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Access to Higher Education Diploma (Early Years Education)

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Early Years Education)

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If you have a passion for helping young people grow and flourish, a career in early years education may be right for you. Whether you are just about to enter the education field or you are already working in a support role in a school or other educational establishment and want to further your career, the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Early Education) can be a great milestone towards achieving your goal.

This diploma will allow you to apply for university courses such as BA in Early Childhood Studies or similar. There is always a need for early childchood educators. The range of careers in early education includes (but is not limited to) working as an early years teacher (daycare, preschool, primary school teaching), a special education teacher or intervention specialist. You can also become an early education consultant or content developer. For more information see the ‘Careers’ tab.

Cambridge Online Education wants you to succeed in every aspect and at each stage of your pathway towards your new career. Therefore, our modules combine study and writing skills needed for university, traditional content and skills that will give you an understanding of various aspects of classroom teaching and the role of a teacher, and above that, content and skills that can lead you to alternative careers in early education. For more information on what you will cover, see the ‘Modules’ tab.

This Online Early Years Education Course at a Glance

  • 100% online learning for adults
  • No qualifications necessary to apply
  • Flexible - learn in your own time around work and family
  • Flexible payments - interest-free monthly payments over 1 year 
  • One-to-one tutor support at mutually convenient times
  • Go to university without A Levels
  • Gain crucial knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence
  • Assessed through end-of-unit assignments - NO EXAMS 
  • Equivalent level to those of other level 3 qualifications, such as A Levels
  • Complete in 1 year or less

    Education Provider: Cambridge Online Education - established 2002

    Accredited by: Aim Qualifications and Assessment Group

    Regulated by: Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)



    Course Outline

    The Access to HE Diploma is a full Level 3 qualification designed to prepare learners without traditional qualifications for entry into Higher Education (HE). The Diploma provides opportunity for learners to acquire and develop knowledge and skills needed to progress to higher education study and also enables learners to develop social and emotional skills such as communication and confidence.


    To achieve the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Early Years Education) Ref. 400/1037/5 learners must achieve:

    • 45 credits which must be graded, academic subject content at Level 3 only, 
    • 15 credits which must be either at Level 2 or Level 3 ungraded (U).

    The following are the unit titles for this Diploma:

    • Preparing To Study (U)
    • English Language Skills (U)
    • Academic Writing Skills
    • Roles, Responsibilities & Relationships in Education
    • Sociology of the Family
    • The Developing Child
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Play
    • An Introduction to Planning for Classroom Teaching
    • Presentation Graphics (U)
    • Communication and Practice in the Classroom
    • Managing Behaviour in the Classroom
    • Influences on Educational Achievement
    • Intelligence
    • Disability and Special Education Needs
    • Safeguarding in Education
    • Education in Practice
    • Placement Experience - Classroom Skills
    • Progressing to Higher Education (U) 

    Enrolment Requirements

    There are no formal entry requirements for students applying for the Cambridge Online Education Access to H.E. Diplomas. Tutors are nevertheless, required to ensure that learners admitted onto the Diploma possess the necessary skills and personal qualities to cope with the demands of the course.


    All Access to HE Diplomas require the achievement of 60 credits. 45 of the 60 credits must be graded at Level 3 (pass, merit or distinction). Such credits will arise from the Academic Subject Content Modules. The remaining 15 credits are ungraded and can be achieved at either Level 2 or Level 3. Students may only be registered against units with a maximum combined total credit value of 60. In terms of the length of time required for a learner to complete their diploma, for all Access to HE Diplomas the notional learning hours are 600. Notional learning hours comprise all learning that may be relevant to the achievement of the learning outcomes including directed and private study, practical and project work, assignments and assessment time. The assessment methods used for each unit of your course will be detailed in the Programme Handbook. Your tutor will provide you with formative feedback and provisional grades. Your grades will be then evaluated by the Examination Board. Final grades will be released to students after the External Moderation Visit.


    On successful completion of the course, you will receive a QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma (Early Years Education) at level 3 awarded by the Aim Qualifications and Assessment Group.

    Aim Qualifications and Assessment Group are a national Awarding Organisation, regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and Qualifications Wales, to develop and award nationally recognised qualifications. Cambridge Online Education is a fully accredited education provider for this qualification


    There are many different careers in early education, from classroom teaching to working in the business world. You can become:

    • Daycare Teacher
    • Preschool Teacher
    • Primary School Teacher
    • Early Education
    • Special Educational Needs Teacher
    • An after-school program or a camp director,
    • Curriculum designer
    • Educational content developer in early education

    Careers in education are versatile and seem to be endless. With a degree in Early Education, you can try different options before finding your passion. It is up to you where you want your degree to take you, and what will best suit your personal and professional abilities, skills and desires. As different universities have different entry requirements, you are strongly advised to check these requirements with your chosen tertiary education provider. You can contact our career advisers for further guidance and support in that matter.

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    Meet your expert friendly tutor

    Tiffany's Story

    I've always loved kids and enjoyed watching their faces light up when they discover new things - so amazing! I got distracted when I was at school and didn't get to do A Levels unfortunately. The Access Diploma is giving me a second chance and I'm grabbing it with both hands. I'm on track now to get the career I know is right for me!

    FAQ Education


    Will I be able to apply to university with this Access Course?

    Yes, our students get accepted to universities across the UK.

    My chosen university course requires specific units that are not on your list. Can you help me with that?

    Yes. We can individualise your modules. Contact us directly.

    Will I be able to cope once at the university?

    Yes, we will teach you how to write at an academic level, how to do independent research, how to reference your work etc. By the end of the course, you will be able to manage academically when at uni.

    Which university courses can I apply to?

    In general, all courses related to education. However, this diploma will also include degrees which are subject specific before you take on Teacher Training, ie; courses such as Mathematics, English Studies, Science degrees, Languages, History etc.

    Check with your chosen university about the required units if you would like to take a specific pathway, or speak with us and we can find out for you.


    Which Education pathway should I choose?

    It depends on what do you want to do after. If you have passion for a particular subject, e.g. science, then choose this pathway. You can then become a secondary school teacher of a specific subject.

    If you would like to work in education not as a subject specific teacher but as e.g. special educational needs teacher, school counselor, curriculum designeror educational content developer, then choose the general education pathway.

    Do I need to decide the Pathway I take before I join?

    No, you will be doing several general units with all Education students first, so this can give you time to decide with pathway you would like to take for the second phase of your course.

    What if I change my mind on the Pathway part way through?

    You will be able to discuss this with your tutor and swap units that better suit your Diploma outcome if things evolve. Soon as you are entered with the examining body you will have set unit credits to complete, but we will be as flexible as possible and ensure you end up with the best possible outcome for you throughout your course.


    Who are the tutors?

    Each pathway has a dedicated tutor who is a specialist in their field.

    Our tutors are qualified subject professionals with extensive work experience in their respective fields. They will support you with applying for University and be able to give you specific direction and opportunities in the pathway you choose.

    Dr. Martyna Elerian is the Education lead and has written many publications relating to Education. Her biography is available on our website. You can also read her content in our blog.

    Who can I contact if I have questions?

    You can contact our support team and speak with an Education tutor at any time:

    Tel: +44 (0) 1223 92 6822