This is a challenging two year course which is exciting and rigorous. Learners who successfully complete the BTEC Level 3 National Diploma or Extended Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development will be able to practice as Early Years Educators (providing you also have GCSE maths and English at C/4 or above or Level 2 Functional Skills). Learners can be sure that they are taking a qualification that is respected by employers, the early years sector and higher education institutions. The full Extended Diploma qualification is equivalent to three A-levels in terms of size, and the Diploma is equivalent to two A-levels. Learners can gain up to 168 UCAS points for progression to university.
This course is designed for 16-18 year old and will be delivered as a study programme which includes math and English where applicable and work experience. The course will include a substantial amount of careers related learning designed to support progression to the suitable next step, this could include educational trips, employability skills and employer encounters such as guest speakers.
Job roles may include:
• Teaching Assistant
• Early Years Educator
• Family Support Worker
• Children’s Holiday Representative
Employment areas may include:
• Private nurseries
• Children’s Centres
• Specialist support work
Students completing the full National Extended Diploma may also progress onto Higher Education courses which may include:
• Teacher Training BA Hons (English, Maths and Science at grade C/4 or higher are needed)
• Higher National Diploma
• Children’s Nursing
• Early Years and Education
3 GCSEs at grade A*-C OR a Level 2 related qualification PLUS GCSE maths and English at grade C/4 or higher.
Students will also need to take part in a group assessment to check communication and interpersonal skills to ensure you are suitable for a career in child education and placement ready.
If you are progressing from another course in College, a tutor recommendation will be needed, detailing your record of attendance and commitment to your studies.
The course enables you to develop a substantial common core of knowledge, including; child development; play and learning; health and safety; safeguarding; observation; assessment and planning; working with parents and others; reflective practice; meeting children’s physical development needs; supporting children’s speech; communication and language; supporting children’s literacy and numeracy; and the Early Years Foundation Stage. In addition there are specialist units which will allow you to gain additional understanding of the needs of children, such as working with children with additional needs, working with children under 3 years, and career development and healthy eating.
You will be required to undertake work placements in three placement settings, and complete a minimum of 750 hours’ work experience with different age groups to develop the work skills required to gain employment in early years settings. The age ranges are 0-2 years (in nursery or home-based care), 2-4 years (in nursery or pre-school settings) and 5-8 years (in a classroom setting). During the placements, learners are required to complete the Practical Evidence Portfolio which allows you to provide evidence of improving skills practice and developing early years.
You will be continuously assessed throughout the course by completing assignments which will be graded at Pass, Merit or distinction level. You will also be required to sit two or three written exams set by the Awarding Body for Unit 1: Child Development. You will have a maximum of three attempts to pass the exam to successfully gain the qualification. The final part of your assessment is to complete the Practical Evidence Portfolio during your work placements.
For the Extended Diploma (three A-levels) you will also be required to sit the following three exams: Children’s Development; Communication and Numeracy; Research.
If you undertake the Diploma (two A-levels) you will not sit the research exam or the optional specialist units.
On completion of the full course you will receive a National Diploma or Extended Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development (Early Years Educator). Please be aware that in order to secure a job as an early years educator and count in the level 3 staff: child ratio under the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), you will need to have a GCSE at grade C/4 or higher in English/English Language and Maths or a Level 2 Functional Skills qualification in these subjects.
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