This top-up degree has one stage, comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start at Stage 3, where you’ll study two modules – one that focuses on the development of a multidisciplinary professional workforce for children and one that will introduce you to a range of research methods and analytical techniques.
In your first module, you’ll focus on supporting the development of a skilled, effective and multi-disciplinary professional workforce for children. To complete the honours degree, a final module will introduce you to a range of research methods and analytical techniques relating to children and young people.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Top-up BA (Honours) in Early Childhood uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying online – some modules have a mixture of printed and online material, and others are entirely online. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- working in a group with other students
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- practical work
- finding external/third party material online
- using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Early Childhood degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stage 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
- You must have an accepted qualification in an accepted relevant subject.
- You must be an experienced early years (0–7 years) practitioner.
If ineligible for this top-up route, you may apply to transfer credits from your previous study towards our BA (Hons) Early Childhood (Q89) or BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) (Q94).
- Diploma of Higher Education
- Foundation degree
- Higher National Diploma
1You must have been awarded your qualification within the last five years.
- Early Childhood
- Early Childhood Learning and Development
- Early Childhood Studies
- Early Years
2Holders of qualifications in related subjects may be eligible. Contact us at FELS-EY-General@open.ac.uk for advice.
Download an application form. The application deadline to start in October 2021 is 20 August 2021. We can’t accept, and will not consider, applications received after this date.
Holders of the Foundation Degree in Early Years or Diploma of Higher Education in Childhood Practice from the OU don’t need to complete the application form. Email the Partnerships Team on firstname.lastname@example.org to register
How much time do I need?
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Skills for career development
This degree is designed to contribute to the development of a highly skilled and effective workforce and to integrated coherent services for children. In addition to specialist knowledge and understanding of early childhood, it emphasises independent thinking, develops analytical and communication skills and will help you become a clear and confident writer – all attributes that are highly valued by employers.
You will acquire a broad set of employability skills, including:
- analysing, critically evaluating and effectively communicating information to others
- competence in team and project work, supporting and/or supervising others
- organising, synthesising and questioning opinions and arguments
- evaluating the appropriateness of different approaches to problem-solving
- managing and organising time, resources and information to support decision-making
- reflecting on your own learning and performance and taking steps to improve it
- using ICT effectively and being able to interpret data.
This BA (Hons) Early Childhood is an excellent foundation for entry to a range of careers working with and for young children and their families. If you are already in employment the degree may enable you to access a management role. The degree is also suitable for those wanting to move into careers in teaching, health or social work. Please note that GCSE passes at Grade 4 (C) or above in English and Maths are normally required for post-graduate study and for teaching a GCSE Grade 4 (C) pass in Science is also a requirement.
The BA (Hons) Early Childhood may be helpful if you’re interested in further training for Early Years Initial Teacher Training (Early Years Teacher Status - Birth to 5) or post graduate qualifications in primary teaching with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). However, we cannot guarantee automatic progression to initial teacher education (ITE). Check with your local ITE training provider about their entry policy. For up-to-date information see the Department for Education website in England; the Teach in Scotland website in Scotland; and the Teacher Training & Education in Wales website. More information can also be found about routes to entering teaching by downloading our Becoming a teacher booklet.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- nursery worker/manager
- family support worker
- child psychotherapist
- careers adviser
- advice worker
- probation officer
- social worker
- education welfare officer
- learning mentor
- community development worker.