Taught course

Early Years Practice

University of Reading · Institute of Education

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Entry requirements

You are required to have a good undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent qualification from a university outside the UK) plus a minimum of Grade C in GCSE Mathematics, Science and English language or equivalent.

You will be required to undertake a criminal record and occupational health check. You will also need to demonstrate competence in Fundamental English and mathematics by the end of the course. This is a new DfE requirement which replaces the QTS skills tests in literacy and numeracy.

Months of entry


Course content

Our PGCert Early Years Practice (PGCEYP) offers two routes: Graduate Entry (GE), full-time for 12 months, or Graduate Employment-based (GEB), part-time for 12 months.

​On this course, you will train to teach early education and care across the birth-to-five age range, leading to 60 master’s credits and Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS).

For those seeking to build careers specifically within the early years sector, this course gives you the experience, opportunity and knowledge to lead practice in work with babies, toddlers and young children in your chosen sector.

You will enjoy high levels of personal attention and strong support throughout your studies. Your tutors are on hand to offer regular guidance and support, ensuring any potential issues are addressed as early as possible. In addition to academic support, our Student Support Team are able to offer counselling services and wellbeing information.

To help build individual confidence and peer respect, we encourage you to share experiences and expertise with other trainees, enabling open discussion and group support.

During the PGCEYP, you will have the opportunity to gain placement experience in different settings.

The course culminates in assessment against the specialist Teachers’ Standards (Early Years), and qualifies you to work towards a leadership role, supporting young children and their families in private settings, voluntary settings, independent or ‘free’ schools, and some children's centres.


On the PGCEYP, we ensure that students' placements meet their needs and complement their previous experience. You will gain invaluable experience in a number of different settings, one of which could be a children's centre. This variety of placement strengthens your knowledge and helps to develop your practical skills in real-life situations.

We have strong partnerships with hundreds of child-based settings, and are well renowned for our excellent relationships with these settings. When commenting on early years teacher training/ITT in 2016, Ofsted said: "Setting leaders comment on the positive contribution that (Institute of Education) trainees and former trainees make to raising the quality in their own organisation."

While you are on a placement, you will be fully supported by University-trained subject mentors. Your progress is also closely monitored by your University tutors and you will be visited by a member of the academic staff.

Placements also provide students with the perfect opportunity to connect with potential employers and build a professional network.


The Institute of Education is based at our historic London Road campus, which has undergone a £30m refurbishment of the classical Oxford-cloistered quadrangle to create a dedicated world-class education centre.

We have created custom-built spaces for the teaching of specialist subjects such as music, PE, drama, the sciences, ICT, and art, including:

  • modern laboratories
  • musical studios, including an electronic drum kit room and a recording studio
  • well-equipped art studios and facilities for the practise of work in drawing, painting, sculpture and mixed media
  • studios for wet photography and printmaking, including silk screen.

Alongside these fantastic facilities, you will also find places to eat and drink, as well as plenty of green space to relax in.

The Learning Hub

We have an incredible collection of teaching resources housed in the Learning Hub. A treasure trove for teachers, the Learning Hub contains an extensive selection of teaching aids for loan or reference, from big books to puppets. A printing and binding facility, and technical equipment library are also available for your use.


The quality of research at the Institute of Education was recognised in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014), the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, which placed the Institute of Education in the top quartile of education departments in the UK.

Over 80% of our research publications were rated as world leading or internationally excellent. The impact of our research on educational policy and practice in first and second language education was judged to be world leading.

Information for international students

Applicants require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no element less than 5.5 (or equivalent).

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PGCert
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

There are two pathways into Early Years teacher training available from the Institute of Education: Graduate Entry Pathway (full-time) Designed for new graduates with little to no experience of working with young children. Trainees will undertake the PGCEYP (Post Graduate Certificate in Early Years Practice) alongside EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status). Graduate Entry Employment Based Pathway (part-time) This pathway is designed for graduates who are currently employed in the sector but require further training and experience to demonstrate the Teachers' Standards (Early Years). Students will undertake the PGCEYP (Post Graduate Certificate in Early Years Practice) alongside EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status).

Course contact details

Global Recruitment Team