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BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies - Blended - MBE Skillnet

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8 Months


Degree Level 8


Awarding Body

Start Date

Start Date
July 2020

BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies - Blended - MBE Skillnet

We are working remotely and are available to support you with any queries you have - please email Jenny at or call her on 01-8920031.

Our academic delivery teams are all also working remotely and are supporting our students to continue with their studies through online learning or to get started for those just commencing their learning journey.  

Funding now available through MBE Skillnet

If you are a graduate of Portobello Institute's level 7 BA Early Childhood Studies, you are eligible to progress to level 8 honours degree. Funding is now available for 15 students through the MBE Skillnet for the Level 8 DCYA approved BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree. This degree is starting on 11th July '20 with workshops delivered by online webinar. You do not have to be from the Midlands area to avail of this funding, early booking is advised to avoid disappointment as funding is limited to 15 students at this time.

Read our news article here which answers many of the FAQs about the opportunity to Upskill with Funding through MBE Skillnet

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies awarded by London Metropolitan University (LMU) was one of the first such degrees in the UK. It was researched and developed to meet the demand for well-qualified early childhood specialists working with young children and their families. LMU continues to be recognised as a pioneer of early year’s education. The early childhood academic team is at the forefront of the international field of the research into the changing knowledge and skills needed for children and their families today and in the future. Portobello Institute is LMU’s only Irish accredited centre for Early Childhood Studies. Through this partnership, we offer students the opportunity to access some of the world’s leading research and thinking in the early years’ sector.

Studying this world class degree in the intimate and supportive environment offered by Portobello Institute is a unique opportunity for students. The Institute is renowned for extensive student support.  We offer small intimate environments, provision of draft assignments and formative feedback prior to submission, personal academic tutor and the support of a Programme Manager to ensure the smooth running of the programme and enhance the learning experience to each of our students throughout their academic journey. 

To further support those who already hold the most commonly held early years degrees on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications, Portobello Institute has mapped the learning outcomes of the QQI level 7 qualifications in Early Years Care and Education to the learning outcomes of this honours degree. The outcome is that there is now access to exemptions and recognition of prior learning, to gain advanced entry into year three of this honours BA in Early Childhood Studies. This award is also listed with the DCYA (Dept. of Children and Youth Studies) for higher capitation purposes.

Course Overview

In this final year of the Level 8 programme students complete an individual research project by carrying out a systematic investigation of a topic related to the early years sector. The project provides students with opportunities to improve their critical thinking and research skills. Learners on this programme refine their academic writing and communication skills as well as getting the opportunity to investigate in detail a topic or area in their current practice that interests them.

At the early stages of the programme learners will attend three tutorials which help them prepare for the project, understand how to work with academic literature, select suitable research methods, address ethical concerns and most importantly formulate the questions which they will try and answer in their research.  While the project involves a lot of independent study, each learner is assigned an individual supervisor who provides guidance and mentorship throughout the research and write up process.

Completing a research project is a valuable learning experience which has lasting benefits for learners’ personal and professional development.

BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies awarded at Level 8.

Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK

The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here. 

Entry on to this programme is by direct application to Portobello Institute.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Portobello Institute has mapped the learning outcomes of the awards listed below thereby gaining recognition of prior learning (RPL) with LMU for students holding the following qualifications:

• QQI Level 7 in Early Years Care & Education or equivalent

• LMU Level 7 in Early Childhood Studies


This is currently a blended learning course run over 10 months for learners who satisfy recognition of prior learning.  For more information please see the section above titled:  "Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)".  Please note this degree is also available through full-time study over 2 years.

There are 3 tutorials scheduled during the programme. These are generally run on a Saturday from 10am to 4pm and are designed to offer support to the learner.

Learning Support

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies is structured to maximise opportunities for flexible study, as students choose to complete the course by distance learning with webinars throughout the programme, supported workshops held each term and on-going tutor support available through the early childhood studies academic team situated full-time in Portobello institute. 

A module tutor together with a programme manager is assigned to each module. At internals throughout the course there are face to face tutorials throughout the programme and students can access further tutor support by email and/or telephone.  Webinars also support the learning experience, and provide further guidance throughout the programme, helping to establish and maintain relationships with tutors and peers. The development of academic writing, study and referencing skills is supported through workshops, tutor feedback and programme manager support. Materials are accessed through Portobello and LMU’s virtual learning platform. As this is one of the most researched and developed programmes available, an extensive range of visual materials and videos are available. Reflection is promoted by reflective exercises incorporated into the web-based materials.

All students are invited to discuss their progress with programme managers and module tutors. This can take place face to face, on the telephone or through e-mail.

The level 8 BA (hons) Early Childhood Studies is available at the reduced rate of €2,400 to members of MBE Skillnet. This price is inclusive of registration fees of €305, giving a once off opportunity to save €1,400.

The programme commences 11th July '20.

Fees are payable as follows;

A deposit of  €1,200 payable to MBE Skillnet on or before 3rd July '20. 

Second payment of €600 payable to MBE Skillnet on or before 25th September '20

Final Payment of €600 payable to MBE Skillnet on or before 29th January 2021

Your place is only confirmed when you have paid the deposit of €1,200 to MBE Skillnet - please book early to avoid disappointment as funding is only available for 15 students and is allocated on a "first come first served" basis.

Who is eligible for funding?

If you are an employer or are currently employed (even on temporary lay-off) in the early years sector, you may be eligible for funding through MBE Skillnet.

At this time, funding is available for 15 students applying for the Level 8 programme commencing 11th July '20 - ensure you confirm your booking by paying your deposit early to avoid disappointment. Places are only confirmed after desposits are paid and are allocated on a "first come first served basis".

We have a special offer available for students not eligible for funding at this time - please contact Jenny on 01-8920031 or email jennifer.matteazzi@portobelloinstitute for further information.

Alternative Easy Payment Option

To support those unable to avail of funding at this time, we have reduced the cost of this course by €450 from €3,295 to €2,845 with the following easy payment plan available.

Deposit - €350 payable upon booking place.

8 * monthly payments of €350 commencing 10th of month after the programme commences.

This payment plan is inclusive of the registration fee of €305.

For further information, please call Jenny on 01-8920031 or email


We are delighted to share just some of the success stories from happy graduates reaching their ultimate goals to completing a degree in Early Childhood Studies


Natasha Murphy   Claire Byrne  

"I have my level 7, why should I continue to level 8?"

This is the question we get asked so often by our level 7 early years graduates. So we asked Denise Flood, College Director and Head of our Early Years Department that very question and this is what she told us.

"Firstly, this is the final step. You have completed the hard work at level 7 - this is one module to achieve your level 8 honours degree. It is a research project carrying 60 credits and you will have a supervisor of your choice from our team who will support you through the research process"

"The research project is directly related to your setting - for example you want to change the garden of your setting, you can use this as the topic of your research project. We will help you break this down into achievable snippets such as consulting key stakeholders. What questions do you need to ask to find out what they think the theme of the space should look like - the stakeholders would include staff, children, parents, other service users. Document the process, record the outcomes, reach a conclusion and this is your research project completed!"

"An honours degree opens up so many opportunities for employment and further study to Masters level - why would you not complete the project and achieve your level 8 honours degree?"


Much of the evidence signposts research as a vital aspect of ensuring quality service provision in an early years setting - you will learn how to conduct research, draw conclusions and record these during this programme.

As Denise put it - "Why would you not continue to level 8!"


Claire celebrated her ongoing dedication from her Level 6 to Honours Degree at our 2017 Graduation in Croke Park.

I absolutely loved every single moment in Portobello and the support was fantastic from the staff and the tutors. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance and support. Full story

Claire Byrne


“Knowledge gained from the degree allowed me to partner with parents to aid the development and learning of each child." Read more 

Natasha Murphy

Apply Now

Course Code Location & Info Price
EYEH-B-SK-JUL-20 Portobello Institute, Dublin 1

11/07/20 - 13/03/21
This is a blended learning course with 3 webinars held on a Saturday
€ 1 Book Now
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