Students graduate from innovative Early Years degree

17.12.2018

Earlier this month, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) celebrated the achievements of its first cohort of BA Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Practitioner Status) students as they graduated from an innovative two-year degree course.

Graddio / Graduation

Following a condensed fast-track programme, the students gained a full BA (Hons) degree in only two years. The students are also the first cohort to graduate with the new Early Years Practitioner Status award which is recognised on the list of qualifications to work in the Early Years sector by Social Care Wales.

This particular degree was designed to allow parents with young children and families the opportunity to study.  Lectures usually take place one evening a week and on some Saturdays allowing students to maintain their work commitments.  Delivered in a supportive, engaging environment, the course explores all aspects of children’s well-being and holistic development. Students are supported to become confident graduates with the professional competence to develop as effective practitioners.

“I studied whilst also working full time and found this a really good challenge,” said Joanne Davies, one of the first to graduate from this fast-track two-year course.

JoanneDavies

“I decided to study for a degree because I wanted to learn more about childhood education.  I’ve worked in schools for 17 years and having four children of my own I’ve got this zest for trying to help educate children so I decided to go and do this course.  Because it’s over two years I decided that it wasn’t too much – it wasn’t going to take over – especially as I have a very busy family life.  I still managed to go to work and carry on looking after my family.  It wasn’t a chore to come to uni – it was really good fun.  Everyone was great and the lecturers were so supportive, they’d really encourage us and praise us. I feel really proud and proud of all of my friends – we worked together as a team and we did it, it was brilliant.  Now, I’m going to go and do a PGCE and am looking forward to a becoming a teacher.” 

Another of those celebrating at the graduation ceremony was Elizabeth Lewis.

“I studied the Early Years Education and Care fast-track degree and am amazed by how much I learnt.  I’ve worked in Early Years for nearly 30 years and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the theoretical side of the course and have applied this now in my role, working in Early Years.  I’ve altered my practice to benefit the children’s learning and development.  I never thought I’d have such a thirst for knowledge at this age.  There were days that I really wished that I was studying full time.  I went from hating Monday mornings to loving that Monday feeling when I knew I was going to be in Uni.  At my age – I’m in my 50s – I didn’t really know much about the world of academia but I’m in it now and it’s absolutely amazing.  I’m really enjoying it and it’s all for the benefit of the children in my care.”

Elizabeth Lewis

"As a part-time student who also had a full time job, Elizabeth had to juggle her commitments but relished the opportunity to learn and is very grateful for the support she had along the way.

“It was a struggle at the beginning – being back in the world of academic writing – writing essays, finding things out - everything was so new.  But the group of girls I studied with, we really helped each other.  Because of the enthusiasm we had for the course, we just managed to fit our studies in around our work. I still managed to work full time and do the course.  We supported each other – we also had the support of our colleagues and of course, the lecturers. 

Dr Glenda Tinney, Early Years lecturer at UWTSD is extremely proud of the graduates and thoroughly enjoyed marking their success during their recent graduation ceremony.

“The Early Years team were delighted to be at this wonderful evening of celebration,” said Glenda.

“The students have worked diligently and all their hard work is a testament to their willingness to combine hectic schedules of work and family life with study. The students will also take ideas and activities from the degree into their practice and future careers, and we look forward to hear of their future plans and developments. Several of the graduates already have taken up places on the PGCE at SA1 Swansea and are busy in teaching practice, others have used the degree as a stepping stone to support career development, in lecturing and project coordination.”

Having traditionally been offered at UWTSD’s Carmarthen campus, the University’s Early Years courses are now being offered in Swansea and during yesterday’s graduation ceremony, the first ever Swansea cohort graduated alongside the Carmarthen students. 

The fast track BA Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Practitioner Status) 2 year degree is now well established in Swansea and Carmarthen and provides an unique opportunity for those in the early years education and care sector to gain a degree. It also supports the Early Years ethos of widening access to education and supporting the development of the Early Years sector.

To find out more about this degree, please contact g.tinney@uwtsd.ac.uk or 01267 676605

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Principal Communications and PR Officer on 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk