Certain changes have recently been made by the DfE to Level 3 standalone entry requirements. Following discussions, and advice provided to the Minister, the DfE has announced that the GCSE entry requirements for standalone L3 Early Years Educator courses will be removed.

The bullet points below provide the details on the removal of entry requirements for standalone L3 childcare;

  • The requirement of GCSE English and maths for entry to standalone (non-apprenticeship) Early Years Educator courses at Level 3 is being removed by the SFA. The SFA have updated the Funding Rules this afternoon (30 July) on gov.uk, which can be found in the link here.  The amended rules will be in place from 1st August.
  • This will allow candidates who wish to take a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification to progress onto their chosen course more quickly.
  • It also provides consistency with Level 3 Apprenticeships entry, as the GCSE requirement for these courses was amended to remain an exit requirement in July.
  • People who already hold GCSEs in English and maths at grade C or above will be able to work in childcare settings, counting in the ratios required by the EYFS, once they have achieved their Early Years Educator qualification. Those who do not already have their GCSEs will need to gain these before taking up employment in a Level 3 role.
  • Staff with a level 3 Early Years Educator qualification can lead and manage settings, so it is essential that they are suitably qualified and have an appropriate level of numeracy and literacy. A number of government-funded projects are available to help staff to improve core skills while they are training or in employment. Whilst the SFA will not place a formal exit requirement of GCSEs, they do expect providers of standalone (non-apprenticeship) courses to support learners to achieve the necessary GCSEs in English and maths alongside their Early Years Educator qualifications.


In addition to these change made last week to Level 3 standalone entry requirements, we can confirm that individuals who started and gained Early Years Teacher Status from September 2014 can be counted in the ratios at Level 3.

  •  This recognises the fact that holders of EYTS have passed the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy required for entry to Early Years Teacher training courses and as part of their level 6 course will have studied approaches to teaching numeracy and literacy for children under 5.
  • Providers of Early Years ITT have also been informed of this change.
  • The change to the Qualifications List relates to qualifications started from September 2014 onwards. People who have begun training to achieve QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) after September 2014 will also be able to count in the ratios at Level 3 without the need for GCSEs in English and maths. People who began training for relevant qualifications before September 2014 (including for Early Years Professional Status, which preceded Early Years Teacher Status) are unaffected by this change and can continue to be counted within the level 3 ratios’.