Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) (Employment Based Route) PGCE

London, Bloomsbury
Ages 0 - 5 (Early Years)

The Employment-Based route on the EYITT programme is designed for those already working within the EYFS. Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) will be recommended for graduates who have met all of the Early Years Teachers' Standards. This is different from QTS, which is required to lead learning in Local Authority maintained schools. EYTS enables people to be specialist teachers of 0-5yr olds within all other areas of the sector, which is the provision where most children in the EYFS attend.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 academic year
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 11 Oct 2022 – 04 Aug 2023

Applications closed


This course will give you everything you need to teach in an Early Years setting, both the pedagogical theory and practical skills to be an inspiring early years teacher.


Our gradual immersion approach will enable you to become increasingly familiar with your EYFS context and all elements of the teaching role. You will be supported by Setting Mentors and IOE Tutors, to enable you to develop your practice and apply pedagogical ideas to your teaching.


Placements in different contexts will allow you to experience teaching children of all ages in the EYFS (0-5yrs), and reflect upon the pedagogical priorities in different settings.

Start teaching

With a PGCE and a recommendation for Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS), you can start teaching in the EYFS as soon as you successfully complete the course.

IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, has been ranked 1st in the world for education for nine years running in the QS World University Subject Rankings.

Entry requirements

First degree

A minimum of a lower second-class UK Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

A levels

No specific subjects required.


English Language, Science (one from Combined Science, Biology, Chemistry or Physics) and Mathematics at grade C / 5 or above. We do not accept "applied" or "additional" GCSE subjects. Applicants who do not offer a GCSE in English Language, Science or Mathematics may demonstrate an equivalent standard by completing a test via Equivalency Testing or A Star Equivalency and achieving at least a grade 5. For Mathematics, equivalency tests in Mathematics Foundation or Mathematics Higher with grade 5 are accepted. For Science, equivalency tests in either Combined Science or Biology with grade 5 are accepted. BTEC, Functional Skills or Access course qualifications are not accepted in place of GCSEs.

School experience

We recommend that you aim to gain some experience in an EYFS Setting before you enrol on the EYITT PGCE.  This may involve observations, work experience (e.g. as a teaching assistant or cover supervisor), or voluntary work.

Skills tests

Trainees will be assured against a set of fundamental Mathematics and English skills by the end of their teacher training.

Equivalent standard

Applicants who do not offer a GCSE in English Language, Science or Mathematics may demonstrate an equivalent standard by completing a test at www.equivalencytesting.com or A Star Equivalency and achieving at least a grade 5.

Relevant experience and background

Applicants whose degree qualifications are lower than 2:2 standard may be admitted if they can demonstrate an appropriate academic background at master's level and above and/or significant postgraduate experience in the relevant field.

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

This programme is not suitable for international students on a Student visa.

DBS and occupational health

If you are made an offer you will be required to successfully complete Occupational Health and Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure checks. These checks are required to ensure you meet the Department for Education’s requirements for physical and mental health to teach, as well as assessing your suitability for access to children and vulnerable adults. These checks will be carried out by the school or college that employs you. More details can be found on the Entry requirements page.

About this course

Early Years Teachers will be specialists in early childhood development and the EYFS Framework. As highly skilled graduate leaders, you will be responsible for facilitating and leading high-quality professional practice in early years settings. Graduates will leave the programme as reflective practitioners who work with integrity, fostering positive relationships with parents/carers and children as well as other professionals.

Who this course is for

This pathway is for those already employed in an early years setting or phase of a school, or those who have been recruited to a setting in order to undertake an employment-based route, who wish to specialise in teaching children aged 0-5 years.

What this course will give you

Students on the Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) programme benefit enormously from the complementary skills and expertise of staff in partnership schools/settings and at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society.

The EYITT Employment Based route complements other Initial Teacher Education programmes at IOE, by both harnessing the expertise of internationally renowned lecturers and well respected researchers in early years education. This route enables existing practitioners to further their own expertise whilst still working within an EYFS Setting.

At IOE we have a long tradition of working in partnership with early years settings and schools in inner cities, particularly in London. The placement settings offer teaching experience where practitioners serve as Mentors and joint assessors for our student Early Years Teachers. IOE Tutors have extensive experience of teaching, leadership, setting management, inspection, research and consultancy.

The teacher you want to be

Significant research, including the EPPE Project (Sylva et al, 2010), has provided sound evidence that high quality early education and care has a powerful impact on young children, not only preparing them for school, but contributing to positive outcomes later in life (Prout, 1999). It has become increasingly recognised that quality education in the early years has a significant influence upon long term outcomes for children. Government reforms in Initial Teacher Education have focused on the years birth to five. Consequently, successful graduates of the specialist EYITT programme find that they are highly sought after throughout the EYFS sector.

The tools of a great educator

  • Understanding of pedagogy and reflection upon practice
  • Knowledge of the Statutory requirements
  • Collaboration with families, colleagues and wider agencies
  • Understanding of how to create engaging learning environments for children that promote progress in all areas of learning and development


Early Years Teachers (EYTs) can lead learning in all Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) settings which is where the majority of children and EYFS provision is based. They can also work in Free Schools, Academies and Independent Schools which can employ teaching staff without the requirement for them to have QTS. EYTS Graduates have gone on to work in many different roles within the EYFS, as specialist teachers of 0-5yr olds. 


Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) will be recommended for graduates who have been judged to have met all of the Early Years Teachers' Standards. Please note that EYITT leads to the award of EYTS, not QTS which is required to lead teaching and learning in maintained schools. EYTS enables people to teach 0-5yr olds within Academies, Free Schools, Independent Schools and within the Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector which is the provision where most children in the EYFS attend.


The programme includes a combination of taught sessions, workshops, independent study and work-based learning. The content of the programme aims to keep a careful balance between early years initiatives, educational theory and its practical application. Work-based learning means that academic knowledge, skills and understanding are clearly integrated and contextualised within the professional role of an early years teacher.


The EYITT programme has been developed to provide you with the knowledge, skills and understanding to meet all of the Early Years Teachers’ Standards and develop as a reflective practitioner.

Throughout the EYITT programme you will complete three modules. These are Teaching and Learning and the EYFS Curriculum , Developing Action-Based Research, and Professional Practice (EYITT).

Teaching and Learning and the EYFS Curriculum

This module is designed to introduce the key ideas that will underpin your practice. You will develop your understanding of all Areas of Learning within the EYFS Framework and consider theoretical perspectives on child development and learning.

The module enables you to develop an understanding of practice for providing young children with rich experiences that foster all that is central to children’s intellectual, creative, social, physical and emotional development.

Developing Action-Based Research

This module draws on the expertise of active researchers in the field of early education and care. Taught sessions outline the process and principles underpinning the action research approach, and early childhood researchers present key elements of their own research.

You will develop an understanding of the action research process and key components of undertaking research within EYFS settings. You will complete your own research project, within your EYFS setting, to consider the potential of, and barriers to, implementing changes to practice within EYFS settings. This is intended to further develop your approach to interpreting your influence upon children’s experiences and impact upon children’s development.

Professional Practice (EYITT)

Throughout the year, within the Professional Practice Module, you will undertake placements in two different EYFS settings. The first placement (Setting Experience 1) covers the upper age-phases (3-5yrs and KS1), and the second (Setting Experience 2) covers the lower (0-3yrs). Both are split into three parts, to ensure that you gain experience of teaching all age-groups (3-4yrs, 4-5yrs, and KS1 in Setting Experience 1, and 0-1yrs, 1-2yrs and 2-3yrs in Setting Experience 2). The aim of each period of Setting Experience is to provide opportunities for you to work progressively towards demonstrating competent practice and ability to meet the Early Years Teachers’ Standards. Trainees on the Employment Pathway also use experience from their employment setting to evidence their teaching against the required standards.

Throughout all Setting Experiences, you will receive support from Setting Mentors and an IOE Supervision Tutor. You are encouraged to reflect upon your own progress and observation of your practice is designed to facilitate professional dialogue about your teaching activities, your impact on children’s learning and your evidence of competent teaching. You will compile a Portfolio of Evidence to demonstrate how you are meeting the Early Years Teachers’ Standards. You will use a Tracker to monitor your own progress and identify areas for your development. You will complete an ongoing Professional Development Plan to identify and prepare specific activity to support your own development. Mentors and Supervision Tutors work in close collaboration with you to monitor your progress, and support you in developing your practice and furthering your understanding. This is intended to further your understanding of reflective practice and engender both an independent and a collaborative approach to continuous professional development which continues beyond your EYITT year, and enables you to knowledgably adapt to differing educational climates throughout your career.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Upon successful completion of 60 credits and the Professional Practice module you will be awarded a PGCE in Early Years Initial Teacher Training (mainstream pathway). Please note that EYITT leads to the award of Early Years Teacher Status, not Qualified Teacher Status which is required to lead teaching and learning in maintained schools.

School placements

Students will undertake placements in order to experience teaching across the full 0-5 age range and engage with the educational curriculum beyond the EYFS. For Employment Based Students this involves 60 days of placements, up to 30 days of which can be completed by working with alternative age groups within the Employment Setting. A minimum of 30 days of placements must be completed within an alternative setting, that IOE provides. Students must be able to demonstrate a minimum of 120 days of practice over the PGCE year, which includes practice within placements and the employment role.

We ensure your placement will provide fulfilling and valuable experiences through:

  • A dedicated Placements Team to identify the best settings for your placements, as close to your home as possible
  • Interconnection between specific programme tasks and placement activity, to facilitate relating theory and practice
  • Ongoing support from a specific Setting Mentor and IOE Supervision Tutor
  • Programme documentation that is designed to facilitate progression along bespoke trajectories, to enable you to set, and meet, personalised targets

Making the most of your placement

We understand that working in different contexts can be challenging. Balancing work, study, placements and personal life can need careful consideration. Maintaining your own well-being, throughout your studies, is essential for effective teaching. We support you all of the way through. Setting Mentors, IOE Supervision Tutors and a specific Personal Tutor are all able to help you to navigate your individual situation and support you to maximise your learning opportunities. Wider UCL services are also freely available to you, throughout your studies, to support with any challenges that you may encounter.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL - Open day

UCL Teacher Training Open Event

Join our Teacher Training Open Event where you can explore our cutting-edge PGCEs in Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Further Education. Meet our programme teams, and attend our subject talks to ask all your questions; get advice from our Admissions and Funding Teams; chat with current students and learn more about the different routes into teaching.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £7,000
Tuition fees (2023/24) £7,000

A DfE training grant is available to cover the full cost of tuition fees. This is paid directly to UCL on your behalf.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Students will need to cover the cost of their own travel to placements and the IOE.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Funding of up to £14,000 is available to cover £7,000 course fees and provide each student's employer with £7,000 to support release for training and placements. This funding does not have to be applied for. Please note that the funding outlined above is provided by the Department for Education (DfE) and therefore subject to DfE policy changes.

Further information on the DfE Funding for EYITT students can be found on the Get Into Teaching website.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the UCL Scholarships and Funding website.

IOE - Aziz Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: 30 June 2023
Value: Full tuition fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

IOE - Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships

Deadline: 28 March 2023
Value: Tuition fees (2-5yrs (online study))
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE Centenary-Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (online study only) (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Value: Full tuition fees and stipend (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and a stipend of £17,609 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

IOE-ISH Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline: 2 May 2023
Value: Tuition fees and accommodation at International Students House (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK, EU, Overseas

Application and next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

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