• For Entry: August
  • Duration: 2-5 years
  • School: Education & Social Work

Online courses to meet the continuing professional development (CPD) of childhood professionals working with young people 0-16 within all sectors of provision.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Our part-time distance learning courses allow you to gain an academic and professional qualification whilst remaining in employment. Our students continue to work with children and families across a range of settings. The focus is on applying theory to practice. You are therefore required to be in relevant employment, as elements of the course will include assessment of professional skills.

You will develop knowledge, skills and attitudes to become an innovative, reflective and enquiring professional. You will improve your leadership skills and, through informed collaborative professional action, ensure better outcomes for children. You will also gain an understanding of pedagogy and leading learning. The courses are matched to meet the needs of childhood professionals nationally and internationally.

BA Childhood Practice graduates are eligible to register as a manager/lead practitioner with Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). BA Childhood Studies graduates have a professional qualification endorsed by the University of Dundee.


What our students say

"I am a much more confident manager and leader. I have improved the direction and vision for a better future for my setting."
Nursery Manager


"I am now more ready and willing to put reflection into action within my workplace as I can see the benefits that come out of it."
Early Years Officer


"The course has a direct impact on our service recently gaining all ‘excellent’ grades in a recent Care Inspectorate inspection."
Current Student

The BA Childhood Practice and Childhood Studies will give you the opportunity to develop your professionalism and leadership skills while you continue to work with young people from 0 - 16 years. The courses include theories and principles of childhood.

As you study, you will become more confident to articulate and revisit your own values base, identifying how this may affect your professional practice and thinking. You will use workplace based activities as the foundation for academic study. The courses are designed as a framework for you to develop, challenge and reflect upon your own values, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and skills. Through professional development, it is believed that higher quality practice will be recognised and valued. 

"Now have the knowledge to conduct research, action planning, data gathering and analysis, evaluation and reflection. I now use these skills within many aspects of my role."

Current Student

Our students particularly value that:

  • staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching
  • the course helps them to build confidence
  • the programmes of study are intellectually stimulating
  • communication skills are strengthened and developed

The Childhood Practice team constantly strive to ensure the best possible learning experience. We are grateful to the students who have taken the time to evaluate the courses and provide such positive feedback. The engagement of the students and the views and opinions they share are valued and listened to when course developments are planned. 

MyDundee provides a logical, user-friendly way to learn, allowing you to fit your studies around your professional and personal commitments. You will be part of a vibrant Childhood Practice Community where practice, resources and learning are shared.

"There is an extensive amount of information available, opportunities to share practice and communicate with others. The website is very easy to navigate." 

Current student

  • You will be part of an online learning community with the flexibility to choose where and when you study.
  • High quality research and teaching will improve your critical reflection on practice.
  • Tutors will provide support tailored to your individual needs.
  • Relevant to your current work based role with activities designed to inform your practice.

I have become a reflective lead practitioner, who enjoys working together with my team to provide creative approaches to learning. I am now involved in dissemination and sharing knowledge with the wider childcare workforce in my area."

Previous Student

"By engaging in theory and practice I formulated a synthesis: a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion and a meaning for each that is contextually relevant... I now have a solid foundation from which to build upon in the future and from which to continue inclusive partnerships with children, families and colleagues."

Current Student

A career in Early Learning and Childcare is now a very challenging ambitious role but a very rewarding one. The BA in Childhood Practice Programme was a real turning point in my own career. While I managed in my role for many years, this provided me with the knowledge, skills and confidence to progress onto far more effective leadership and be able to work in collaboration and partnership with everyone involved. I developed a very particular set of skills in evaluation which has been the most valuable tool to me, being able to take a closer look at our work and truly understand the direction we need to travel in to provide the highest quality service we can for our children and families.  

I have shared my knowledge and skills to motivate, support and inspire others and build a professional team who now willingly engage in reflection, undertake research, training and embrace change to improve their practice. The programme has lots to offer anyone working in our profession from a deeper understanding of pedagogy and play, to how to organise and manage time and workloads far more effectively.

Completing the BA Childhood Practice was a real achievement for me both personally and professionally, I would most definitely recommend it!

Claire Gemmell
Nursery Manager

YouTube Poster Image (Cached)

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

The content of this course is underpinned by the Standard for Childhood Practice (2015) specified by the Scottish Government, Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

You will follow a modular online programme. The modules encourage you reflect upon your learning in relation to theory and apply your new knowledge and understanding to your practice within the workplace setting. By engaging actively with the module content, you are encouraged to challenge the values and assumptions that inform your professional practice and make a difference to the quality of the service offered.

How you will be taught

The learning and teaching approaches are designed for those studying part-time by distance learning. To facilitate this demanding mode of study we are using a blended learning approach, which makes use of interactive online learning, telephone and face-to-face tutorials, optional workshops, webinars and written feedback.

  • Work based learning is a central feature of the course
  • Blended learning approach
  • Online modules
  • Online, telephone and face to face tutorials
  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Webinars and blogs
  • Talks by invited speakers

You will be encouraged to work collaboratively in small cohorts with other students studying the same module.


My Dundee - our online learning tool

We have designed My Dundee in a logical, user-friendly way to encourage deep level thinking and engagement. Scholarly activity is easy to foster on My Dundee with its instant access to resources. My Dundee provides an excellent communication channel for online engagement and discussion to form a community of learners.

Being a distance learning student, I was nervous and worried about how I would manage with the course, particularly with not attending set class days and using the online systems. The University has been great and the tutor support is fantastic! There is also the help and support from the webinars and the online community in the form of course and module blogs for students to chat and post questions as well as tutor guidance. I highly recommend the course and do not know what I was so worried about. It has changed my practice and made me a far better manager.

Current Student

Workshops are provided predominantly on the Dundee campus, but we will continue to provide workshops for cohorts as requested by local authorities or external stakeholders. For participants working at a distance workshop materials will be available online.

Attending workshops and building in peer learning support through blogs and webinars are just some of the methods used to make learning more meaningful and less isolating. We want you to feel part of a community of learners sharing expertise and experiences.

An interactive online mode of learning is considered an effective method for distance learners. It is important that you become a successful learner and we have designed our online learning tool My Dundee in a logical, user-friendly way to encourage deep level thinking and engagement. Scholarly activity is easy to foster on My Dundee with its instant access to resources. My Dundee provides an excellent communication channel for online engagement and discussion to form a community of learners.

How will you be assessed

  • Reflective and critical essays
  • Case studies and scenarios
  • Audits of practice
  • Poster presentations
  • Production of a journal article through action research

There is one summative assessment per module in the form of a written assignment. You also need to provide evidence of work based learning.

The overall word length of an assignment for a module is:

SCQF Level 7 modules:            

  • Assignments - 2000 words plus appendices
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) modules (20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 credits) - 2500 words plus appendices

SCQF Level 8 modules:     

  • Assignments - 2000 words plus appendices
  • Literature Review - 2500 words plus appendices

SCQF Level 9 modules:

  • Assignments (30 credits) - 3000 words plus appendices.
  • Action Research (60 credits) - 6000 words plus appendices

There is a 10% plus or minus margin for word count.

What you will study

Childhood Practice BA /Childhood Studies BA Modular Course Structure

The course has three SCQF Levels: the certificate (Level 7), the diploma (Level 8) and the degree (Level 9). You may complete one/two modules at Level 7; 6 [20] credit modules at Level 8 and 2 [30] credit modules and 1 [60] credit module at Level 9.

PD10040 Personal Learning and Professional Development in Childhood Practice

It will help and encourage students to develop effective study skills and strategies and for lifelong learning for continuing professional development. Students will consider what it means to be a professional: identifying study strengths and how to build on them; identifying developmental needs and how to meet them; identifying support systems and how to use them effectively and reflecting on general learning about approaches to study.

Recognition of Prior Informal Learning: RPL 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100

The RPL modules are designed to award credit to students with prior relevant qualifications and experience of working in a childcare setting. Students are required to demonstrate current knowledge, understanding and practical application. The assessment is a reflective account linking literature to practice.

SCQF 8 Modules

BA20050 Children’s Health and Well Being

In completing this module students will develop knowledge, skills and attitudes which enable a more effective response to support children’s health and wellbeing. They will develop their ability to provide support, due to an increased understanding of the needs of children and their families. The module will also develop the student’s ability to use observation to create a holistic view of the child or young person, in connection with their health and wellbeing.

PD20057 Leading Learning

This module explores a holistic perspective on well-being, development and learning, play and learning and pedagogical strategies. Students will explore the role of the educator in leading learning taking a closer look at planning and assessing within the student’s context and what it means within a curricular framework. Knowledge and understanding of current policies at local, national and international levels along with relevant developmental theories, play and pedagogy will be central to the discussion.

PD20056 Creativity and Self-Expression

This module aims to support students in understanding the importance of creativity and self-expression in a child’s development and learning. International educational approaches to creativity, which empower children to learn through enquiry, expression, imagination and curiosity will be explored.

PD20055 Children and Society

As traditional views of childhood are being challenged, families and communities are changing under societal influence; therefore it is important that practitioners consider their views on the child as an active participant in social relationships and learning. Students are required to be knowledgeable about new and post-modern perspectives on childhood. Students need to evaluate the impact of society and culture on the child and their own values, attitudes and principles in practice.

BA20059 Diversity and Inclusion

This module explores the key concepts of diversity, equality and inclusion. Students will also explore these in relation to key strategy policies and processes, reflecting on their implementation in the setting.

BA20065 Literature Review on Transitions

The module will focus on the aspect of transitions and will develop a question on this topic. Students will then undertake a review of the literature which would inform research based upon a research question. As a culmination of studies at Level 8 students will be required to apply all they have learned about critical reflection and analysis.

SCQF 9 Modules

BA30057 Pedagogical Perspectives

Students are supported to develop knowledge and understanding of pedagogy, pedagogical strategies and themes. The module enables students to consider in depth how pedagogical practices draw on understanding about how children learn and the way in which the learner is construed. Consideration will be given to what is understood by the term pedagogy along with demonstrating its role in facilitating learning.

PD30076 Managing and Leading Quality Effectiveness

Monitoring and self-evaluation are key management tasks. All members of children’s settings have a role to play in managing the quality and effectiveness of that institution, irrespective of whether they are managers or practitioners. In order to meet the demands for improved quality and standards, professionals need to have an understanding of quality issues, and to have ways of monitoring and evaluating their work. Having a knowledge and understanding of what constitutes an appropriate curriculum and how this is managed is a vital part of this.

BA30083 Action Research

This 60 credit research module allows students to develop their theoretical and practical understanding and to plan an action research project. Students will show their ability to work collaboratively, choosing an area of practice within a professional setting, which could be improved through action research. Students will analyse, evaluate and summarise relevant literature using appropriate research methods.

Both the BA Childhood Practice and BA Childhood Studies are widely recognised as high quality leadership and management professional qualifications. They are designed to develop degree-level professionals and future leaders in the sector.

The BA in Childhood Practice aims to meet the developing professional needs of the Early Years and Childcare Workforce. The Scottish Government has made this area of study a national priority by calling for a dramatic increase in the number of qualified Childhood Practice managers.

By the time you graduate from the BACP or BACS, you will have gained the confidence and understanding to put your professional expertise into practice and gain promotion or a challenging new career.

Recent job titles include:

  • Child Development Officer
  • Nursery Manager
  • Manager of Out of School Care
  • College Lecturer in Early Years
  • Team Leader in Early Years
  • Nursery Officer
  • Senior Early Years Worker
  • Early Years Education Officer
  • Roles in Local and National Childcare Initiatives

On completion of your degree you could:

  • apply for postgraduate training as a teacher
  • progress to the MEd with exit points at each level e.g. PG Nursery/Early Education
  • use the BA Childhood Practice or BA Childhood Studies as an entry qualification for further study within the University or in other Higher Education Institutions.

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

You need to have at least 2 years consistent work experience, working with children and young people 0-16 years in an appropriate setting with a relevant professional practice qualification, for example:

  • SVQ3 in Early Years, or SVQ3 in Children's Care Learning and Development, or SVQ 3 Playwork, or NNEB allows entry to SCQF Level 7
  • HNC in Childhood Practice, Childcare and Education, or Early Education and Childcare allows entry to SCQF Level 7/8
  • HND in Childhood Practice allows entry to SCQF Level 9
  • Other relevant professional qualifications will be considered for access to BA Childhood Studies.

All BA Childhood Practice applicants must be eligible for registration at practitioner level with the Scottish Social Services Council.

The courses have flexible entry and exit points allowing you to enter at a level appropriate to your level of education and experience.

DegreeLength of studyLevel of study
(based on SCQF)
Completion of first level if required 6 months SCQF 7
Undergraduate Diploma 1-2 years SCQF 8
BA Degree 2-4.5 years SCQF 9

You are encouraged to seek credit for previous formal learning and for experience. Accreditation for Prior Learning is available up to a maximum credit of normally 180 points. HND Childhood Practice is 240 points.

Students on this course are regularly supported by SAAS part-time grant through Student Awards Agency Scotland.

Please send your fully completed SAAS form with any supporting documentation and a stamped addressed envelope to:

School Office Assistant, BA Childhood Practice,
School of Education & Social Work
OMS Building, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fees for students starting 2018/19

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2018/19
Scottish and EU students £1,250 per 60 credits
Rest of UK students £1,250 per 60 credits
Overseas students (non-EU) £4,000 per 60 credits

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

Although this is an Undergraduate distance learning course, for operational reasons we run applications through UCAS Postgraduate.

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the how to apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course code
Apply nowChildhood Practice BAP060400
Apply nowChildhood Studies BAP060402