How To Apply
UCP FD Primary Education

FD Primary Education

The Open University

course overview

Develop your understanding of the theoretical and practical elements of working with young children on this two-year foundation degree course.

It offers the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding of a broad spectrum of modules related to the care and education of young children, with specific reference to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum.

The course is a great option for existing early years and primary education practitioners or those who are looking at joining the sector whilst working with children. Working in the education sector is valuable to society and the local community with staff being key workers.

The lectures and assessment tasks will enhance your knowledge and experience of the Early Years, through teaching and discussion on a wide range of topics; from child development and learning to international perspectives and professional practice.

Alongside lectures, you will learn on the job through participating in placement activities. Therefore, you are required to have a position (paid or voluntary) in an Early Years or Primary School setting.

By the end of the course you will have the knowledge to work within and support a variety of Early Years and Primary School settings. You will have an increased understanding of relevant legislations and curricula, the importance of providing high-quality care and education to young children, and an awareness of how you can enhance young children’s experiences to support them in reaching their potential.

The courses at University Centre Peterborough are studied in smaller class sizes compared with other universities, a typical class size is under 30 students.

Download Course Specification

Applicants are required to have gained a minimum of 400 hours work experience (e.g. one year for two days a week) within a early years or primary education setting before starting the course. During the course you must participate in a minimum of 12 hours paid or voluntary placement every week during your studies.

5 GCSE grades C/4 or above, including English, Maths and Science and 48 UCAS points, which should be from a related subject in one of the following:

  • A Levels
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
  • IB Diploma
  • Access to HE
  • Related work experience
  • Overseas qualifications are judged to be equivalent to the above

Students who do not qualify by any of these qualifications may be offered an interview to discuss equivelant qualifications and previous experience.
We accept A Level General Studies and AS levels when combined with other full qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you will require an IELTS score of 6.0 or above or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Mature students or students who do not have the above qualifications can contact our admissions team on 01733 214466 or to discuss equivalent qualifications or relevant work experience.

An enhanced DBS check is required.

An interview may be required before an offer can be made.


We can accept a wide range of overseas qualifications and use UK NARIC to compare qualifications. For advice about overseas qualification conversion call the Admissions Office on 01733 214466 or email


To find out more about UCAS tariff points and how they work, visit

We accept a wide range of qualifications such as A-levels (you must have grades for at least two A-levels), BTEC, Cambridge Technicals, International Baccalaureate (IB), NVQ Level 3, Access to Higher Education and Scottish Advanced Highers.

The tariff points for qualifications can be added and combined together (e.g. A-levels plus BTECs).

The UCAS points for A-level General Studies, AS-levels and the EQP (Extended Project Qualification) are accepted when combined with other full qualifications.


APCL relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study. If you have previously completed a course which is relevant to your proposed course you should make this clear when you apply. For this to be eligible for consideration you must be able to provide certification, which shows your success in a final assessment for that course. Learning must be completed in the last five years or further evidence of updating will be required. Simple participation in a course or an attendance certificate is not sufficient.


We offer students flexibility in their studies, by recognising learning they may have completed elsewhere before they apply. The Accreditation of Prior Learning process ensures that we can take this into account when determining the modules you must study. It is important that you identify any relevant prior learning when you apply. If your previous study specifically relates to modules on the course you wish to undertake we may approve a reduced programme of study, thus shortening the time it takes to obtain your award. Where this relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study, this is called Prior Certificated Learning, and where learning has been achieved through relevant work or experience, this is referred to as Prior Experiential Learning. Claims must be approved before you commence a course.


It is important to understand that the APEL process does not award academic credit for experience alone, but for learning which can be shown to have been achieved through that experience. Students are required to prepare an individual case for the credit arising from their learning experiences. This normally means that a student receives support in the preparation of a portfolio, which evidences their claimed exemptions for entry. This portfolio of evidence is then submitted for assessment and the possible award of academic credit. Alternative methods of assessment of evidence may be available but needs to be discussed with the Admissions team or Course Leader.

You must take modules worth 120 credits at each level of the course. Each module is worth a specified number of credits.

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

  • Introduction to EYFS & National Curriculum (15 credits)
  • Planning & Assessment in Primary Education (15 credits)
  • Child Development and Learning (30 credits)
  • Children’s Mental Health & Wellbeing (15 credits)
  • Academic & Professional Practice 1: Primary Education (15 credits)

Final year for full-time students (Level 5)

  • Safeguarding Children and Young People (30 credits)
  • English in Primary Education (30 credits)
  • Mathematics in Primary Education (15 credits)
  • Science in Primary Education (15 credits)
  • Academic & Professional Practice 2: Primary Education (30 credits)

A typical 15 credit module is 150 hours which includes 36 hours of tutor led delivery and 114 hours of recommended independent study.  A typical 30 credit module is 300 hours which includes 72 hours of tutor led delivery and 228 hours of recommended independent study.  A full-time student should expect to undertake 30 additional hours per week during term-time.

  • For details of classification of awards please refer to page 140 of Academic Regulations.
  • For details of progression and module scenarios please refer to page 129 of Academic Regulations.
  • For details of compensation scenarios please refer to page 106 of Academic Regulations.
  • For details of assessment offences please refer to page 85 of Academic Regulations.
  • For details of how we will inform you of changes to modules please refer to page 2 of the terms and conditions.

When studying this course at University Centre Peterborough, we will timetable your lectures as one full day a week over two semesters per year.

We are able to offer this convenient timetabling to our students as we are a smaller institution so we can timetable our staff and resources more efficiently.

Over the duration of your course, teaching will be delivered by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

  • 50%     Lectures
  • 25%     Seminars
  • 25%     Workshops

Final year for full-time students (Level 5)

  • 50%     Lectures
  • 25%     Seminars
  • 25%     Workshops

There are two semesters per year and each semester is up to 15 weeks which includes up to 12 teaching weeks and 3 assessment weeks.

If studying full-time you will be in classes, seminars and tutorials for approximately 7 hours per week and will spend the rest of your time in independent study and extra-curricular activities including work placement if not embedded in your course. We recommend that full-time students allow an additional 30 hours per week for additional study.

The campus is open Monday to Friday throughout the year and you will also have 24/7 access to a virtual learning environment (VLE) with e-books, journals and abstracts plus teaching resources and interactive tools.

Timetables are available at least 6 weeks before registration and you can refer to the academic calendar for examination weeks and resit periods.

The days of the week you study may change each year and in some circumstances one of the full days might have to be split into two half days, but we aim to keep these as full days where possible.

Throughout the duration of your course you will be assessed by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

  • 60%     Coursework
  • 40%     Group Activities

Final year for full-time students (Level 5)

  • 60%     Coursework
  • 40%     Group Activities

We will provide, by the beginning of the first week of each semester, a current module guide with all the information you need for each module, including details of assessment tasks, the deadlines for these tasks, the required format and any relevant guidance.

Formative assessment opportunities are written into all module plans to provide students with on-going feedback.  End of semester assessments will have formative opportunities in weeks 9 or 10 of the semester.  In addition revision sessions will be held in week 12.

When a student has achieved 120 credits at level 4 and 120 credits at level 5 they become eligible for a foundation. The award classification is determined by calculating the credit weighted arithmetic mean of the module results for all modules at level 5. The following classifications are determined by the above calculation:

  • 70%+         Distinction
  • 60-69%     Merit
  • 40-59%     Pass
  • 0-39%       Fail

A student who has achieved FdA Early Years and Education may choose to apply for the level 6 BA (Hons) Education Studies Top-up course as a new student in order to achieve a second qualification. On achievement of 120 credits at level 6, their final BA (Hons) degree classification will be by calculating the credit weighted arithmetic mean of the module results for all modules at level 6 only.

Visit our published documents and policies page for The Open University regulations.

Applicants must be working in or have access to a suitable children’s
environment (paid or voluntary) and commit to working a minimum of 12 hours paid
or voluntary placement every week during your studies (for 24 weeks per academic
year). In both years you will undertake Work Based Research modules based on
your work placement.

Sam Mackey

 “I am the Higher Education Course Leader for Early Years and Education, this includes the Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies and Primary Education at University Centre Peterborough. My role within UCP is to lead on the development of curriculum delivery, with a specific focus on the development and delivery of early years and education Higher Education programmes.

I have worked in the Education Sector since 2009 in a variety of roles and as a member of teaching staff I am passionate about my subject and give students opportunities to put theory learnt in the classroom into practice. In my view, one of the key roles of a teacher is to be a person who can inspire others to try out new things, test the boundaries and push outside of their comfort zone in order to make sure all students get the best possible opportunities.

In 2020 I graduated with a Master’s in Education from Lincoln University; which covered social justice, special educational needs and disabilities as well as research in education, I undertook a dissertation study around the topic of compassion and used several examples of trauma informed practice from my research to answer what compassion really was for students and what their experiences of it were really like. Prior to this I undertook a degree with the Open University in Social Sciences, which helped me to understand some of the complexities that people may have in their lives. I focused my research on children and young people and the impact that environment, crime and society have on young people in everyday life.

In order to achieve occupational competency, I started my career managing early years and childcare settings. Effectively running a business and all aspects of this including managing staff members, being responsible for health and safety and dealing with customers, parents and other professionals. In these roles it was important that I was aware of each staff member’s development and what their strengths and areas for further development were, ensuring that a clear plan was designed for each person in order for them to gain skills and knowledge in the areas that were needed in order to carry out their job role.”


  • MA Education
  • BSc (Hons) Social Sciences
  • Level 5 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector

After successful completion of the FdA Early Years and Education, you have the opportunity to progress to the BA (Hons) Education Studies (Top-up) course at University Centre Peterborough to obtain a full honours degree with a further year of study. Following this, many of our graduates proceed to Initial Teacher Training in order to pursue a career as a qualified teacher.

The course can lead to a broad range of future careers with a focus upon children and families.

Just some of the future careers for graduates after completing the course include:

  • HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant)
  • Play Therapist
  • Early Years / Primary School Teacher
  • Education / Nursery Management
  • Special Needs Coordinator
  • Family Support Worker
  • Children’s Centre Management
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • Social Worker
  • Learning Mentor

Note that some careers may require further study or experience beyond the Foundation Degree.

Peterborough Stamford

Full-time: 2 years (1 full day a week over two semesters per year)

The tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students will be £8,250 per year, which is lower compared with many other universities.

There may be additional costs for this course which are not covered by the tuition fee.

In this prospectus we will give you clear and accurate information so you can make the best choice for a successful future

Download Prospectus
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University Centre Peterborough Case Studies

HND Animal Management

I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in conservation and joined Stamford College to study Level 3 Animal Studies and then progressed to the HND Animal Management course at UCP.

Nathan Scott, Former student

BSc Crime Scene and Investigative Studies

I couldn’t have picked a better degree to prepare me for the role! University Centre Peterborough provided me with support during the application process, plus, the class sizes were small, so I got plenty of one-to-one support.

Bethany Reynolds, Former Student

BA (Hons) English Literature (Creative Writing)

Being Poet Laureate, for me, means a bigger platform and a louder voice to do the things I am passionate about.

Kat Beeton, Poet Laureate 2022

BA (Hons) Performing Arts

From the very beginning to the end of my degree I have learnt, experienced and gained so much knowledge, skill and passion for my subject.

Emily Stack-Humphrey, Former student

BSc (Hons) Computing and Information Systems

After I presented my final year project at the UCP Computing Conference, which is attended by employers from the IT industry, I was invited to an interview at HIVE Learning who were impressed with my work. That has now led to me getting my dream job in London working on the development of learning technologies.

Maciej Kazimierek, Former Student

University Centre Peterborough currently has 700+ students on over 30 different degree level programmes.


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