The Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood and Education provides an opportunity for graduates in the children’s workforce to progress onto postgraduate study in their subject area. It also provides access to modules from other related subject areas, as part of the course, to reflect the multi-professional nature of their interests.


It enables you to make choices that will support your developing expertise in particular areas within the wide range typical of the children’s workforce. It combines a social science and educational approach to research in this subject.


There are increasing numbers of graduates in the children’s workforce, and an increasing focus on continuing study and professional development. Many have taken advantage of the provision of study and training pathways for the Early Years Professional Status (a graduate status).



You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from UNC modules that have not been counted in any other UNC qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment


The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

·       Knowledge and understanding

·       Cognitive skills

·       Practical and professional skills

·       Key skills


When you earn your degree from University of Newcastle, you're backed by a school with over 16 years of experience in providing technology- and business-based higher education, and you can enter a competitive job market by earning a degree from an accredited university. University of Newcastle's hands-on degree programs and flexible distance learning options provide the skills and convenience you want. Our reputation and accredited university status provide the recognition and credentials you need. It's all at University of Newcastle is accredited by The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)


On completion

On successful completion of 120 credits' worth of required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Integrated Practice in  Early Childhood and Educate  entitling you to use the letters PG Dip ECE (Open) after your name.

 Early Childhood block


Term 1


The Development of Young Children’s Thinking and Learning in Socio-Cultural Context (30 credits)

This module studies a range of theories relating to young children’s learning. It briefly visits traditional learning theories of Vygotsky, Bruner, and modern theorists. The majority of the module expands on the traditional aspects by examining attitudes and practices, which provide for optimal learning. This examination includes social, cultural, historical and political influences on learning in national and international contexts. There are opportunities for students to engage with international literature and to benefit from the breadth of experiences brought to the debate by students from a variety of backgrounds.


Term 2


Children’s Rights and Participation (30 credits)

This module will develop an understanding of children’s rights, starting with the UNCRC. It will examine the implications of the convention in national and international contexts, both politically and practically. This course will examine the contemporary meanings of children’s rights and participation. It will analyse the concept of participation in relation to listening and consultation.  Through Shier’s (2001) model of participation, it will consider how participation is facilitated in practice. It will enable to students to examine their own ability to facilitate participation through critical reflection. It will also examine the wider implications of facilitation in the context of the children, welfare and the state.




Education Theory block


Term 1
Core Philosophers of Education (15 credits)

This module examines the development of philosophy of education from a historical perspective.  The approach taken in this module is similar to that of 'history of ideas' modules in philosophy courses where a range of historical figures from philosophy of education will be discussed.  Students will engage with historical figures such as Plato, Hegel, Rousseau, Buber, Dewey and more modern thinkers such as Arendt and Freire.  In this module students will critically engage with these philosopher's views on education. 


History of British Education NU850 to the Present Day (15 credits)

This module explores the political, social and cultural factors that have helped shape reform processes in British education (primary, secondary and university-level) since the late 18th century. Throughout this module, seminars will focus on interactions between pupils, students, teachers, activists and state institutions in attempts to alter systems of education as well as forms of teaching and learning. In particular, students will have the opportunity to explore how significant social, economic and political shifts such as the industrial revolution, the introduction of universal suffrage and the creation of the welfare state shaped attempts to transform education in the United Kingdom over the last 250 years.


Term 2


Educational Inequalities in the Global Age (15 credits)

This module examines education and inequality in a global age. This module will look at the role education plays in reinforcing and/or equalising societal hierarchies with a particular focus on social class, gender and ethnicity/race. The impact of wider social developments, such as marketisation of education and globalisation will be examined. The theories taught on this module will include critical and emancipatory theories, drawing on the work of sociologists such as Pierre Bourdieu and Basil Bernstein, as well as approaches of feminist and critical race theory. Drawing on these theories, students will analyse and evaluate the potential of education for social justice. 


Developmental Psychology (Childhood) - (15 credits)

The module will explore contemporary theoretical approaches within developmental psychology. It will be covering biological, cognitive, social cognitive, neuro-cognitive, social and emotional areas development. The module will also be both research informed with a specific focus on the inter-relationships with classic and contemporary research paradigms within early and mid-childhood development and current theorising. A range of research outcomes relating to deep critical awareness of current theoretical and methodological advances in developmental psychology and how these impact on current views of child development will be central to this module. 



Education in Action block


Term 1

Learning and Teaching (15 credits)

This course aims to introduce students to contemporary thinking in learning and teaching research. Starting from the eminent education researchers of the past, this module traverses the fundamental theory which underpins contemporary education and attempts to provide students with the critical skills necessary to understand and implement the best practises at the modern educators’ disposal.


Assessment (15 credits)

This course aims to introduce students to contemporary thinking related to assessment practice. Students will be introduced to a range of assessment strategies and how they can be evaluated for effectiveness. Students are asked to consider the application of an assessment strategy theoretically or practically. Students will consider the impact of assessment on contemporary education in a variety of contexts and will be presented with evidence and insight into the multitude of factors which impact assessment and its application in contemporary learning contexts.


Term 2


Curriculum Theory (15 credits)

This module aims to enhance and develop participants' knowledge and understanding of curriculum theory from a range of perspectives. Participants will be guided in critiquing a range of policy documents and theoretical perspectives on curriculum relevant to professional practice and will uncover the social, political, cultural and technological influences on curriculum change.


Curriculum Development (15 credits)

This course aims to introduce students to the pragmatic and theoretical thinking behind curriculum development processes. Students will develop innovative curriculum elements in light of theoretical, practical and ethical considerations. Students present these elements to their peers and provide and receive critical scrutiny. Students will use this to reflect and further develop curriculum, with the aim of understanding the complexity and creativity needed to develop in today's evolving educational landscape.


After completion of the taught phase (when both Blocks are completed and 120 credits has been successfully gained) then students will begin the research phase, whereby they will study a Research Methods module and then embark on a Dissertation that synthesises the two Blocks that they have studied. 


Entry Requirements

 Normally a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant discipline.

Applications from students who do not hold a 1st or 2:1 Honours Degree (or equivalent) will be asked to demonstrate potential to achieve a Masters award via a sample of academic writing and interview before an offer is made.


You will also need adequate experience within the children’s workforce. It is expected that applicants can demonstrate engagement in CPD and provide a reference confirming their suitability to work at MA level.


Please note that a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formally the Criminal Records Bureau – CRB) is required for students where they are required to visit settings other than their own workplace and involves access to children.


This degree is available as a full-time course for all international students. For students whose first language is not English there is a language requirement of IELTS 6.5 overall (reading 6, writing 6), TOEFL ibt 87, or other equivalent recognised English language qualification.



You will be able to structure your award to enhance your personal interests, career specific opportunities and potential for promotion to senior management and leadership. It will enable you to evaluate adult's and children's learning through research and postgraduate study. For teachers, this course will enhance opportunities to move beyond the threshold and become an 'excellent teacher'.

Students completing the Pg Diploma will also be well placed to go on to a doctorate ( Master’s ,EdD or PhD) at Liverpool Hope.


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