Children, Young People and Families
Years of Entry
Main Campus (Horsforth)
Study Mode
Full-time (1 year)

Course overview

Are you ready to progress in your career? Do you want to become a leader in an early years setting?

Our Professional Practice programme in Early Childhood Studies is a work-based learning Level 6 top-up degree.

It's designed to be studied on completion of a Foundation degree (or equivalent Level 5 qualification), in an area related to early years care and education and/or the support of children and families.

The Student Contract

About this course

You'll have the opportunity to develop your subject expertise by exploring contemporary issues in the care, education, health and welfare of young children and their families.

In the context of your own professional practice, you'll evaluate current debates, government strategies and initiatives.

Applying theory to practice, you'll undertake a range of work-based activities, including workplace analysis of the practices and models of management, teamwork, children's learning and experience.

You'll develop an understanding of the key issues related to ethical practice, as well as learn how to reflect critically on workplace practices in a professional fashion.

You'll receive extensive support throughout your studies, starting with a specially designed induction programme. We also encourage you to identify a workplace mentor who could support you with your studies and research.

You can complete this Professional Practice degree full-time or part-time alongside existing work commitments.

You can complete your degree full-time which will last one year and you'll attend one full day per week (Thursdays 9.00am - 6.00pm). There is an option to study part-time. Your degree will last two years and you'll attend half a day per week (mornings in the first year and afternoons in the second year).


Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner

Our BA (Hons) Professional Practice: Early Childhood Studies degree offers the opportunity to be recognised as an Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner through completion of Graduate Practitioner Competencies at Level 6.  

Developed by the national Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) and endorsed by the Department for Education, the Graduate Practitioner Competencies aim to strengthen the early childhood workforce and professional practice aspect of a degree.

The assessed practitioner competencies are embedded into the degree programme, leading to a Level 6 award that evidences a holistic understanding of Early Childhood development and the ability to apply, critically evaluate and communicate theoretical knowledge into practice.

Achieving practitioner status can help enhance your employability in the childhood studies sector or support you to progress to postgraduate study or higher-level professional roles.  

During your studies, you will work towards meeting nine competencies through assessed placement tasks, observations of practice and academic assignments. By the end of the competencies you must also hold Level 2 English and maths qualifications grade C or 4 or higher (or equivalent). Throughout your degree, clear goals will be agreed and monitored to achieve positive outcomes.

Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies:

  1. Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
  2. Promoting holistic development
  3. Working directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, wellbeing, safety and nurturing care
  4. Observing, listening and planning for young children to support their wellbeing, early learning, progression and transitions
  5. Safeguarding and child protection
  6. Inclusive practice
  7. Partnerships with parents and caregivers
  8. Collaborating with others
  9. Professional development

Successful completion of the competencies alongside your degree will result in an award of BA (Hons) Professional Practice: Early Childhood Studies degree with an Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC).

Course Modules

You will study a variety of modules across your programme of study. The module details given below are subject to change and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

Year 1

During your first year, you'll study four core modules.

Evaluating Current Debates and Developments (Core)

Critically explore current issues, developments, policies and approaches regarding children, young people and families, and evaluate the strategies available.

You'll critically assess the impact of leadership and management in your setting.

You'll explore how different events and issues influence the lives of children, young people and families.

You'll also contextualise contemporary controversies of modern childhood within historical perspectives.

You'll be introduced to emerging and novel controversies as they emerge in the news, media and current affairs, and you'll need to keep up to date with current affairs and developments in your area of expertise and practice.

Work-Related Project (Core)

In the first semester, you'll produce an ethics statement addressing ethical issues of your research, contextualised in a Research Design Brief.

You'll explore what you hope to study, formulate your proposed methodological approach and do a literature review.

The second semester is largely self-managed and work-based, with tutorials to support you.

You'll investigate an element of your own practice, gathering data, evaluating it and presenting your findings in the context of relevant theory and studies.

You'll also discuss your methodological approach.

You'll be expected to demonstrate an ability to analyse your reading in a Findings/Discussions section and report these in an appropriate format.

The Early Years Professional (Core)

Critically engage with the concept, principles, development and application of the professionalisation of the Early Years workforce.

We'll look at national and international socio-historical contexts, research findings, theoretical principles, government policy, key strategies, current national and ethical professional standards and policy and practice.

You'll evaluate your own experience and practice in the context of key themes and contemporary issues and anticipate future developments.

You'll justify the context and development of early years professional practice and critically assess the impact of leadership and management in the workplace.

Altogether this will enable you to meet the requirements of the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies.

Developing Through Play: Theoretical Perspectives (Core)

Develop your understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage and its impact on children's learning, and explore the effectiveness of the framework.

You'll discuss perspectives and theories related to early years education in the UK and globally.

You'll consider, in an ethical context, the issues relating to children's experiences in the early years relevant to transitions from home to school.

You'll explore contemporary and traditional theory and research.

Learning and Teaching

At Leeds Trinity we aim to provide an excellent student experience and provide you with the tools and support to help you achieve your academic, personal and professional potential.

Our Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy delivers excellence by providing the framework for:

  • high quality teaching
  • an engaging and inclusive approach to learning, assessment and achievement
  • a clear structure through which you progress in your academic studies, your personal development and towards professional-level employment or further study.

We have a strong reputation for developing student employability, supporting your development towards graduate employment, with relevant skills embedded throughout your programme of study.

We endeavour to develop curiosity, confidence, courage, ambition and aspiration in all students through the key themes in our Learning and Teaching Strategy:

  • Student Involvement and Engagement
  • Inclusion
  • Integrated Programme and Assessment Experience
  • Digital Literacy and Skills
  • Employability and Enterprise

To help you achieve your potential we emphasise learning as a collaborative process, with a range of student-led and real-world activities. This approach ensures that you fully engage in shaping your own learning, developing your critical thinking and reflective skills so that you can identify your own strengths and weaknesses, and use the extensive learning support system we offer to shape your own development.

We believe the secret to great learning and teaching is simple: it is about creating an inclusive learning experience that allows all students to thrive through:

  • Personalised support
  • Expert lecturers
  • Strong connections with employers
  • An international outlook
  • Understanding how to use tools and technology to support learning and development

Programme delivery

Your time on campus, learning through in-person teaching, is at the heart of your academic experience and the way we deliver our programmes. This is supported and further enhanced by additional engagement activities and opportunities provided online and through digital teaching materials. This blended approach seeks to ensure a positive learning and teaching student experience.

Your programme of study has been carefully designed around a three-phase model of delivery:

  1. Preparation: You will be given clear tasks to support you in preparing for live teaching. This could include watching a short-pre-recorded lecture, reading a paper or text chapter or preparing other material for use in class.
  2.  Live: All your live teaching will be designed around active learning, providing you with valuable opportunities to build on preparation tasks, interact with staff and peers, and surface any misunderstandings.
  3. Post: Follow-up activities will include opportunities for you to check understanding, for staff to receive feedback from you and your peers to inform subsequent sessions, and for you to apply learning to new situations or context.

Preparation, Live and Post teaching and learning and the digital materials used will vary by course, but will be designed to help you structure your learning, take a full and active part in your course, and apply and test your developing knowledge and skills.


A variety of assessment methods are used, matched to the learning outcomes for your programme, allowing you to apply and demonstrate the full range of knowledge and skills that you have developed.

For more details on specific assessment methods for this course contact

Entry Requirements

Leeds Trinity University is committed to recruiting students with talent and potential and who we feel will benefit greatly from their academic and non-academic experiences here. We treat every application on its own merits; we value highly the experience you illustrate in your personal statement.

Information about the large range of qualifications we accept, including A-Levels, BTECs and T Levels, can be found on our entry requirements page. If you need additional advice or are taking qualifications that are not covered in the information supplied, please contact our Admissions Office.

For our Professional Practice degrees, you must have:

  • a Foundation degree in a relevant area or equivalent Level 5 qualification
  • GCSE English Language or English Literature at Grade C or 4 or above (or accepted equivalent such as level 2 Functional Skills in English)
  • Support from your workplace to join the programme and a written reference from your employer which will also confirm whether you already have a DBS check

This course is not available to students on a Student Route Visa.

Fees and finance


UK Home Students:

Tuition fees cost £9,250 a year for this course in 2023/2024.

Part-time tuition fees will be prorated accordingly to the number of credits you're studying.

Depending on government policy, tuition fees may change in future years.

Leeds Trinity offers a range of bursaries and scholarships to help support students while you study.

Additional costs

We advise students that there may be additional course costs in addition to annual tuition fees. These include:

  • Books - recommended and required reading lists will be provided at the start of your course. All the books and e-books are available from our Library to borrow but you may choose to purchase your own.
  • Print costs - the University provides students with a £6 printing credit each academic year which can be topped up either on campus or online.

How to apply

Download the application form below and return it, along with your references and copies of your qualifications, to:

Admissions Team
Leeds Trinity University
LS18 5HD

The admissions team will acknowledge receipt of your application, and aim to make a decision within two weeks of receiving your application.

If you've been made an offer, you'll need to accept or decline by emailing

There is no official closing date for applications, but the course will be closed when it is full. We therefore encourage you to make your application as early as possible.

Please ensure you complete the application form in full and supply all the required supporting documentation when you make your initial application. Incomplete applications may be rejected.

If you need advice on your application, please contact our admissions team on 0113 283 7123 (Monday to Thursday, 9.00am to 5.00pm, or Friday 9.00am to 4.00pm) or

Download Professional Practice degree application form 2023

The friendly atmosphere, flexible arrangements, availability of resources and face-to-face time with tutors enabled me to grow from a practitioner into a professional as well as academically as a writer and a researcher.  I’ve gained new knowledge and skills, higher self-esteem and most of all a unique professional identity.

Michaela Tucimova
Lead SEN Teaching Assistant in a Primary School, Professional Practice: Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) graduate

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