Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator)

What does the qualification cover?

The Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) prepares learners to become Early Years Educators, enabling them to work with children from birth to 5 years and gain knowledge of children aged 5 to 7 years.

Upon achievement of this qualification it is intended that learners will be able to enter the workforce as Early Years Educators.

As the leading Awarding Organisation in the care sector we have surpassed the minimum requirements set out in the Full and Relevant Criteria to develop a qualification which reflects the priorities of practitioners and employers to meet the needs of young children.

UCAS Information

UCAS points for this qualification are available from 2017.

Who is it suitable for?

This qualification is suitable for a range of learners, either working or wishing to work in early years education and care.

What are our entry requirements?

You should be at least 16 years old. We do not set any other entry requirements but colleges or training providers may have their own guidelines.

Early Years Educator: GCSE Requirements

From 3 April 2017, the requirement for Level 3 Early Years Educators (EYE) to hold GCSE English and maths A*-C, will be broadened to Level 2 qualifications, including Functional Skills. This will also apply to an apprenticeship route.

This will enable staff with an EYE qualification and Level 2 English and mathematics qualifications to count in the Level 3 staff: child ratios in childcare settings. This includes those who already hold an EYE qualification, began studying an EYE from September 2014, or will achieve an EYE in the future.

Please refer to the Early Years Workforce Strategy (March 2017) for further details.

Apprenticeship exit requirement

The Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) forms part of the Early Years Pathway of the Advanced Apprenticeship for the Children and Young People’s Workforce. English and maths GCSEs at grade C or above are a completion requirement for childcare apprentices.

For accepted equivalencies for GCSE English and maths, please refer to the Department of Education website, Early Years Qualifications List.

Education Funding Agency-funded learners

Learners aged 16-19 (and learners aged 19-24 with learning difficulties and/or disabilities) funded by the Education Funding Agency will not require GCSE English and maths grade A* - C prior to commencing their Early Years Educator qualification.

How is this qualification structured? We have structured the units around three themes:

• Theme 1: Health and well-being
• Theme 2: Legislation, frameworks and professional practice
• Theme 3: Play, development and learning for school readiness


Learners must achieve:

• 23 mandatory units
• Guided Learning 486 (hours)
• Total Qualification Time 610 (hours)

How is this qualification structured?

We have structured the units around three themes:

• Theme 1: Health and well-being
• Theme 2: Legislation, frameworks and professional practice
• Theme 3: Play, development and learning for school readiness

How is it assessed?

To gain this qualification the learner will need to:

• Pass all units
• Complete longitudinal study
• Show competence in a real work environment

Do you need to have access to practical placement?

Placements are required for achievement of this qualification. A minimum of 350 placement hours is required. During placement, learners will need support from a professional within the real work environment who will be required to complete professional development records.

How long does it take to complete?

This qualification will take 1-2 years to complete depending on experience.

What related qualifications can you progress to?

Learners can progress to the Level 4 Certificate for the Early Years Advanced Practitioner or other higher level early years qualifications.

Which type of job roles can you apply for on completion?

Upon achievement of this qualification learners will gain their licence to practise and it is intended that learners will be able to enter the workforce as Early Years Educators. Learners can progress into various job roles in the statutory, voluntary or private sectors such as:

• Assistant in Children's Centres
• Practitioner in nursery schools
• Practitioner in reception classes in primary schools
• Pre-school worker