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    An undergraduate qualification in Childhood and Youth and Education.

Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning

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Teaching assistants and classroom support staff represent one of the fastest growing occupational groups in the country. If you’re a teaching assistant (or in an equivalent school support role) the Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning will extend your skills in the classroom, develop your professional knowledge and expertise and boost your career opportunities. It combines work-based learning with academic study to develop the knowledge and skills needed to support primary-aged children in their school learning. To study this foundation degree course, you’ll need to be an experienced teaching assistant, experienced volunteer or equivalent working with children in primary schools (age range 4 to 11 years and up to age 12 in Scotland).

The programme of study for this foundation degree is also offered as the Diploma of Higher Education in Primary Teaching and Learning (W02). The diploma of higher education might be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland.

Fees and facts

Where will you be resident whilst you study?

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Fee: Choose country above to see fee and ways to pay.
Study method: Flexible, part-time study through distance learning.
Type of qualification: Foundation Degree
Foundation Degree

Foundation degrees are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession; they combine work place learning with academic study. Designed and developed with external partners, you must be working either as a paid employee or as a volunteer in a related work setting.

A foundation degree is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They aim to enhance the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or those intending to go into that profession.

You can use a foundation degree to:

  • change careers or progress your current career
  • gain technical and professional skills
  • gain professional recognition
  • achieve a full honours degree through further study.

Most of our foundation degrees are also offered as diplomas of higher education for those living and working in Scotland.

Code: X02

Entry requirements

To study this qualification you need to be working directly with children in a primary school for a minimum of five hours a week from the outset.  This is essential in order to be able to complete the assignments.  You may be in paid employment or working as a volunteer.  

For the work based learning modules, your school will be required to provide confirmation of the number of hours you work; verify your role in the school; and agree to provide appropriate support for your studies.

Note: anyone working in a school needs to meet the ‘fit person’ criteria, which includes criminal record clearance for the country in which you’re working. It’s your responsibility and that of your employer to ensure you meet these requirements.

If you’re studying in Western Europe, you’re eligible to study this Foundation Degree providing you meet the entry requirements outlined, and that you’re working in a school that follows the National Curriculum.

Career relevance and employability

The Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning is relevant to teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants and other kinds of classroom support staff. If you’re seeking higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) status – in England and Wales only – it will help you to gather the necessary practice-related evidence to apply for this status.

It may also be helpful if you are thinking about training to be an early years or primary teacher; your choice of optional module at stage 2 can be used to support this goal. If you’re considering teaching as a career, you’re strongly advised to check with your training provider about their entry policy for initial teacher education (ITE) programmes, as requirements vary between different universities.

This foundation degree course will enable you to develop your existing practice with children and be more aware of the theories that give rise to effective teaching and learning. Students report that their studies can make them more prepared to take part in educational discussions in their schools, and more confident at contributing as valued professionals. Some have also stated that their studies led to paid employment and promotion.

There’s more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Register your interest

For academic year 2014/15, registration opens on 24/04/2014. If you would like to be kept updated, you can register your interest now.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

If you have already completed some successful study at higher education level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible, and before you register for this qualification.  

If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete this qualification. This may also mean that the next start date and the maximum time limit for this qualification are different to those shown above.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning and will be entitled to use the letters FD (Open) after your name.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

If you have a disability

Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:

  • the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
  • how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
  • any work-based competency requirements.

Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007), Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.

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