Childhood Practice HNC @ SCQF Level 7


If you want to pursue a career in working with children, this programme provides an opportunity to develop knowledge, experience and skills to gain employment as a Nursery Practitioner in Early Learning and Childcare settings or as a pathway if you wish to undertake further study.

Early childhood experiences are now widely recognised as playing a key role in future life chances and achievement for children. Early Learning & Childcare practitioners can make a meaningful difference to the lives and outcomes of young learners.

Pursuing a career in the Early Learning and Childcare sector can be a rewarding and exciting profession with a clear progression pathway.

This programme is a nationally recognised qualification for people who want to work in a variety of early learning and childcare settings, supporting children and young people with varying needs.

The focus of this programme is to provide students an opportunity to understand current Early Learning and Childcare practice and especially within a regional context. The course also provides placements to support your ability to apply theoretical knowledge into your practice. The course aims to cultivate a reflective professional workforce that continuously improves quality practice and attain the practical aptitudes required by a practitioner in the sector.

On successful completion of this programme, you will be eligible to register with the Scottish Social Service Council (SSSC) at practitioner level.

The flexibility in the framework of this HNC makes the award suitable for full and part-time learners.

Course code



Dumfries Campus



This programme is undertaken over 36 weeks. You will have a blend of college-based class lessons and online learning for approximately 2.5 days per week. There are also three blocks of work placement in an early learning and childcare setting. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a short block placement during the academic year.

You must be able to attend all lessons and work placement experience is essential.

Entry Requirements

For Entry to this course, you will need:

  • To demonstrate a real interest in the Practitioner Role, working with children and families
  • A minimum of 2 relevant Highers, including English at Grade C or above OR
  • 1 Higher English at level C or above and a relevant course at SCQF level 6 (such as Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services Children and Young People) OR
  • NC Higher Early Education and Childcare, NC Higher Health and Social Care, SVQ Social Services: Children and Young People (or equivalent)


  • Evidence of relevant sector experience in a formal early learning and childcare or school setting.
  • Successful performance at an interview.
  • PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) eligibility
  • You must be over 17 years of age at the start of the course.

If you are currently studying at the college, you will also require a positive progressing learner reference.

Information and Interview Session Requirements

If selected, you may be asked to attend an interview session. This may be face to face, or online through TEAMS or by phone.

Your interview process will contain the following:

  • Evidence of your qualifications, employment experience and an interest in the sector as demonstrated in your application.
  • Written Task.
  • Interview /discussion with a member(s) of staff.
  • PVG eligibility

We will ensure the entry requirements and your aspirations and career plan are appropriate for the course and the level of course you have applied for. It is therefore important that you prepare well for this interview.

Course Content

This is a demanding course which will enable you to acquire a good understanding of the professional role of an early year’s practitioner. It will support you in developing the essential knowledge and skills needed to work in an early learning and childcare setting.
The course will include a mixture of delivery approaches using online virtual platforms; classroom lessons and work placement experiences.
Here is a brief taste of what you will be doing:

  • Exploring a variety of guidance, frameworks and policies that are in place to support children and young people’s learning, development and play in an early year setting.
  • Learning about health, wellbeing and safeguarding issues, becoming familiar with legislation and policies, protective and preventative health measures and the practitioner’s role in safeguarding children and young people.
  • Developing your skills and approaches to enable children’s development in language, literacy, and numeracy.
  • Investigating the complexities of human development through psychological theories and gaining an understanding of how life experiences can affect development, behaviour and additional support needs.
  • Studying the contribution sociology gives to professional practice through exploring care in contemporary society.
  • Working in an early learning and childcare setting you will develop your skills in promoting effective communication with children and colleagues, develop observations skills, learn how to record and report children’s progress and plan experiences and next steps to support children’s learning and development.


A variety of approaches are taken, such as practical observations of work at placement, written assignments, building portfolios of evidence, academic essays, presentations, etc.


  • BA Childhood Practice
  • Progression to Primary Education Articulation Pathway
  • PDA Childhood Practice Level 8 (dependent on level of experience of working within the sector)

For applicants who wish to use the successful completion of the HNC Childhood Practice qualification as a pathway to become a Primary Teacher you will need the following:

First Year entry to the MA (Hons) in Primary Education with Teaching Qualification

  • Higher English pass at Level B or above and
  • National 5 Mathematics OR National 5 Applications of Mathematics pass at level B or above and
  • Minimum Grade B in the Graded Unit component of the HNC Childhood Practice qualification and
  • A successful interview undertaken with University of Glasgow.

All students who have gained successful entry to a University of Glasgow degree programme will be required to attend a summer school in preparation for the academic year ahead

Career Prospects

This qualification can lead directly to employment in the voluntary, private, or local authority sector as a Nursery Practitioner. Successful completion of this course will allow you to register with SSSC (Scottish Social Service Council) as a practitioner. Employment can be pursued in nurseries, schools, hospitals and other childcare facilities or progression to teacher training.

You can progress to other related career pathways if interested in working in social services with children and young people.

Additional funding information

You should apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Please visit their website: for further details for full and part-time study.

Selling Points

Nationally recognised qualification and valued award for people who want to work in a variety of early learning and childcare settings.

The course meets the registration requirements set by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) as a Practitioner

You will undertake a significant work placement which includes completion of three units from the SVQ3 Social Services: Children and Young People

You can progress directly to employment as an Early Learning and Childcare Practitioner on gaining this qualification.

You may progress onto the second year of the BA Childhood Studies at level 9 and 10 at the University of West of Scotland.
You may progress to year one or year two of the MA(Hons) in Primary Education with Teaching Qualification Programme at the University of Glasgow dependent on qualifications and entry criteria.

A variety of other career progressions pathways available within the sector:

You can progress to other career pathways if interested in working in social services with children and young people. (

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