Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time:

Course level



PG Cert

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Routes into Teaching at the University of Derby. Find out more about becoming a teacher and the wide range of courses we have to offer.
Current students on the Early Years Teacher Status (0-5) PG Cert course talk about their experience of the course and their next steps.

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. For more information about the role of Early Years Teachers, visit the National Careers Service. 

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:

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

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.

What you will study

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

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

How you will learn

You will attend face-to-face sessions, to learn more about Early Years Initial Teacher Training and prepare for assessment against the Standards.

Workshops will be held at the university covering more in depth reflection on the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years). You will contribute to discussions around your own practice and how you meet the different standards.

Depending on your pathway, you'll also attend bespoke teaching sessions to develop and promote your understanding of early years practice.

Midway through the course you will undertake a 'development and progress review' to determine your progress to date. You'll produce an action plan to support your progress towards achieving a successful assessment outcome.

How you're assessed

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

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 point of application.

Acceptable qualifications include:

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. 

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.

International student applications are welcomed and applicants must hold the above qualifications or equivalent with an IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with 6.5 in each skills area.

Interview information

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees (August 2019 - July 2020)


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.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Once we receive your application, we'll send you an acknowledgement letter along with further information about the interview process.

If you would like to gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) without studying the postgraduate modules, please apply for the course using the link above. There will be an opportunity to share your preference with us at interview stage, and we will amend your application to reflect your choice.

Apply directly to the University


On successful completion of this course, you will achieve Early Years Teacher Status and will be fully equipped to pursue a worthwhile career in the private, voluntary and independent sectors. The timing could not be better: opportunities for well-trained, confident professionals are set to expand under the Government’s plans for improving quality in early education: see ‘More great childcare’ (January 2013).

You could progress your career in nurseries, pre-schools, children’s centres, academies or independent schools. You could also consider roles where you support health visitors in the community or act as an early years instructor in the maintained sector.

We are dedicated to improving your employability skills at every stage of your studies and Ofsted congratulated us on the high employment rates of our students. Many EYTS graduates go on to secure positions with the organisations where they undertook their placements, while those who follow our employment-based pathway are regularly promoted to more senior roles with greater responsibilities.

As a newly qualified early years teacher, you will benefit from the University’s ongoing support as you take your career forward. We offer a range of resources, events, conferences and development opportunities to ease your transition into professional practice.

If you would like to take your qualifications and professional development to the next level, our MA Education offers an Early Years pathway. By completing the Postgraduate Certificate Early Years, you will already have 60 credits at masters level to fast track your progress.

Jo Byrd
Programme leader

Jo Byrd has worked in ITE since 2014; she has worked on the BEd, PGCE and Early Years Teacher Status programmes. She has presented at TEAN (Teacher Education Advancement Network) twice and is currently working on her doctorate examining pre-service teachers' discourses on race.

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† Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.