BA (Hons) Early Years and Childhood Studies (Foundation Year)

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If someone asked you to explain why we educate people, what would you say?

Education isn’t simply about the ability to read and write. It’s understanding how our minds, our families,
and our societies influence the way we learn. How education – and a lack of it – shapes our future.

In the School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies we offer degree courses that will give you an insight into the way in which our families, communities and societies influence our understanding of childhood systems that support their learning and development.

You’ll also explore themes from the history of education to constructing childhood, from the impact of gender and disability on our ability to learn, to the use of the arts to regenerate a deprived urban area, to whether play can help adults to learn. You’ll challenge theories, discover global views on education and social policy and investigate factors that may stop children from reaching their potential.

The Early Years and Childhood Studies degree with a Foundation Year provides a route onto a degree if you don't have the qualifications, or have not studied advanced level subjects sufficiently related to your course of choice, but have the ability to study for a degree.

Each foundation year is part of a specific degree course. You apply for four years full-time, including the Foundation Year. 

All foundation year students have access to academic and pastoral support from several sources, including a Personal Tutor, Foundation Year Guidance Manager and University Student Services.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

Successful completion of the Early Years Foundation Year guarantees automatic progression onto year one of your chosen linked degree.

Depending on the linked degree chosen there will be different potential career opportunities following graduation, these are outlined in more detail on the individual course entry.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points/grades required

80 UCAS Tariff Points

80 UCAS Tariff Points at A Level or acceptable alternatives e.g. BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma, Extended Diploma at Level 3 (Grades DM or MMP).

Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum of 30 credits at Merit or equivalent.

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language at grade D/3 or above. Equivalent qualifications will be considered i.e. Functional Skills.

IELTS score required for international students

IELTS 5.5 with no component below 5.5 taken within two years of course start date

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Additional Requirements

A Disclosure and Barring Service Check is required for all students. This will be completed through the University prior to enrolment.

Course details

The structure of the Education foundation year is outlined below:

During the Education foundation year, typical units of study (30 credits each) may include:

  • Foundations of Academic Practice
  • The Learning Process
  • Education, Community and Diversity

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Foundations of Academic Practice

This unit acts as the core to the foundation year, and provides opportunities to develop both key skills (referencing, effective writing) and practices (such as criticality) needed to ensure successful progress through your undergraduate degree. Its specific content is negotiated, allowing you to develop and sustain your own specific academic skills and interests ahead of enrolment onto your linked degree.

International and EU students whose first language is not English and who have an IELTS score of less than 6.0 will pursue English for Academic Study in place of this unit.

The Learning Process

This unit interrogates 'learning' in a broad sense - considering processes which occur in formal and informal classroom and other educational settings, but also learning as a developmental process which runs through the life course.  This unit takes a strongly reflective approach, and enables you to draw on your own experience.

Education, Community and Diversity

This unit investigates the place of schools, colleges, children’s centres and youth projects in a wider society characterised by inequality and division at local and global levels.  It will encourage you to understand the experiences of diverse communities, and the ways in which schools, charities, community groups and social enterprises seek to enhance that experience.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Constructing Child Development

The Constructing Child Development unit explores key theories and ideas relating to child development. You will look at the ideas of key philosophers and their thinking and then reflect on how these ideas have been developed into significant and influential theories. You will look at some of the major developmental and biological theories and their links with practice in early childhood settings. You will also consider the ethical implications of studying the development of children.

Rights and Participation

The unit will explore concepts of rights, empowerment, participation, agency and citizenship in relation to the lives of children, young people and the communities they live in. Models and theories of citizenship and participation will be examined. The importance of key guidance, policy and legislation such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the Equality (2010) and Human Rights Acts (1998) are explored.

Childhood, Youth and Society

On this unit, you will explore sociological and philosophical perspectives in relation to the concepts of youth and childhood. It will provide opportunities for you to practice research techniques, which encourages reflection upon your own identity in the context of others. This unit will stimulate debate around notions of youth and childhood and reflect upon theoretical notions such as social constructionism, social capital and colonialism. You will reflect upon the diverse experiences of children, young people, families and communities and consider how these are influenced by social structures at local, national and global levels.

Work-based Learning

You will undertake a work-based learning experience within an external organisation.

This unit will enable you to gain a practical understanding of the sector and apply this to academic learning and to develop professional and personal skills.

Critical Academic and Professional Practice

This unit aims to enable you to critically engage with and reflect on, practical, attitudinal, and ideological perspectives and how these influence your personal, academic and professional development. Through taught content and independent virtual learning, you will explore multimedia portfolios, virtual communities of practice and the importance of ethics in study and practice. Models of reflective practice will be utilised to support academic and professional awareness and action planning.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Deconstructing Child Development

This unit introduces you to a range of contemporary socio-cultural perspectives you may not have encountered before. We evaluate how these perspectives inform current practice and discuss contemporary themes relevant to children's experiences of care and education. These theories and perspectives will connect to your future career roles working with children and families.

Applied Social Research

This unit is an introduction to social research and social research methods, which includes the research process, literature reviews, methodology, results/analysis, the purpose of research, ethical frameworks, researching people, the importance of consent, confidentiality and anonymity. Types of social research, e.g. participatory research, action research, ethnography, community based research, and case studies will be considered as well as research traditions and approaches, including quantitative and qualitative methods.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Queering Child Development

Through scenario-based learning, you will scrutinise the assertion that dominant psychological theories have come to privilege particular practices in work with children and young people. The unit will give you the opportunity to consider alternative perspectives to child development, such as Feminism, Post Structuralism, Post Modernism, Queer Theory and Critical Theory. This unit reflects upon the political and ethical concerns that are created when dominant theories are accepted as developmental truths.

Independent Project

This unit represents the culmination of the degree, offering you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of research methods and relevant theoretical perspectives. Originality, criticality and innovative approaches are encouraged in presenting written and or verbal assessments for this unit. Support is carefully structured and you will be allocated a project supervisor before you commence the unit.

Placement options

There are no formal placements during the foundation year.

Following the foundation year, you will undertake placements and/or be encouraged to undertake voluntary work as detailed for the respective linked degree course.

The Faculty of Education has well-established links with over 1,500 schools, colleges and other educational organisations across the North West of England and beyond. This ensures that you have access to a broad range of placement and volunteering opportunities across diverse communities.

School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies

Our School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies specialises in teaching and research around education disciplines focused on children, young people, families and communities.

The department works collaboratively with communities, partners, local authorities and arts organisations on social enterprise projects, and has been at the forefront of developments in its field for over 20 years.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Foundation Year students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £15,000 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop and up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Placement Costs

If you proceed to the linked degree and decide to undertake a placement, you will need to budget for travel expenses. Travel costs to placement will vary considerably depending on where you live, the location of your placement and how you choose to travel. Information on public transport costs within Greater Manchester can be found at

Professional Costs

If you decide to undertake a placement you must undergo a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check (Enhanced Disclosure). At the time of going to press, you do not have to pay for your first DBS check. If you cannot attend a DBS session at the University before the start of the course, you can use the UK Post Office Document Certification Service, which costs approximately £10. If you are not a UK citizen, or if you have lived in one country outside the UK for six or more months in the last five years, you must obtain a police clearance certificate from the country in which you resided, in addition to the Disclosure and Barring Service check. You must supply a certified translation if the certificate does not automatically include this. Costs vary and can include fingerprint and translation fees where required. Returning students, who have already had a DBS certificate from Manchester Met and who need a second DBS certificate - for example due to a suspension of study - are required to pay the DBS fee. Please go to our DBS webpage for more details and for current DBS fees: It is possible to complete the programme without taking a placement or undergoing a DBS check.


Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

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How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS.

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UCAS code(s)


Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

All applications via UCAS

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.