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The School of Early Years has a successful reputation for delivering high quality higher education.

93% of UWTSD students at the School of Early Years were satisfied with their overall experience - NSS 2016.

 

The lecturers have a diverse range of expertise from previous careers including those who have worked as nursery and primary school personnel, nursery owners and managers, police child protection officers, early childhood development officers and researchers.

Lecturers also maintain close links with the early childhood sector in order to ensure students have the opportunity to link what they learn in University with real issues in the workplace. The School also has close ties with the local community and a strong focus on widening access so that non-traditional students are able to return to education.

Students who study in the Early Years are provided with innovative and exciting courses, which are tailored to facilitate students’ involvement and participation in their own learning so that they become confident graduates in the future.

The staff are involved in varied research projects. Staff work independently on some projects but there is also a focus on collaborative work. For example various staff work with: Local Authorities; schools and early years settings; Government Agencies and the voluntary sector.

The focus of the School’s research interest and activity are: Eco schools and sustainability; widening access; young children’s literacy, outdoor learning, young children’s well-being; young children’s and students’ creativity.

All staff are involved in various stages of research including: data collection and analysis; publishing; and presenting papers in conferences.

Recent publications include: several series of children’s book; numerous practical activities for children’s learning; teachers’ reference and guidebooks; CDs /DVDs to support various adults who work with young children; academic books; numerous articles in magazines and research journals; chapters in academic books within the field of early childhood. The School’s staff also present seminars and papers in various conferences.

The School also encourage and facilitate student research and students from the School publish in the University research Journal.

Many different students study on the various programmes offered by the School of Early Years. Since programmes range from Foundation Degrees to Postgraduate Study, the students are a diverse community of learners who add to the vibrancy of the School.

The School is located on the Carmarthen Campus, and provides a welcoming and friendly learning community. The staff provide a supportive and engaging environment where students are encouraged to develop new skills and partake in new experiences. There are also opportunities to undertake additional certificated courses such as the John Muir Award.

The students in the School of Early Years include traditional daytime students who in the main follow the BA Early Years programme. There are also Flexible Learning Route students who attend lectures in the evenings and weekends, designed to combine students’ work and volunteering commitments with study on evenings and weekends.

There are also some Blended Learners on the Postgraduate Programmes who combine some face-to face study with distance learning modes.

Students in the School of Early Years explore the links between theory and practice and the staff place a strong emphasis on children’s wellbeing and development. The School’s ethos reflects the values of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child with a strong emphasis on young children’s rights, the importance of listening and respecting children’s ideas and decisions, and the right for young children to have access to play.

During their time as students there are several opportunities to explore the importance of play for young children’s development and learning .

These ideas are explored in various contexts including: the Foundation Phase, Flying Start, the Foundation Stage and other international early childhood approaches.

For the Foundation Degree and BA programmes the School places a strong emphasis on practical, hands on learning and offers several opportunities for students to undertake practical activities which support the content of lectures. Outdoor learning and creative development are also themes that feature prominently within these programmes and throughout their study, there will be opportunities for students to learn in the outdoors and to use their own ideas and initiative to undertake learning tasks. There are also opportunities for educational field visits and trips which are included as part of the different module content.

The School offers several opportunities for visits, to listen to guest lectures from early childhood experts and professionals, and for optional visits to other countries within Europe and further afield. Current students have gained confidence and valuable life experiences from such opportunities. All these experiences are designed so that students can develop a varied and impressive CV alongside their academic degree.

The School also places an emphasis on developing students’ research, evaluation and self-reflection skills so that they are well equipped to question and develop their own professional development. The programmes are carefully designed to ensure that academic content is closely linked to practice. Time is also provided for students to volunteer in early childhood / early years settings to gain important practical work experience.

The School offers opportunities for students to engage in study visits to Europe and beyond.

Students on the School’s programmes will have opportunities to learn alongside international students who are studying within the School.

The School’s programmes are appropriate for students from abroad who wish to develop their understanding and knowledge of young children and families.

The School recognises the importance of offering students varied opportunities to increase their employability. Some of the programmes offered are recognised routes to further training, for example the PGCE to become a primary school teacher and the MSc in Social Work.

However the multidisciplinary nature of the School means that students can access several other careers linked to working with young children and families.

Undergraduate students have progressed to many varied and interesting careers including:

  • Nursery managers and deputy managers;
  • Foundation Phase Coordinators;
  • Early years / early childhood development officers;
  • Play officers;
  • Further and higher education lecturers;
  • Family Centre personnel

Postgraduate programmes have offered students opportunities to up-skill and deepen their understanding of young children and their families. This has allowed some postgraduate students to progress in their existing field of work and for others to move to new careers.

Many graduates have progressed to working in the government, voluntary and private sectors.

The School has ensured that all programmes focus on developing students’ research skills, written and oral communication skills as well providing students with excellent time management and organisation skills. These are all skills which are highly sought after by a variety of diverse employers, and thus skills gained during the various degrees are transferable to different career pathways.

The School works closely with employers and has developed an Employer Forum with local employers. The forum meets regularly and helps the lecturing team ensure that the content of programmes support the types of skills and experiences required of undergraduate and postgraduate students when applying for work.

For undergraduate students the School has designed a timetable that ensures that all students have regular campus free periods in order for students to volunteer in early childhood / early years settings to gain important practical work experience.

The School has developed a strong study skills programme which is designed to provide students with additional support with written and academic skills. This support provides students with the opportunity to increase their confidence and improve important transferable skills.

The School offers part-time, postgraduate taught programmes. These include: 

  • MA/Postgraduate Diploma Early Years Education & Care
  • MA/Postgraduate Diploma Early Literacy

These programmes provide opportunities to undertake primary research including a research based dissertation. Students can also work with staff to publish the findings from their research work. The postgraduate programmes are delivered on a part-time basis as twilight and weekend sessions as well as through blended learning which combines face-to-face and distance learning delivery.