Qualifying courses

Our College courses guide can help you find qualifying courses in Hampshire. Ensure you check with the College that they are still providing the course you want to undertake.

The appropriate level of training

Anyone considering employment in the early years sector should hold GCSE A*-C grade passes in both English and Maths before their employment commences. Existing staff employed at level 2, should be supported to achieve C or above grades in order to progress their career options.

Level 2

For people working with children in assistant roles and under supervision. Level 2 qualifications should be viewed as stepping stones towards a full and relevant Level 3.
Level 2 courses

Important information: If you do not already have the equivalent of a level 2 qualification, e.g. 5 GCSEs at grades A-C, you may be entitled to a level 2 course free of charge. Ask the course provider about this.

Courses can be taught in different ways and it is important that you ask the provider how the course is set-up. For example, will I attend classes with other students? How often will I meet with my tutor on a 1-1 basis? How much contact time will I have with my tutor/assessor? How long will I have to complete my course? Make sure you take all this information into account when choosing which course provider to enrol with.

CACHE Level 2 Certificate in an Introduction to Early Years Education and Care (QCF)

This qualification is designed as a stepping stone to a full and relevant L3 Diploma. It will contain a mixture of core, mandatory and option units tailored to the to the Early Years sector in which you are employed or volunteering. Further details will be available from your local college or training provider.

Level 2 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Playwork

There are limited opportunities provided by Hampshire colleges to achieve these qualifications. Independent training providers and distance learning providers are often able to deliver them on a bespoke/individual basis.

Level 3

For people with more experience of working with children, those who work in more specialised areas, alone and unsupervised, and often those who supervise/manage others.
Level 3 courses

Early Years Educator

The awarding bodies of the Early Years Educator qualification (CACHE, City and Guilds, Pearson Edexcel) have each developed their own qualifications under this title, although the exact title of the qualification may be different for each awarding body. Your local college or independent training provider will have the full details of the qualification they offer.

To count in the ratios at level 3 staff holding the Early Years Educator qualification must also have achieved a suitable level 2 qualification in English and maths as defined by the Department for Education on the Early years Qualification list. Discuss the entry requirements with your local college or preferred training provider.

Level 3 Award/Certificate/Diploma in Playwork

There are limited opportunities in Hampshire to achieve Playwork qualifications. Independent training providers are often able to deliver them through a distance learning/work based route as required.

Levels 4, 5 and 6

Courses at undergraduate level such as foundation degrees, leading to level 6 courses that add to your foundation degree.
Levels 4, 5 and 6 courses

Open University Undergraduate Programme

The qualifications in the Open University (OU) undergraduate programme are open entry, however pre-registration checks apply on certain modules. Students in England without a previously achieved Level 3 Early Years qualification will additionally require GCSE passes at grade C or above in English and Maths, to enable their higher education qualification in Early Years to be considered 'full and relevant' for the purposes of registration and regulation, and to be counted in the Level 3 ratios. Modules for these qualifications start in October and registrations usually open in April.

Local College/University

Level 5 Diploma (distance learning)

The Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for the Children and Young People's Workforce (Early Years) is the only L5 Diploma qualification suitable for the early years sector. It has been designed to meet the needs of senior/experienced practitioners and managers/deputies/room leaders working in early years settings.

The Level 5 Diploma is not equivalent to a full foundation degree, although, you may be able to transfer onto the second year of a foundation degree once you have achieved it. Find out more details of how to access the level 5 Diploma from PB Development.

Level 5 Foundation degree

Practitioners who have a minimum of 2 years experience of working with children 0-5 years and who hold a full and relevant Level 3 qualification and increasingly A-C grades at GCSE in English and Maths, are encouraged to consider this as the next step in their career. Further details of entry requirements and possible transfer of existing credits should be obtained from the awarding university or their affiliated college.

Level 6 (BA Hons)

Foundation degrees can be topped-up to full Level 6 BA (Hons.) The study options are one year full time or two years part time. Before making your decision you should check any financial implications of not achieving in the specified time frame and be realistic in the time you have available to study. The college or university delivering your Foundation Degree will be able to give you more information about the options they offer.

Early Years Teacher

Entry onto an Early Years Teacher programme is dependent on the final classification of your full degree. If you intend to follow this route you will also need to hold GCSE A-C grade in Science.