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Education - Early Childhood


Key facts

Start dates

September 2020

Course length

Part time: 12 months


School of Education

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.


Our PGCert Education - Early Childhood is ideal for early years professionals and managers. 

We designed this course in conjunction with Oxfordshire Local Authority. It provides practitioners with an opportunity to update themselves on the latest research on:

  • child development
  • early years policy
  • early years practice.  

This course is a forum for sharing experience and developing your knowledge of:

  • child development
  • the early years curriculum
  • the particular challenges of leadership in an early years context.

We work in close partnership with schools, nurseries, children's centres and other early years settings across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

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How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a first degree.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.


All applicants will be screened for fitness to practise and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be made.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

Pathways courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU part time
£725 per single module

Home/EU distance learning
£725 per single module

Home/EU part time
£745 per single module

Home/EU distance learning
£745 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU part time
£725 per single module

Home/EU distance learning
£725 per single module

2021 / 22
Home/EU part time
£745 per single module

Home/EU distance learning
£745 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Learning and assessment

This three module course leads to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education - Early Childhood.

The course can be taken either on-campus or by distance learning.


In semesters one and two, taught modules are usually taught over eight weeks on Wednesdays 5.00pm - 8.00pm. In semester three there is an independent study module with tutorials.

Distance learning

This involves part-time online learning through the use of our Moodle platform. Each module usually requires about 12 hours a week plus time spent on assessment.

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Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Learning and Development in Childhood

Content includes:

  • constructivism and social constructivism
  • brain development and core knowledge theories
  • learning in a social context: children shaped by and shaping their context
  • inter-subjectivity and learning through sustained shared thinking
  • narrative understanding and learning through analogy
  • self-esteem and the achievement of mastery
  • the development of values and identity
  • achieving a theory of mind: empathy, social understanding and relationships
  • learning through the body
  • self-regulation, planning and problem solving

Children's Imaginative Worlds or Independent study: investigating Practice (Early Years focus)

Children's Imaginative Worlds
Content includes:

  • the development of memory and alternative narratives of past and future events
  • imagining, mulling and the development of creativity
  • the role of imagination in children's self-directed lives
  • the role of imagination in the construction of knowledge
  • domains of imaginative experience e.g. children's literature / role play / spiritual development / drawing and painting / music and musicality / children and the media

Independent study: investigating Practice (early years focus)
This module provides you with an opportunity to engage in independent study/practice investigation of an approved topic relevant to the programme and is  conducted under supervision with the prior approval of the Module Leader and Subject Coordinator.

Working with Children, Young People and their Families or Leadership in the Early Years

Leadership in the Early Years

  • the policy context for education and care in the early years
  • the financial modelling that shapes early years settings
  • theories of leadership, management and motivation
  • principles, values and the development of organisational cultures
  • defining and assuring high quality provision
  • managing for diverse cultures and needs
  • leading, building, maintaining and contributing to teams
  • self-evaluation and planning
  • continuing professional development

Working with Children, Young People and their Families

  • the policy background - social and educational inclusion
  • notions of children's well-being and vulnerability and rationales for intervention
  • managing complexity in services for children and families - having a view of the whole system
  • working with others - communication across professional boundaries
  • intervening in the lives of children and their families - ethical issues and practical challenges
  • evaluating specialist interventions

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Our teaching and learning methods are designed to promote constructive and critical reflection on practice and a range of theoretical and research issues. These include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • workshops.

Modules are structured to ensure you and other students have opportunities to draw on the knowledge and experience of each other. 


Assessment methods used on this course

Each module has an assignment of approximately 4,000 words.

An example of an indicative assessment is a report on an observational study of children working on a particular activity / experience, focusing on a selected child-development theme.


The School of Education is a thriving centre for educational research and teacher professional development. Students on master's level programmes therefore join a large research community comprising researchers at all levels of higher education study.

We hold two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. All students are invited to attend our annual Research

Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers). We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

The School’s six research groups exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Policy, Partnership and Leadership
  • STEAM pedagogy and learning
  • Humanistic Perspectives on Education
  • Early Years
  • Applied Linguistics

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After you graduate

Career prospects

This course is designed to support you in applying for roles in early years settings and can also be used as credit to build towards a full MA Childhood and Youth Studies or Education. Completion of the course shows a commitment to professional development in the early years sector and can lead to improved promotion prospects. 

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.