Top-up BA in Early Years (Honours)

The Open University

Program Description

Top-up BA in Early Years (Honours)

The Open University

Top-up BA in Early Years (Honours)

This pathway enables experienced practitioners with a Foundation Degree in Early Years to enhance their professional development by topping up to our BA (Honours) Early Years degree in just two years’ part time study. You’ll develop your critical understanding of early years practice and frameworks from ethical, social, legal, and political perspectives; and gain the knowledge and skills needed to work collaboratively and equitably within an integrated, interdisciplinary workforce.

Key features of the course

  • Matches the final stage (Stage 3) of our BA (Honours) Early Years (Q51) degree
  • Relevant to schools and early years settings following a UK/Republic of Ireland curriculum (taught in English)
  • Considered ‘full and relevant’ for the purposes of registration and regulation – which means you’ll count in the qualified ratio of staff at Level 3
  • Prepares you for further research, study, enquiry and practice

Educational aims

  • to develop and enhance theoretical, practice and research skills and knowledge about working with children and families in a wide range of settings
  • to develop your interdisciplinary research, knowledge and policy base underpinning multi-agency working.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding of children from birth to twelve and other age groups as part of contextualising your studies, developing interdisciplinary research, knowledge and policy base underpinning multi-agency working are developed through the main teaching materials and in-text questions, tasks and activities. The main teaching material is offered through supported open learning modules and includes module texts, audiovisual material, and directed reading. Summative assessment is by written tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and by end-of-module examinations where appropriate. Tutors support your development through online and telephone support, letters, tutorials, and written feedback on assignments.

Cognitive skills are assessed by module assignments. These will allow you to demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and reasoned argument and to critically analyse module issues. The Personal Development Plan and Work-based Learning Project will offer you the opportunity to demonstrate independent thinking skills; to demonstrate your understanding of theoretical concepts and the underpinning principles for practice as it applies to children, childhood and families in a work-based context, and to show evidence of reflective practice and to use appropriate methods of enquiry.

Key skills are promoted within learning materials and as part of continuous assessment. Assessment criteria of TMAs require you to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of formats. Learning skills focusing on use of information literacy, planning, self-assessment, identifying strengths and weaknesses, setting priorities and targets, and reviewing and reflecting are a feature of the Personal Development Plan, the general approach to key skills and of the Work-based Learning components. Team work and interdisciplinary and multi-agency working are fostered through work-based projects and case studies and by encouraging students to work together electronically. Assessment may include witness testimony from colleagues on contributions to team efforts. Use of information technology will be a requirement of the delivery and support process for the Work-based Learning components. Opportunities to develop personal ICT skills are a component of the Work-based Learning modules.

Professional skills are developed as part of:

  • an increased awareness and understanding of good practice
  • understanding the importance of information-sharing and developing critical analytical practice in relation to listening to children, promoting children’s well-being, and multi-agency working
  • supporting children’s learning and development by means of teaching materials and work-based reflective practice.

The assessment of practice skills is via module work and the Work-based Learning component of the degree and through the submission of assignments. This will include developing an appropriate approach to recording your development in relation to your work-based practice.


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 for study commencing in academic year 2014/2015 are:

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification currently starts from £2,632 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

How long does it take?

  • Part time – 2 years
  • Full time – 1 year
  • Time limit – 3 years

Career relevance

This degree is relevant to anyone working in schools or early years settings which follow a UK or Republic of Ireland curriculum, and which use English as the language of tuition – including British Forces schools and relevant settings in Europe.

Early years professionals work in many roles in group settings (such as nurseries and children's centres) and as home-based carers – playing a central role in children’s development from birth to five years. They also lead practice and support other practitioners.

Note: from September 2014, entrants in England to the BA (Hons) Early Years without a previously achieved Level 3 Early Years qualification will additionally require GCSE passes at ‘C’ or above in English and Maths for their degree be considered a ‘full and relevant’ qualification and to be able to count in Level 3 ratios.

Entry requirements

To be eligible for the top-up route to this degree, you must be an experienced early years practitioner and hold a Foundation Degree in Early Years (check your degree transcript) awarded within the last five years.

You will also need to be proficient in English, to an IELTS standard of 6.0. If you are unsure you will be able to take a free English test as part of the registration process.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated September 28, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
1 - 3 years
Part time
Full time
Contact school
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United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school