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School Leaver / 16 - 18 yr Old Adults Vocational Courses

Childhood Studies and Early Years Educator - Level 3

If you wish to enter the Childcare sector or study a higher education course in the Early Years field, this course is for you.

  • Course Description

    It offers a focused qualification that is directly related to Early Years work experience and involves working in a range of placement settings to develop essential skills and knowledge.

    The course provides learners who successfully pass all the requirements of the qualification with a licence to practise, allowing them to undertake work in a child centred environment.

    The coursework is varied, involving case studies, written assignments, external assessments, reflection from placements and practical group work in class. There is also an external exam for one of the units.

    The course enables you to develop a substantial range of knowledge including:

    • Childrens Development
    • Development of Childrens Communication, Literacy and Numeracy Skills
    • Current Research in Early Years Practice
    • Keeping Children Safe
    • Childrens Physical Development, Care and Health Needs
    • Working with Parents and Others in Early Years
    • The Early Years Foundation Stage

    Two days placement per week is required in a minimum of two different childcare areas, gaining experience of working with children aged 0-8 years. You will be required to undertake both formal and informal observations on children while in placement, keeping a detailed record of placement observations and activities, evaluating their findings and making recommendations for future practice.

  • Entry Requirements

    You will need:

    • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade 4 (C) or higher, including two from English Language, Maths or Science.
    • A satisfactory DBS check


    • A full Level 2 qualification (minimum of Merit level) and at least a Grade 3 (D) in English language or Maths and a Grade 4 (C) in the other
    • A satisfactory DBS check

    Recent government announcements have stipulated that Early Years practitioners should be qualified to GCSE level at least in English and Maths and certain courses in higher education may also stipulate Science at Grade 4 (C) or above.

  • Course Length

    Full-time courses at the college are generally 3-4 days per week (you may be in an extra day if you are resitting English and/or Maths). All students are expected to complete study hours in the Learning Resource Centre and at least 30 hours work experience on top of their college hours.

  • Progression Opportunities

    What can I do after this course at CWA?

    The College of West Anglia offers many opportunities to continue studying from entry level through to degrees at University Centre West Anglia. Some of the courses available for those who have successfully completed this course include:

    • FdA Early Years, Playwork and Education (Foundation Degree) (King's Lynn)
    • FdA Early Years, Playwork and Education - Part-time (King's Lynn)
    • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (King's Lynn)
    • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies - Part-time (King's Lynn)
  • Course Fees
    Age Cost
    16-18 Free*
    19+ £7,350

    * Certain courses may have additional costs to cover trips or DBS checks, and for some courses you will be expected to purchase additional items such as uniform or equipment.

    Fee information

    Though this course is free for those aged 16-18, there may be additional fees related to the programme, such as additional equipment or uniform, trips, DBS checks and work placement costs. Further information will be sent to all applicants before enrolment.

    If you are aged 19 and over, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of this course. For more information on the Advanced Learner Loan, please click here. Alternatively, if you are aged 19-23 and have not yet completed a level 3 or above qualification, you may be able to receive this course for free. For further information and to complete our fee calculator, click here.

    Find all the information you need about course fees and financial help below.

    Information on Fees and Financial Help

    Learners with an active Education, Health & Care Plan

    If you are aged 19 - 24 at the start of your course and have an active Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP), any course up to and including level 3 will be fully-funded by the government. This means you will not have a course fee to pay and any equipment considered essential to complete your course will be provided by the college.

    Please note the information on this page was correct at the time of publication but is subject to change due to factors beyond our control.
  • Additional Information

    What qualification will I achieve?

    Year 1: BTEC National Extended Certificate in Childhood Play, Learning & Development Studies (Level 3)

    Year 2: BTEC National Diploma in Childhood Play, Learning & Development Studies (Level 3) or the BTEC National Extended Diploma in Childhood Play, Learning & Development Studies (Level 3)

    How is my course assessed?

    The course is assessed by a range of methods which may include projects, booklets, posters, assignments, case studies and coursework. There is also one examination.

    Learners must also complete a minimum of 750 work placement hours in a range of settings as laid down in the course specification criteria. (These hours would be the requirement for the two year programme.)

    You will work towards the Extended Certificate qualification in the first year of the course, and subject to meeting progression criteria, you will have the opportunity to work towards either the National Diploma or the National Extended Diploma in the second year.

    Each unit will be graded Pass/Merit/Distinction.

Starting 06/09/2021

King's Lynn


Duration 2 years

Starting 06/09/2021



Duration 2 year

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01553 761 144

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01553 815 271

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