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Higher Education in Early Years Professional Practice, Certificate

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
University rank #501 (WUR) Online
If you currently work with young children from birth to seven years, or are interested in learning more about young children’s lives and experiences, this certificate could be what you’re looking for. The Higher Education in Early Years Professional Practice course is offered at The Open University UK.


Combining academic study and practice experience this Certificate of Higher Education in Early Childhood prepares you to engage with further study as a foundation for careers working with young children and their families across all sectors.

Key features of the course

  • Relevant for anyone interested in young children’s learning and developing including practitioners currently working in early years settings or those wanting a career working with children from birth to seven years
  • Includes national and international perspectives on early childhood with a focus on the central importance of children’s voices and the participatory nature of young children’s experiences
  • Develops your understanding of young children’s learning and development
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study.

Career relevance

This CertHE is relevant for existing early years practitioners (normally with an NQF Level 3/SQF Level 6 early years qualification in England) or those interested in finding out more about young children’s learning and development. It provides a foundation for entry to a range of careers working with and for young children and their families. It is also suitable for those wanting to move into careers in teaching, health or social work.

England only: please note if a Level 3 early years qualification is not held on entry, this course is not deemed ‘full and relevant’ to enable you to count in the staff:child ratios at Level 3.

Scotland only: please note that this course does not lead to registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) as a day care of children services worker (support worker or practitioner).

GCSE passes at Grade C or above in English and Maths are normally required for post-graduate study and for teaching a GCSE Grade C pass in Science is also a requirement.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Part-time
    • Average part-time duration 12 months
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Part-time variant
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    • Time flexibility
      Fully structured
    • Attendance
      Exams and graduation only
    • Teacher support
      Continuous support with feedback on request

Programme Structure

You’ll develop an understanding of early childhood from a range of perspectives examining how children grow, develop and learn throughout childhood. Drawing on theory and research, you’ll consider how children’s learning experiences are nurtured and supported and the different approaches to understanding and documenting children’s experiences. Your study in this stage concludes with a specific focus on young children’s play and creativity within the context of the family and early childhood settings. There is no assessment of practice but gaining direct practice experience with young children will enhance learning and is strongly encouraged throughout.

Courses included

  • Exploring perspectives on young children's lives and learning
  • Young children's play and creativity

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more

Academic Requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.

You do not need to be with young children in order to study this qualification, however in both core practice-focused modules it is strongly recommended students gain direct experience with young children (birth to 7 years, 11 months).

Students not working with young children (employed or in a voluntary capacity) will need to negotiate opportunities to gain such practical experience. It is your responsibility and that of your employer – not the OU’s - to ensure the necessary Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (or equivalent if not working in England) required for the setting and country in which you’re working is obtained and that you meet the ‘fit person’ criteria for work with young children. You should contact the relevant agency in your country for more information if you are in any doubt about your eligibility or to find out more.

Work Experience

At least 1 year(s) of work experience are required.

You must be a current practitioner (paid or voluntary) with at least six months full-time or 12 months part-time experience of working with young children in a registered early years setting – or an experienced practitioner with at least three years full-time or five years part-time experience in a registered early years setting if you plan to study the APEL (accreditation of prior experiential learning) version of the first module

Getting a Student Visa

This is an online programme. You can attend from the comfort of your chair! So you don't need a student visa!

Tuition Fee

  • International

    5728 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 5728 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA

    5728 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 5728 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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