A growing industry full of rewarding careers

We inspire and teach students in fun, practical and creative workshop-style classes, helping to prepare you for exciting careers in the Early Years industry, where no day is ever the same!

See practitioners in action

To understand the role of an Early Years Practitioner (EYP), we set up work experience opportunities throughout your studies, including day nurseries, pre-schools, primary schools and children's centres.

Inspired by successful students

The Early Years department is teeming with students going on to do great things - we have alumni at Oxford Brookes University, Norland College, and early years settings of all sizes across Oxfordshire.

Working with children as a career starts with getting practical experience and the right training.

Our Early Years tutors have lots of experience in the childcare and education industries, and you will benefit greatly from their expertise and knowledge.

We have strong links with a range of early years establishments, giving you a great choice of places to develop your skills, find what your most passionate about and start building your CV experience.

Past students have also travelled to Kenya to volunteer in a school-building project, and have shadowed early years practitioners in various community settings. They also worked alongside nursery and teacher volunteers to teach children basic life skills.

All of these experiences mean that our Early Years students enjoy their course, and move on to their next steps very successfully, whether that next step is a great career or into higher education.

Tutor Profile: Jane Alexander

Tutor Profile: Jane Alexander

Jane began her teaching career in 2001, where she was a Reception class teacher in Winchester for two years. Since then, she's worked her way up through education settings, eventually becoming a Head Teacher in Cornwall.

She now teaches on the Fd in Early Years and BA in Early Childhood Studies and is also a qualified health and nutrition coach.

"I love teaching here, working within a motivated and inspirational team and keeping up-to-date with relevant research in Early Years and beyond.

The students are fabulous and nothing is better than seeing their transformations in how they think and the practical approaches they take. Working in various early years settings, so they can apply everything they are learning, clearly makes a big impact on them and it's often their favourite part of the course."

Staff Profile: Rob Mills

Staff Profile: Rob Mills

Upon leaving university, Rob started a career in hospitality and venue management, before moving into fundraising work with charities. Whilst these professions may seem far removed from teaching, he actually picked up many relevant, transferrable skills during this time.

Rob later retrained, achieving a degree in Early Years Development which lead to a second career in childcare and education; this, along with multiple roles in sports coaching, brought him into further education and joining the College as Lecturer in the Early Years department.

"With such diverse, fluid and dynamic communities within the College, every day is a varied, challenging and more often than not enjoyable experience.

Supporting learners to achieve their qualifications is great, but contributing to students’ personal growth throughout the duration of a course and beyond is far more rewarding.

From my point of view, the students that I teach are exposed to a wealth of real life, practical opportunities in which we develop and hone their vocational skills as well as applying theoretical perspectives taught in class.

Subsequently, local employers and universities, with whom we maintain good relationships, repeatedly praise the professionalism of our learners. A further benefit to our learners is the broad range of enrichment activities that are available to them; for example, residential trips, additional training and social action projects. Such activities help to develop life skills that serve them well in future employment or higher education."

Staff Profile: Donna Simpson

Staff Profile: Donna Simpson

Previously to working at the College, Donna worked for twenty years as a Learning Disability Nurse, specialising in working with adults with complex health needs and end of life care. It was a job she loved and got such rewards from, along with mentoring student nurses and being an NVQ Level 2 and 3 Assessor.

A redundancy in 2010 led to an opportunity to retrain, undertaking her PGCE at Oxford Brookes University to start a new career path as a teacher. Donna is now Curriculum Manager in the Service Industries faculty.

“I absolutely love being able to work in such a friendly and supportive college; in fact, I love the college so much I left and returned after only four months at another college closer to my home. I work with a fantastic team of highly motivated and passionate people, who every day ensure that the students get the highest quality experience.

Our students get an all-round learning experience from vocationally-trained staff, who are all passionate about the industry. Students have excellent opportunities to not only gain their qualifications but also develop a wide range of additional industry relevant skills.”

Did you know?

Daniel

NCFE CACHE Early Years Education & Care, Level 3

Previous school:
Fitzharrys School


I tried sixth form and A levels and it didn't fit for me, so after trying an art and design course for a year, I made a career-driven choice to move towards becoming an early years practitioner.

The experience from the placements and volunteering I've done at local nurseries and schools, like volunteering during children's activities at St Peter's Church in Wootton, showed me what life is like in the early years industry.

We've also been learning about how to help people with additional needs, and putting that learning into practice.

After my course, I’ll be looking at apprenticeships or university to study childhood studies.

Kirsty

NCFE CACHE Early Years Education & Care, CACHE Level 3

Previous school:
Chipping Norton School


I have always wanted to be a primary school teacher and this course was the best route to go down.

The College environment helped me grow as a student, with the support and encouragement I received helping me to improve my confidence and independence within my work and practice.

It provided me with so much knowledge, experiences and qualifications that I am now studying for a degree in Primary Education at Oxford Brookes University, a decision I am really happy with!

Eleanor

NCFE CACHE Early Years Education & Care, Level 3

Previous school:
Bartholomew School


Eleanor studied for her Early Years Level 3 CACHE at the College and successfully achieved her qualification in 2018.

Already in her first year at Abingdon & Witney College, she had decided she wanted to study at the prestigious Norland College in Bath and become a Norland Nanny:

“I conducted some further research and went along to one of Norland’s open days. At the same time, I watched a documentary about the College on ITV, where I learnt more about what it takes to be a Norland Nanny.

I also considered other universities but after I'd been to the Norland open day I had made my mind up to study there and I haven’t looked back!

I am studying for a three-year BA Hons in Early Years Development and Learning and I’m currently in my second year and I love it.

Once I've finished my studies, I look forward to being a Norland Nanny and ideally I'd like a role that involves travelling or living abroad, and potentially working for a family with a child with learning difficulties or disabilities.”

Alice

Early Years, Foundation Degree

Previous school:
Faringdon Community College


The thing I enjoy most about my course is the knowledge that I gain can be applied back in the workplace. For example, when we did the language module and studied the pre-linguistic stages of children I learnt that whilst communicating with babies, we didn’t need to over-simplify everything as they understand so much more than we think. We also added more words to the walls so they could start to recognise letters as well as pictures.

Both of my tutors, Jane and Anna, are really knowledgeable and enthusiastic as well as being very approachable. They also both have strong backgrounds in early years so have lots of experience to share with us.

The reason I chose to do my degree at the College is because I wanted to stay at home whilst I studied. I came to an open day and it was very welcoming, with the tutor I met being full of enthusiasm when she described the course.

The company I work, the old station nursery, is expanding so there will hopefully be some excellent opportunities for me in the future.

Your future career

Early Years Practitioner

Preschool Teacher

Primary School Teacher

Special Education Teacher

Youth Social Worker

Early Years Course Listings

Early Years, Foundation Degree

Undergraduate CHAB305P

A widely recognised qualification, the two-year Foundation Degree in Early Years is designed for experienced childminder and early years practitioners who are working in a variety of early years settings, with families or playgroups and in schools, n...

9th Sep 2020 - 23rd Jun 2021

Wednesday

Early Years

Abingdon Campus

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NCFE CACHE Early Years Education & Care, CACHE Level 3

School Leaver CFWH103P

Are you interested in a career working with young children? The CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education enables students to enter the workforce as Early Years Educators or access Higher Education. Past students have progressed on to universi...

9th Sep 2019 - 3rd Jul 2020

Monday to Friday

Early Years

Witney Campus

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NCFE CACHE Early Years Education & Care, Level 3

School Leaver CFAH101P

Are you interested in a career working with young children? This Level 3 Diploma enables students to enter the workforce as Early Years Educators or access Higher Education. Past students have progressed on to university to study teaching training, e...

9th Sep 2019 - 3rd Jul 2020

Monday to Friday

Early Years

Abingdon Campus

View course details