provides students from the child care workforce the opportunity to develop a range of personal and academic skills in order to support their studies and enhance their future personal and career development. It recognises the importance of effective study skills and communication skills in  the students continuing success throughout the programme. These skills are highly valued by employers who expect graduates to use them to support their work with children and in their wider professional activities.

Career opportunities

Future employment opportunities exist in schools, children's centres, playgroups, nurseries, social care and voluntary organisations. 

Fees and finance


  • UK full-time tuition fee: £8,220 p.a
  • UK part-time tuition fee: £1,370 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information)
  • International full-time tuition fee:  £13,992 p.a

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for. 

Entry requirements