Leadership & Advocacy in the Early Years - Sligo

Do you have what it takes to be one of those leaders?

Do you want to develop your leadership and advocacy skills and capabilities in ways that reflect and build the capacity of the early years sector?

Do you want to be part of a community of practice that will influence and lead the early years sector into the future?

If the answer to these questions is yes and you have a 2.2 BA Honours in ECCE or cognate discipline and will have at least two years experience working in the early years sector or a related field completed at the end of your studies, then the Atlantic Technological Univerisity Sligo Campus has the Level 9 programme that will help you to fulfil these ambitions.

Develop Key Skills - Through this programme you will develop key skills to help you build your own leadership and advocacy capacity; to shape and influence the key organisations and agencies in the early years sector and to effectively bring about real change.

On completion of this programme you will be able to:

Document, recognise and reflect on your existing bank of knowledge, skills and experience.

Critically assess and apply central theories of leadership and management from within and outside the sector, in an international context

Engage in effective professional advocacy communication, networking and lobbying.

Understand how contemporary ECCE organisations work, how to effectively engage and change them, and why it can be so challenging to achieve this?

Compare policy in the Irish early years sector with other leading Early Years comparators internationally, through study, networking and direct experience

Engage critically in research, with an in-depth knowledge of crucial social issues related to children and, the skills to conduct ethical research of your own.

Subjects taught

How this course works? The programme is structured around two modules each semester (Semester 1 which runs from September to January & Semester 2 which runs from January to May).You will be engaged in content that will include online lectures (six per module) from lecturers and key leaders and experts in the field; online discussions and activities; access to digital resources, and share your own experiences.

Each semester there will be a residential programme that brings you together with your fellow participants, academic staff. This will allow you to engage in lively debate, extended learning, assessment activities and keynote lectures. Assessment of the programme will be through a broad variety of student-centered and active techniques. The professional relationships you develop through this course will provide the basis for the leadership and advocacy networks and communities of practice in the future.

Semester 1
Title Credits
Pedagogical Leadership and Advocacy 10
Leadership in Practice for Early Learning and Care Professionals 10

Semester 2
Title Credits
Children's lives 10
Contemporary Child Psychology 10

Semester 3
Title Credits
Research, policy and practice 10
Researching Leadership and Advocacy in ECCE 10

Entry requirements

A 2.2 BA Honours in Early Childhood or cognate discipline and will have at least two years experience working in the early years sector or a related field completed at the end of the programme of study.

Where large numbers apply far exceeding available places shortlisting of applications for an interview may occur.

All shortlisted applicants will be interviewed for a place on the programme. The highest scoring applicants will be offered a place.

Application dates

Applications for online programmes are accepted on the atu sligo website.

All programmes advertised will run subject to sufficient student numbers.

ATU sligo online has two intakes per year, the main one being in September with a smaller listing of programmes for January. For confirmation on start dates check www.itsligo.ie/online

For September, applications open from 1st February each year. Closing date for receipt of applications is 31st august.

For January, applications open from 1st November each year. Closing date for applications is mid-January.

The online application form requires personal details, previous qualifications, professional accreditations, employment history and a personal statement. We recommend collating all the necessary paperwork i.e. Transcripts of previous qualifications, academic certificates before you submit an application.

Once submitted, our admissions team will contact you to confirm eligibility and request copies of any previous qualifications.

Academic staff review every application and approve eligible candidates for the programme.

Admissions team will notify you if you are accepted onto the course and will request deposit to confirm your place.

Places are limited, so please apply early.


3 semesters (PGDip) 1 further semester (add-on MA)

Delivery: Mostly online, part-time with a five-day residential workshop (Mon-Fri) each semester.

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
Opportunities are dependent on where you are resident and what your career aspirations are e.g. Early Years Inspectorate, Better Start Mentors, Manager/ Support and Development Staff of City and County Childcare Committees, Management/Leadership roles in Tusla, Management/Policy roles with National Voluntary Organisations, Management roles in Family Resource Centres and as managers of both private and community Early Years services.

Further Study
Doctoral Studies in Early Years Discipline, Research, Policy, Child and Family Studies. Other opportunities exist depending on your personal goals.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Blended

  • Apply to

    Course provider