England.  Change location
Young child watching a mobile rotate

Top-up BA (Honours) Early Childhood

You can gain our Top-up BA (Hons) Early Childhood in one or two years. If you’re an experienced early years practitioner, this top-up route lets you count previous study in a relevant subject towards our Top-up BA (Hons) Early Childhood. You’ll need to have a Foundation degree, Higher National Diploma or Diploma of Higher Education in Early Years/ Early Childhood. Building on your prior study and experience, you’ll advance your professional development by completing two additional modules. They’ll cover working with children, and research with children and young people. This means you can achieve your degree in less time, while also gaining an excellent foundation for a career working with young children.

Key features of the course

  • Offers a fast-track route to gaining our BA (Honours) Early Childhood
  • Encourages critical understanding and reflection on contemporary issues and debates in early childhood
  • Prepares you for further research, study, enquiry and practice

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q90
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
120
How long it takes
Part time – 2 years
Full time – 1 year
Time limit – 4 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

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.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

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 15 March 2022.


Accessibility

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 course, we’ll award you our Top-up BA (Honours) Early Childhood.

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stage 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

International recognition

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. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.

Regulations

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. 


Entry requirements

  1. You must have an accepted qualification in an accepted relevant subject.
  2. 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).

Accepted qualifications1

  • Diploma of Higher Education
  • Foundation degree
  • Higher National Diploma

1You must have been awarded your qualification within the last five years.

Accepted subjects2

  • Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood Learning and Development
  • Early Childhood Studies
  • Early Years

2Holders of qualifications in related subjects may be eligible, but please note they must carry 240 credits. Contact us at FELS-EY-General@open.ac.uk for advice.

Download an application form. The application deadline to start in October 2022 is 19 August 2022. 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 partnerships-enquiries@open.ac.uk 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.

Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

How much will it cost in England?

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 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.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,228*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,456*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £6,456*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2023. 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 set books, a computer and internet access. If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work, or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website, with:

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.


Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.

Tutorials

Tutorials throughout the course could be online, face-to-face or a mixture of the two, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms, and are sometimes recorded.


Assessment

Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end of module assessment won’t usually have an exam.

Exams

  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance; you’ll need to attend one of our many exam centres in the UK or Europe.
  • All exams taking place before 31 December 2023 will be remote exams that you will complete at home or at an alternative location.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

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.

Career relevance

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. You should be aware this is a practice-focused not practice-based qualification with no elements of observed and assessed practice, and as such, it is not considered full and relevant for the purpose of counting in staff:child ratios within an early years setting. 

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. 

Other careers

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
  • teacher
  • family support worker
  • counsellor
  • child psychotherapist
  • careers adviser
  • advice worker
  • probation officer
  • social worker
  • education welfare officer
  • learning mentor
  • community development worker.

Register for this course

Please see Entry requirements to register for this course as online registration is not available.

Request your Education, Childhood and Youth prospectus

Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

Request prospectus