Julie Web

FdA Early Years Practice

"Before I joined the degree, I was stuck in a bit of a rut. I didn’t believe in myself and didn’t believe that I was capable of doing a degree but I visited an Open Day, spoke to the lecturing team before I made my decision and I realised that it was doable, I was capable and there was a lot of support on offer, you just have to be willing to work hard, not be afraid to ask for help and take that help and support at every opportunity."


37-year-old mum Julie, made a return to education after a nine-year break, to join the Early Years Foundation degree with University Centre St Helens.

With previous qualifications at level 2 and level 3 in Childcare and numerous years working in professional, private nursery settings, Julie decided to return to education, to achieve a higher level qualification that would allow her to progress within a career she was passionate about.

After researching Higher Education options, Julie discovered the Foundation degree in Early Years Practice at University Centre St Helens, validated by Liverpool John Moores University. Discovering the convenient location and that evening study options were available, Julie decided to attend an Open Day, where she had the opportunity to speak in depth to the lecturing team about the range of modules studied on the degree and support available. Impressed with what she saw, Julie decided to enrol, beginning the degree in September 2017.

Describing her first day at University Centre st Helens, Julie said:

“I hadn’t been in education for nine years, so I was a little daunted by the thought of degree level study. When I arrived at University Centre St Helens, I had little confidence but it is amazing how much that has changed in a year.”

Quickly realising that her peers were all of different ages and differing levels of experience, Julie settled into the degree, enjoying a mixture of classroom based lessons involving in-class discussions and debates that directly linked back to her practical, in-setting experience and fed into the set assignments and examinations that are part of the degree.

Commenting, Julie said:

“The lecturing team on the degree have been absolutely fantastic. They fully understand how hard it can be to not only return to education but to balance study with work and family life. When I came to the Open Day, I was assured that support and help would always be available but I honestly never expected any of the staff to provide so much support. They go out of their way to help you and the small class sizes mean that we have unrivalled, easy access to lecturers for help, support, advice and guidance whenever we want it.”

Continuing she added:

“We also have access to a range of facilities at University Centre St Helens, including a full library, Student Lounge, quiet study spaces and an on-site Starbucks. In addition, as the degree is validated by Liverpool John Moores University, we also have access to a host of online materials and the facilities at Liverpool John Moores University, so, living in Liverpool, I regularly use the library and facilities at LJMU’s IAMarsh Campus, where we can access the full range of books and services that relate directly to the Early Years Practice degree.”

Now entering her second year of the two-year degree, Julie’s confidence has grown, as she links theory to in-setting practice. She said:
“Looking back, I can’t believe I had such little confidence at the start of the degree. Now, having completed my first year, my confidence has grown and I have achieved so much. It has been hard at times juggling full-time work, study and family life but I am so glad that I started the degree. I have learnt so much and have been able to take that knowledge and apply it back in my employment setting.”

Due to complete her Foundation degree in April 2019, Julie plans to stay with University Centre St Helens for an additional year, to ‘top-up’ her degree to a full BA (Hons) Early Years Practice degree.

Her advice to any potential student considering the degree?

“Make sure it is exactly what you want to do because studying at degree level is very time consuming, you don’t realise how much work is required beyond the two evenings a week in University but it is a very rewarding experience.”

Continuing she said:

“Before I joined the degree, I was stuck in a bit of a rut. I didn’t believe in myself and didn’t believe that I was capable of doing a degree but I visited an Open Day, spoke to the lecturing team before I made my decision and I realised that it was doable, I was capable and there was a lot of support on offer, you just have to be willing to work hard, not be afraid to ask for help and take that help and support at every opportunity. The lecturers understand how demanding it is to balance full-time employment, family life and study and are always willing to help, in any way they can.”

Early Years and Teaching

We still have places available through Clearing.