Lifetime Skills Guarantee – free early years courses

Tens of thousands of adults will be able to benefit from almost 400 free courses next year, including courses for early years professionals, in the first major development in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee announced by the Prime Minister in September 2020.

The fully-funded courses will be available to adults without a full qualification at Level 3 (A-level equivalent) from April 2021 to help them gain in-demand skills and open up further job opportunities. The list of courses includes a number in child development and wellbeing, such as a Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce and a Level 3 Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development. A full list of courses on offer at Level 3 is available here.

Find out more about the courses on offer

Early Years Practitioner (Level 2) Qualifications

New level 2 Early Years Practitioner qualifications developed to meet the new DfE level 2 criteria came into effect from 1 September 2019.

From this date anyone wishing to work in the level 2 staff:child ratios of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) has to take a qualification that meets the Early Years Practitioner criteria

The level 2 Early Years Practitioner (EYP) qualifications that have been approved by the DfE for working in the level 2 ratios are shown on the Early Years Qualification List.

The EYP qualifications are available as a standalone qualification or as part of the Children and Young People’s Workforce Intermediate apprenticeship framework (early years pathway). The framework was updated on 1 September 2019 to show the new EYP qualifications.

Level 2 qualifications that practitioners started or achieved before 1 September 2019 will still be recognised. For more information on this and the level 2 EYP qualifications, click here.

Apprenticeship Case Studies

Early Years Qualifications and Apprenticeships Webinar

We were delighted to have Ian Ward, Team Leader Early Years Workforce at the Department for Education (DfE) join us live to answer your questions about new qualifications and apprenticeship developments.

The session covered:

  • Workforce requirements
  • Tips for using the Early Years Qualifications List
  • Developments in Level 2 qualifications, apprenticeships, and T Levels.
  • Funding for training

You can view the webinar below and download the webinar slides here.

Common core of skills and knowledge for the children’s and young people’s workforce

This Common Core of Skills and Knowledge document sets out the basic skills and knowledge needed by people whose work (paid or voluntary) brings them into regular contact with children, young people and families. This advice is non-statutory.

Early years qualifications – ‘knowledge only’ pathway

To enable progression for learners who are unable to access a work placement due to the COVID-19 restrictions, NCFE CACHE worked together with Ofqual, the Department for Education (DfE), the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and UCAS to agree how learners can progress through a ‘knowledge only’ version of EYE or EYP qualifications.

Therefore, certificates need to be carefully checked as the ‘knowledge only’ pathway does not allow the holder to practice as an early years educator or early years practitioner.

The NCFE CACHE have issued a statement with further information about this and DfE have updated the early years qualification list and spreadsheets showing the impacted qualifications.

Read the statement