Duration & study mode
Typically 2 years, part-time (evening classes)
Course starting dates
Ayr: January, September
Our Graduate Diploma Childhood Practice is professionally recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), this programme is ideally suited for employed SSSC registered practitioners who wish to become registered as lead practitioners/managers.
You will gain the skills and knowledge to deliver quality services to children and their parents in an early years setting. Your studies will include learning within childhood; leadership and management; and reflective practice and research.
You must be employed in, or have access to, an acceptable professional environment in which knowledge and understanding of childhood practice in Scotland has been developed.
You must be employed for more than 16 hours per week and have employer support and a mentor from your area of practice to support your studies.
We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.
Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience
If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Postgraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.
You must possess a relevant degree and practitioner qualification.
You will also be required to be employed as a practitioner, normally over 16 hours per week and usually with two years’ experience and practitioner registration.
A signed statement of support is required as part of the admission process.
Applicants who do not meet the entry criteria but hold similar childcare qualifications together with relevant work experience are encouraged to contact us for advice on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
You will be interviewed and learning plans, personal statements ad references will be sought before being accepted on the course.
Successful applicants who gain a place on this course will need to register on the PVG Scheme, managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland. An application form will be sent from the University once you have accepted your offer. The fee for joining the scheme is £59.
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.
General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)
All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:
For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:
For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:
For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:
TOEFL IBT*: 78; no sub-test less than:
* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.
West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE) including acceptance of WAEC Scratchcard*
*UWS will accept a WAEC scratchcard confirming that an applicant has achieved C6 or above as evidence of meeting English language requirement from Nigeria if the student graduated within the last 5 years. After 5 years applicants would be required to provide the WAEC Certificate.
Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:
The Grad Dip course consists of six core modules at SCQF Level 9.
All modules include ‘strategy projects’ undertaken in the workplace, which develop and enhance the links between theory and practice and involve critical reflection. There is also the opportunity for you to undertake research into a topic of special interest.
To achieve the Graduate Diploma you must complete six (20 credit) taught core modules as follows:
Learning approaches are based on extending your knowledge to support and enhance practice through analysis of critical incidents using problem-based learning. Learning and assessment is embedded in work related practice and builds upon your prior learning and existing knowledge to meet the regulatory requirements for lead practitioner employment. All modules include ‘strategy projects’ undertaken in the workplace, which develop and enhance the links between theory and practice and involve critical reflection. There is also the opportunity to undertake research into a topic of special interest.
The programme will be delivered using a variety of learning and teaching strategies and techniques including:
Lectures, tutorials, student-led seminars, group-work, role-play, presentations, workshops, problem based learning, self-study packs, and work related learning
The learning and teaching strategies shall utilise problem solving approaches.
Assessment strategies are designed to enhance the student’s engagement with the learning process. As such, criteria for assessment will reflect the aim of enhancing learning flexibility. Reflection remains an important tool for practice in the childcare sector and most assessments include an element of student reflection.
In all modules preparation for assessment is undertaken, success criteria are shared with students in advance of assessment and students are encouraged to engage with the criteria to inform their preparation for assessment. Feedback (oral and written) is provided by academic staff and or peers for the variety of formative tasks provided for almost all modules and summative assessments.
The assessment strategies developed for this programme aim to support the student in the process of learning and to develop the key skills of critical analysis, problem solving and synthesis. A variety of assessment methods will be utilised across the modules and will reflect the range and balance of teaching and learning e.g. exam, action research, presentation and essay.
Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.
£305 per module (20 credits)
£1,550 per module (20 credits)
£1,550 per module (20 credits)
£2,100 per module (20 credits)
The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.
In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.
Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:
The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.
You can also find additional information in our Postgraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.
Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.
For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.
Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.
Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.
Scottish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.
English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.
EU students studying at postgraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.
There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at postgraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.
UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.
Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.
If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.
Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.
All students should apply directly to the University through our online application system. Before you apply, you should check that you meet our entry requirements and you should have all your supporting documents ready.
The first stage of the process is to create a profile; you don't have to complete the application in one session - you can complete it in stages by saving each section and return to complete it at a later date.
You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.
Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but they will close when they are full; apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.
Before you begin your application, it is important to read the Postgraduate & Post-Experience application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.
An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.
Do you have a question about applying for this course? Get in touch. We are here to help!
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