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Qualifications in playwork early education and childcare

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There is a range of training available to help develop your career

Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service is committed to helping you gain qualifications from training providers who have signed up to our Training Provider Agreement. And we may be able to help pay for your qualification through the workforce development fund if you use one of these training providers. Our focus is on offering you choice, flexibility and support.

There are full and part time courses, college or workplace learning and an e-learning package so you'll be able to find something to suit you. And we run workshops if you don't want to do a full qualification. If you need any advice just contact your workforce development advisor or the Workforce Development Team, email or call 01372 833900. You can also subscribe to the Way Ahead e-bulletin and we'll keep you up to date with our full range of qualifications.

Always check that a qualification you are interested in is a full and relevant by going to Early years qualification finder.

Find out more about the level of qualifications available and download a list of the qualifications offered by Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service recognised training providers (at the bottom of this page):

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Who should do a level 3 qualification?

Level 3 qualifications are for those who work unsupervised, planning and organising their own work and perhaps supervising others. You might be working as a practitioner in an early years or playwork setting, or be a childminder working on your own at home. There are two level 3 qualifications available, the Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young Peoples Workforce (early years pathway) and and the Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (if you work in a playwork setting - after school club, breakfast club, holiday playscheme). From September 2014 Level 3 qualifications will include Early years Educator in their title. Before entry on to the course you will need to hold GCSE Grade C or above in maths and English (Language). For further information click here.

The Level 3 Diploma in Playwork is a qualification available if you work in a playwork setting - after school club, holiday playscheme and breakfast club.

What is a foundation degree?

Foundation degrees are higher education qualifications that combine academic study with work based learning. The first year of a foundation degree is at level 4, whilst the second year and the final qualification are recognised as level 5. Foundation degrees provide a career development route for practitioners who want to progress to senior positions within early years, childcare and playwork settings.

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What is a level 6 qualification?

Level 6 qualifications are higher education, graduate qualifications that demonstrate high level, specialist knowledge. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is recognised as a level 6 qualification, as is Early Years Teacher (formerly Early Years Professional Status), which is recognised as a postgraduate qualification because you need a degree. Learning at this level involves a high level of professional knowledge, and is appropriate for practitioners in senior positions with strategic policy roles and those working towards Early Years Teacher. If you have completed a foundation degree you may be able to do a one year top up to BA (Hons). Ask the training providers you are interested in what your options are.

What is a level 7 qualification?

Level 7 qualifications are higher education, postgraduate qualifications that demonstrate highly developed and complex levels of knowledge. A Masters (MA) degree is recognised as a level 7 qualification. Learning at this level involves a high level specialist, professional knowledge, and is appropriate for senior strategic leaders and those responsible for commissioning integrated services at a regional level.

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Training Provider Agreement

Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service is committed to making sure you can access high quality training. So we ask training providers to sign an agreement and meet our requirements. All the training providers listed on the downloads (below) meet these requirements and are Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service recognised training providers. If you apply for our workforce development fund you will need to use one of these training providers.


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  • Updated: 03 Jun 2013
  • Stacey Westbrook
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