Childcare training: qualifications

Introduction to childcare qualifications

Parents and children benefit from experienced and qualified workers who can respond correctly and appropriately to their needs. By holding the appropriate level of qualifications and by continuing on a training programme, you can help to promote children's social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional development. With experience, training and the appropriate qualifications comes the ability to interact with and share information on the care of children with their parents and with other staff members.

Do I need qualifications?

You may be able to work in some areas of the childcare and playwork sectors without holding qualifications, however, there are long-term benefits to obtaining qualifications, especially if you see working with children and young people as a career rather than a job. For some occupations, there are regulations that stipulate the qualification that you should have.

What kinds of qualifications are there?

There are currently many qualifications which are specific to Early years, Education or Playwork. Courses are set at levels which determine the role which you take within the setting and the level of seniority at which you can work.

Set out below is a demonstration of the levels of qualifications and how with continued training you can develop your career:

  • Level 1: give you a taste of working in childcare and playwork. These are accredited courses but they are not of a high enough level to be a recognised qualification on the QCA framework
  • Level 2: if you wish to work in a setting under supervision. If you obtain a Level 2 qualification, you are counted as qualified when calculating staff ratios
  • Level 3: if you wish to work under your own initiative (without supervision) in a setting. You will plan and organise your own workload and manage others
  • Level 4: if you are an experienced practitioner, wishing to carry out complex and non-routine tasks. You will be in a managerial role in large or multiple settings, or have responsibility for Quality Assurance in a number of settings
  • Level 5: a Foundation degree if you are a senior practitioner wishing to build upon Level 3 and 4 achievements, providing the knowledge and understanding required at Senior Practitioner Level. This qualification counts towards the first 2 years learning of another degree
  • Level 6: a full degree if you are intending to become an Early Years Professional Leader in your setting

Ways you can gain a qualification

Colleges: Colleges or Adult Education Centres offer a range of full and part time courses that usually take place during the academic year. Most full time courses are fixed for a length of time, although some colleges are flexible as to when you attend. Assessment is done at various points in the course rather than through an end of course examination.

Distance learning: allows you to learn in your own home and in your own time.

Page last updated: 19 March 2019
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