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Course summary

Early education represents a major area of public investment with the government currently investing £5.2 billion annually. The first few years of children’s lives are crucial to their development and opportunities in later life – and the adults who work with them are ideally placed to make a difference. It is vitally important that practitioners caring for children are appropriately educated themselves in order to deliver effective provision. The early years stages have critical importance at the beginning of a child’s life journey and encompass more than “just play”. The Early Years and Primary Studies course is for those interested in working with children aged 0 - 11 years and offers a holistic approach to child development, the Early Years curriculum, the National Curriculum, legislation and safeguarding. We aim to provide students with an in-depth holistic view of child development and learning to enable students to work in an informed, sensitive and empowering way with children and families. Our students will be key influences in the lives of many children providing physical, emotional, social and intellectual care. The role requires them to support children’s developmental milestones and observe and assess their progress throughout early childhood ensuring that the individual needs and interests of children in settings and schools are met. Students will need skills to work as part of a team to provide enabling environments in which all children can play, develop and learn; building strong partnerships with parents and carers to enable all children’s needs are met. To do this they will complete modules that are relevant to the theory, knowledge, skills and practice that are required to work in the sector. Initial modules will introduce them to research and study skills required to learn at Higher Education level and core practice-based content regarding the curriculum, planning, assessment and safeguarding. The EYFS and National curriculum are weaved in to every module with a specific focus on Special Educational Needs and inclusive practice delivered in Year 2. Regular research and reading will be encouraged and recommended throughout the course for students to maintain current and up to date professional knowledge with an opportunity for action research to be completed in Year 2 and for their final undergraduate dissertation in Year 3. Key theoretical knowledge, will be embedded in practice through placement experiences linked to the professional practice and development modules throughout the three years of the course. Students will be expected to complete 720 placement hours in either paid or voluntary roles in early years settings over the 3 year programme in line with Initial Teacher Training government recommendations. The course team will offer assistance to find placements and supported visits to ensure students can graduate with a high level of both practical and theoretical experience in readiness for the job market. Many of our graduates from the current Early Years provision progress to careers in pre-school or primary school teaching, or work as family support workers or play therapists. Others choose to further their studies on Masters programmes that specialise in specific topics, such as social work or children’s rights.


The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Most modules count for 20 academic credits, with each credit taken equating to a total study time of around 10 hours, which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity. Full-time students take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. A total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits are needed for an honours degree as a whole. Overall grades for the course and degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6. Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. Further information on current module content can be found on the University Centre Colchester website.

Assessment method

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are incorporated into several modules per level to support students theoretical application in the workplace. There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark. Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

How to apply

Application codes

Course code:
Institution code:
Campus name:
Colchester Site
Campus code:

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

Applicants applying from outside of the UK will need to provide evidence of their qualifications, English level and passport/visa documents. Colchester Institute requires applicants to have an English level of IELTS 6.0 (with Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking all being at least 5.5) for all of its courses.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

You will also require 2 GCSEs (grade A*-C/9-4) including English or Maths.

Additional entry requirements

Criminal records declaration (DBS/Disclosure Scotland)


English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)6Colchester Institute requires applicants to have an English level of IELTS 6.0 (with Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking all being at least 5.5) for all of its courses.

Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students
Student satisfaction
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
Go onto work and study

The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Channel Islands £8250 Year 1
England £8250 Year 1
Scotland £8250 Year 1
Wales £8250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £8250 Year 1
EU £8250 Year 1
International £8250 Year 1

Additional fee information

Students commencing on Health and Education related programmes are required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check prior to commencing on their studies. DBS checks are currently charged at £40, but are subject to change during the academic year.
Early Years and Primary Studies at University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute - UCAS