11th July 2019

New research project: A systematic review of early years degrees and employment pathways 



It is well established that high quality early years education can play a crucial role in a child’s development. Quality provision at this education phase has also been shown to reduce social disadvantage and facilitate parental employment.

Staff qualifications can have a significant impact on the quality of provision, with early years staff educated at degree level recognised as playing a particularly pivotal role.

However, despite the evidence pointing to their benefits, little is known about what constitutes a degree-level qualification for working in the early years. In England the issue is compounded by the range of degrees available (e.g. BA, BEd, PGCE), with further variation in their content and composition.

Dr Verity Campbell-Barr (University of Plymouth) and Dr Sara Bonetti (Education Policy Institute), funded by the Nuffield Foundation, are undertaking new research, which will analyse the full range of early years degrees and the respective employment trajectories of graduates.

The research will:

  • Identify the range of degrees on offer and analyse the entry requirements, structure and content.
  • Analyse students’ employment trajectories in relation to the type of degree.

The project will provide a rich understanding of early years degrees in England, bringing forth a deeper understanding of the early years workforce in support of high-quality services.

You can find out more about the Plymouth Institution of Education, and its Children and Families research, here: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/children-and-families