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Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning

Please note this qualification will be withdrawn on 31st December 2019, so you must have completed your study by that date. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us or book a call back.

If you’re an experienced classroom or teaching assistant (or in an equivalent school support role), this foundation degree will extend your skills in the classroom, develop your professional knowledge and expertise and boost your career opportunities. It combines work-based learning with academic study to develop the knowledge and skills needed to support primary-aged children in their school learning.

Key features of the course

  • Helps increase your effectiveness in your current role and prepare for new challenges
  • Designed for experienced classroom or teaching assistants, experienced volunteers or equivalent 
  • Focuses on supporting primary age children (4 to 11 years, or up to 12 years in Scotland)
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study. 

We offer the same programme of study as the Diploma of Higher Education in Primary Teaching and Learning (W02), which will be of particular interest to students living and working in Scotland.

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Foundation Degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part time – 4 years
Full time – 2 years
Time limit – must be completed by 31/12/2019
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
For details see Am I ready?

Register for this course

Start dates

Credit transfer: apply by 20/08/2015

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Course details

This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits. Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stage 2.

If you have little or no knowledge or experience of studying, you may prefer to start your studies with an Access module as an additional preparatory stage.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll begin by exploring themes such as: inclusive education; play and creativity; learning in English, maths and science; the role of ICT; home-school collaboration; working collaboratively with colleagues. Then through a series of mini research projects, you'll investigate child protection; creative practices; technology; school inclusion; community involvement; cross-curricular learning; and the ethical dimensions of small-scale research. 

Compulsory modules (120 credits)

Stage 2 (120 credits)

You’ll develop your understanding and encourage reflective practice in four key areas of the primary curriculum: English, maths, science and ICT – studying online, working collaboratively with other students and tutors, and developing your ICT skills in a supportive environment. Finally, you’ll choose from options exploring issues like the diversity and complexity of children’s lives; children’s development; and working with children and families.  

On successfully completing this course, and having passed the module Childhood (E212), you will be able to progress to studying for the BA (Honours) Childhood and Youth Studies (Q81)

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.

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; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, you will be awarded the Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

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Entry requirements

To study this qualification you need to be working directly with children in a primary school for a minimum of five hours a week from the outset. This is essential in order to be able to complete the assignments. You may be in paid employment or working as a volunteer.

For the work-based learning modules, your school will be required to provide confirmation of the number of hours you work; verify your role in the school; and agree to provide appropriate support for your studies.

Note: anyone working in a school will need to organise a Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS, formerly CRB check) or equivalent depending on the country in which you work. It’s your responsibility and that of your employer to ensure you meet these requirements.

If you’re working in a primary school in Western Europe, you’re eligible to study this foundation degree providing you meet the entry requirements outlined, and that you’re working in a school that uses English as the language of tuition and follows a curriculum that is closely comparable to curricula followed in primary schools in the UK.

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will normally mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Read about how some of our students have fitted OU study into their lives, then find out if you have enough time to study by completing our time planner.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

Study for free

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including children and young people, health, law, management, psychology and social sciences.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

How much will it cost?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If (like most OU students) you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree. Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,700*.
  • Our current fee is £5,400* – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification starts from £10,800* based on our current fees.
  • This qualification includes modules with a higher than typical cost. This will increase the overall cost of the qualification quoted. Please call us for further information.
  • This qualification includes modules with a higher than typical cost. If you choose to study one of these modules the overall cost of the qualification may increase. Please call us for further information.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you register.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable. Options include Part-Time Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. 

We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Just answer these simple questions to find out more about the options available to you for courses starting before 31 July 2016.

How many credits are you planning to study per year? You will need [xxx] credits to complete this qualification

Part time study

Full time study

Do you already hold a degree?

Are you employed?

British Forces

  • If you have a BFPO address, you are only eligible for UK course fees if you are a currently serving member of the British armed forces, and you're temporarily and unavoidably working abroad. Other students using BFPO addresses should contact us on +44 (0)300 303 5303 for UK fee eligibility to be assessed.
* The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University’s strategic approach to fees.

An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

This foundation degree course will enable you to develop your existing practice with children and be more aware of the theories that give rise to effective teaching and learning. Students report that their studies can make them more prepared to take part in educational discussions in their schools, and more confident in contributing as valued professionals. Some have also stated that their studies led to paid employment and promotion.

You will also develop a range of key communication, IT, numeracy, analytical, critical thinking and time management skills that are highly valued in the workplace across all sectors.

Career relevance

The Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning is relevant to teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants and other kinds of classroom support staff. If you’re seeking higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) status – in England and Wales only – it will help you to gather the necessary practice-related evidence to apply for this status.

Other careers

The foundation degree may be helpful if you are thinking about training to be an early years or primary teacher; your choice of optional module can be used to support this goal. If you’re considering teaching as a career, you’re strongly advised to check with your training provider about their entry policy for initial teacher education (ITE) programmes, as requirements vary between different universities.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

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 website are available to see at any time, 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):

  • teaching assistant
  • early years coordinator
  • special needs coordinator
  • child development officer
  • children’s centre manager
  • primary teacher
  • special educational needs teacher
  • learning mentor
  • educational psychologist
  • speech and language therapist
  • child protection officer.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.


Study plan - Overview