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BAChildhood Practice

Why this course?

This degree matches the Standard for Childhood Practice in Scotland and is designed to develop degree-level professionals and future leaders in the sector. Work based learning is a major and central feature of the course.

The degree is a part-time programme and modules can be delivered in two ways:

  • traditional sessions with tutors one evening per week from 6 to 9 pm and occasional Saturdays
  • a blend of e-learning, using a virtual learning environment, and group instruction (Honours year)

The course structure is divided according to the three main aspects of professional development, as outlined in the Scottish Social Services Council document - The Standard for Childhood Practice (2007).

Our teaching team provides expertise in the design and delivery of the course, ensuring specialist teaching in each module. Individual student support is also available from named members of the team.

What you’ll study

Core modules provide you with a sound theoretical knowledge, underpinning the issues for the wide age range of children from birth to 16 years.

The course takes a holistic view of children’s development, learning and well-being. It covers areas such as:

  • protecting and caring for children
  • working with parents and carers, families, communities and other agencies
  • developing practice in the leadership of others which is informed by an understanding of children and of childhood
  • developing knowledge and understanding of relevant organisational frameworks
  • developing a critical understanding of policies, practices and legal requirements relevant to the service
  • developing understanding in how young children learn and develop

Work placement

All prospective students should be employed in a childhood practice setting in line with SSSC guidelines.

Postgraduate study 

This course may lead to studying for a Masters in Early Years Pedagogy.

Course content

Phase 1

Level 8

Contemporary Childhood: a Sociological Exploration
This module aims to develop students' awareness and understanding of contemporary childhood and to evaluate the contribution of parents, carers, families, communities and services to children's childhoods. It will provide a sociological exploration of childhood in Scotland today from an ecological perspective.
Academic Literacy, Communication & Professional Values

The transition to degree level study can present many challenges in studying independently and communicating effectively. In a context of increasing integration of care and education services, and play work provision, workers are coming into contact with a wider range of professionals. Appropriate communication is extremely important in these situations.

This module seeks to enhance students' range of oral, written and electronic communication skills in a range of contexts and situations. This is so they can take full advantage of the learning opportunities on the course and become more effective communicators.

A Child's World: Experiences in Learning Environments

This module will develop an awareness of how children experience learning environments. The central idea running throughout the module is an exploration of the ecological environment from the perspective of the child. It focuses on children's agency in contributing to their experiences by considering the ways that children can interact with resources and space while using their own creativity to develop playful learning experiences.

Phase 2

Level 8

Playful Pedagogies: Children as Thinkers

This module will investigate the significance of play to children's thinking and to the development of positive learning dispositions for children of all ages. The ways in which pedagogical practices shape the play experiences of children in a variety of settings will be explored. The influence of culture on play repertoires will be considered, including play experiences in families and communities.

Emotional & Social Development: Foundations for Learning & Health

This module will introduce emotional and social development in children, examining contemporary theory and research in psychology, biology, and neuroscience.

It will present a coherent account of the developing society and affective mind of young persons as the foundations for conceptual and cognitive developments made in learned participation with attuned and caring others.

Children's Emotional & Social Development: Foundations for Learning & Health

This module will introduce observation of children in the workplace setting with particular focus on their emotional and social development. This will give the practical aspect for learning and understanding the emotional, social, and cognitive development of young children, as well as one's practical work with the children and their families and communities.

Contemporary theory and research in psychology, biology, and neuroscience presented in the companion module, "Children's Emotional and Social Development: Foundations for learning and health", will be reflected on with in-depth observations carried out in the workplace and discussed in small group sessions in tutorials.

Phase 3

Level 9

Children's Rights & Working in Multi-Professional Teams

Students will explore the issues and difficulties of multi­ professional working practices with reference to contemporary research.

Students will also explore the background, underpinning principles and content of the UNCRC. They'll have opportunities to consider a number of issues raised by both the requirements of the UNCRC and of subsequent policy and legislation in order to develop an informed and reflective approach to complex situations and ethical dilemmas, and to critically evaluate their own practice.

Managing & Supporting Children as Active Learners

This module aims to develop student's knowledge, understanding and key management skills of the adult's role in promoting and extending children's learning through active participation and responsive planning.

It will provide a professional, theoretical context in which to formalise and extend existing good practice as well as to develop new innovative practice in supporting children's active learning.

Leadership & Management Including Issues of Quality

This module will explore the relationship between leadership, management and quality. It will encourage students to assess their own knowledge skills and abilities and to look at the ways in which they can support and foster the development of leadership in others within their establishment teams.

Phase 4

Level 9

Leading Innovation & Change

This module is designed to enable childcare practitioners to meet the Childhood Practice Standard. The Standard covers the professional actions which lead practitioners are expected to undertake and underpinning three essential elements:

  1. professional values & personal commitment
  2. professional knowledge and understanding
  3. professional skills and abilities
Leading People: Managing the Professional Self & Others

The SSSC framework outlines the requirement for lead practitioners to undertake degree level education. A leader should show capability across all areas of management, including, policy, pedagogy, resources, people and self-management.

In Year 3 the BACP will have explored the management and leadership of quality and pedagogy. Year 4 will extend this to examine effective leadership by practitioners at all levels of working teams.

Exploring Research Methods in Childhood Practice

Enquiry led and evidence based approaches to professional development and practice are essential in creating a skilled early years workforce that requires professionals to develop the capacity and infrastructure to provide the highest quality care for our young children. Fundamental research skills and knowledge underpin this process.

Planning an effective workplace development requires consideration of key purposes, desired outcomes, key processes and an effective action plan.

This module will provide a structured approach to evaluating and comparing methods to practitioner research. Ultimately, through developing these skills, the students will enhance their professionalism while working in multidisciplinary teams. The students will deal with ethical considerations and issues in accordance with professional ethical codes (national, local and university).

Learning & teaching

The degree is a part-time programme. There are two ways to study for each module:

  • traditional sessions with tutors one evening per week from 6-9pm and occasional Saturdays
  • a blend of e-learning, using a virtual learning environment and group instruction (hons year)

A multidisciplinary lecturing team provides expertise in the design and delivery of the course, ensuring specialist teaching in each module. Individual student support is also available from named members of the team. 

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Application is direct to the University.

Candidates should be employed in registered care and educational services or work with children and families in a variety of non-statutory school contexts (minimum two years experience).

Year 1 entry: HNC Child Care and Education, 120 SCQF level 7 credits in a relevant subject or HNC Early Education and Childcare, SNNEB or relevant qualifications accepted by the Scottish Social Services Council as suitable for registration at practitioner level plus a learning portfolio matching competencies to the Standard for Childhood Practice

Accelerated entry may be offered for candidates who have 180 credits at level 7 or 240 SQCF credits with 120 credits at level 8

Accelerated entry to level 9 can be offered for candidates who have additional qualifications at SCQF level 8

Accelerated entry to level 10 (Honours) can be offered for candidates who have BA Childhood Practice level 9

Additional Information

  • All applicants should be eligible forregistration at practitioner level with the Scottish Services Council
  • Opportunities for the Accreditation of Prior Learning (eg PDA) are available
  • Application forms and Learning Statements are available from the course administrator

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • Part-time: £1,000
Rest of UK
  • Part-time: £2,200
  • Part-time: £7,600

University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

Students from Scotland and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

International Students (Non UK, EEA)

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Available scholarships

We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.


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 this course, you’ll have gained the confidence and understanding to put your professional expertise into practice and gain promotion or a challenging and exciting career change.

Where are they now?

88% of our graduates are in work or further study*

Recent job titles include:

  • Child Development Officer
  • Creche Officer
  • Deputy Manager of Nursery
  • Early Years Education Officer
  • Head of Nursery
  • Nursery Officer
  • Senior Early Years Worker
  • Senior Teacher
  • Team Leader in Early Years

Recent employers include:

  • Local Authorities
  • Private Nurseries

*Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education.

Contact us


Applications are now closed for September 2018 entry. Applications for September 2019 entry will open in October 2018.

The programme is available to early years and childcare workers, working in a wide range of settings, and employed anywhere across both urban and rural Scotland. Admission is only available to applicants who are eligible for registration as Early Years and Childcare Practitioners with the Scottish Social Services Council. Applicants must have therefore gained appropriate early years and/or childcare qualifications at level 7 on the SCQ Framework for entry to the course. For example, an HNC in Early Years and Childcare. Applicants holding such qualifications are deemed to have completed the equivalent of the first year of an ordinary degree and start in the equivalent of second year.

Applicants who already hold a qualification equivalent to Level 8 (i.e. HND-equivalent level) can claim direct entry into level 9 of the BA degree qualification. That level will consist of six modules of study which are provisionally identified as:

  • Issues in Promoting Children's Rights and Inclusion
  • Managing and Leading Quality Services
  • Current Issues
  • Coordination, Partnership and Integration in Childhood Practice
  • Developing a Work-based Project
  • Managing a Work-based Project

This is equivalent to the 3rd year curriculum of a full-time Bachelors degree, but it will actually be delivered through part-time study which might typically be overtaken in two years. All of the modules, but most significantly the work-based project, will have a heavy emphasis on work-based learning as well as academic learning. Applicants seeking to enter at level 9 will receive tutorial support in creating a portfolio of evidence of prior learning, to submit for advanced entry.

Additionally, for those with the relevant experience but without formal qualifications, there will be mechanisms for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

The Course Structure is divided according to the three main aspects of professional development as outlined in the Scottish Social Services Council document "The Standard For Childhood Practice" (2007).

Download application form

Please return completed applications to or by post to:

University of Strathclyde
School of Education
Lord Hope Building
141 St James Road
G4 0LT

Further information can be obtained from:

Kirsteen O’Neil
BA Childhood Studies Administrator

+44 (0) 141 444 8016

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