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Early Years with Early Years Teacher Status (0-5)

If you would like to work with babies and children up to the age of five, our postgraduate certificate paves the way to a fulfilling career as an early years teacher.

The Government has launched a national drive to raise the status and quality of the early years workforce. By achieving Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) with us, you will have the knowledge, skills and experience to make the most of the career opportunities ahead.

What is an early years teacher?
Early years teachers specialise in the education and care of babies and children up to the age of five. They work in a wide range of organisations helping give young children a firm foundation for future success at school and in life.

Our course provides the training and assessment to help you to achieve the highest possible standards in your professional practice and conduct. You will be supported to meet all aspects of the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) in practice so that you gain EYTS. Please note that EYTS is for those who wish to specialise in working with children up to five years old. It is different from Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for working with older children.

Flexible pathways to success
We offer both full-time and part-time pathways to achieving EYTS and will support you in choosing the right route when you apply:

  • Graduate Entry (GE): (12 months full-time)

You will study through reflective teaching modules, academic modules and placements within the sector

  • Graduate - Employment Based (GEB): (12 months part-time)

You will be working already or you will be a newly recruited graduate in an early years setting who requires training and further experience to demonstrate that you have met the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years). You will study reflective teaching modules alongside academic modules and your working practice.

Rewarding practical experience
This course has practical experience at its heart, so there is ample opportunity to build your skills in working with children. We have strong links with nurseries, children’s centres and other early years employers across the region.

You will complete assessed teaching placements in early years settings and benefit from additional enhanced placements to challenge your thinking and broaden your experience. Throughout your placements, you will be supported by a placement/setting mentor and a University of Derby assessment mentor.

If you are on the full-time GE pathway, you will spend at least 120 days on placement. If you are following the employment-based part-time route, practical experience is integral to your training programme and you will be assessed in your workplace as well as a placement setting designed to meet your unique training needs. Whichever pathway you choose, you must also complete a minimum of two weeks on placement at a school, working with Key Stage 1.

A seal of approval for quality
Ofsted has awarded us an overall ‘good’ rating for Early Years Initial Teacher Training and has ranked the quality of our leadership and management as ‘outstanding’. Their report said: “University leaders are in the forefront of raising the quality of early years provision and the status of early years teaching through dynamic partnerships with local, regional and national groups.”

Our students were praised for demonstrating high levels of professional and personal conduct. Inspectors also highlighted how our training delivers a strong understanding of child development, helping students to forge positive relationships with children and to plan exciting and engaging activities that promote good progress.

Inspirational teaching and support
We have a rich heritage in teacher training dating back over 165 years. You will be taught by a highly competent, enthusiastic and proactive team of tutors, whose work is influencing early years research and policy nationally.

We are highly ambitious for every student. We pride ourselves on offering an inspiring learning experience where you are challenged to excel while gaining expert support and guidance.

Take your skills to the next level
When you complete this course, you will have earned 60 credits towards a masters qualification. It means you can progress directly to stage two of a masters degree and accelerate your career development.

We also offer lively and informative sessions to help you explore new directions in your early years practice. Our students have harnessed these to develop additional professional skills in areas ranging from Makaton to safeguarding.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for Early Years ITT are the same as entry requirements for primary teaching.

You must hold a degree of a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification. An ordinary degree is acceptable. A first degree comprises 300 HE credit points of which 60 must be at a level 6 of the QCF. All trainees must have GCSE Maths, English, and Science at grade C or above at the start of the pathway.

Acceptable qualifications include:

  • GCSE English, Maths and Science grade A*-C
  • GCE O levels awarded before summer 1975 - a pass should be recorded rather than a note of the grade
  • GCE O levels awarded in the summer of 1975 onwards only - grade A-C are acceptable
  • CSE passes need to be at grade 1
  • GCSE equivalencies completed within an Access Course

Equivalency tests are accepted at the University's discretion providing that the test meets the required standards in both level and breadth according to the GCSE subject criteria provided by Ofqual.

Prior to enrolment, you must have completed the National College for Teaching and Leaderships Skills Tests in literacy and numeracy. We offer Skills Test preparation days to help you to gain the knowledge to successfully complete the tests.

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required at the point of accepting a place at the University. The Disclosure and Barring Service was established when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged in 2012 and will now provide the criminal records checking service for this course.

Candidates will need to meet all the Department for Education entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education courses including suitability and fitness to teach checks.

Course modules

You’ll undertake an active programme of taught sessions alongside placements within the sector, allowing you to apply theory to practice.

We provide you with the option of either completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years with Early Years Teacher Status or the Early Years Teacher Status component of the programme alone.

Should you choose to complete only the EYTS, you will undertake two modules within the University to support you in your reflective practice against the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years). These modules will enable you to contextualise your experiences, so that you can build evidence against the Standards to be awarded Early Years Teacher Status.

If you choose to undertake the full programme, you will undertake the following modules at masters level:

  • The Developing Child (Birth to Five)
  • Working in Partnership and Leading
  • Babies and Young Children in Learning and Educational Contexts

Assessment methods

You will be assessed throughout the course using a variety of methods, including:

  • observations of practice
  • environment tours
  • a portfolio of evidence
  • written essays
  • a viva voce


Each route entitles you to a grant which covers the course fees in their entirety. This grant will be paid directly to the University of Derby. Additional bursaries may also be available.

Get in touch today and increase your future employability