Early Education and Childcare NC @ SCQF Level 6



If you want to pursue a career working with children and young people, this course will develop your understanding, skills, and existing strengths that would support a career in early learning and childcare. This course aims to effectively prepare you for further study or employment.

The NC in Early Education and Childcare can help you gain entry to Higher National Certificate (HNC) courses or can lead to a variety of career pathways within the sector.

A focus of the course is the substantial work placement element that provides an essential link to the learning units within the qualification as well as an opportunity to develop essential employability skills and enhance opportunities for career prospects.

Course code



Dumfries Campus



This is a full-time 36-week programme. You will attend college for a minimum of 2.5 days per week. This may be a blended approach of in person and online classes. You will also have to undertake a work placement of 1 to 2 days per week with an additional two-week block placement included at one point in the year. The placement is an essential part of the qualification.

You need to be able to attend all lessons and work placement experience.

Entry Requirements

For entry to this course, you will need:

  • An interest in working in the Early Learning and Childcare sector.
  • Four relevant National 5s or equivalent, (such as Intermediate 2; Standard Grade Credit Level etc.) one of which must include English or communication. Two should be at a B pass or above OR a relevant course at SCQF Level 5 such as Playwork and Childcare at SCQF level 5 AND
  • One National 4 in numeracy or maths.
  • Evidence of work experience or volunteering with children and young people.
  • Please make sure to answer the Supporting Information Questions on the application form, with as much detail as possible. This will demonstrate your commitment to the course.
  • You need to be 16 years or above by the end of September 2024.
  • For progressing students, successful completion of the previous course and a positive progressing learner reference

Applications are encouraged from mature students who do not possess formal qualifications but have appropriate understanding and skills to meet the academic demands of the course.

A satisfactory Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check is also required to enable participation in placement.

Information and Interview Session Requirements

  • Applicants may have an interview with college staff to determine their suitability for the programme.
  • All applicants must demonstrate motivation and possess appropriate abilities and skills to attend the programme they have chosen.
  • All learners on a college course who wish to continue on to a further programme must be able to obtain a positive progressing learner reference.

Course Content

The course aims to give you:

  • An understanding of the responsibilities of working within the Early Years sector and valuable opportunities to develop skills in working with and caring for young learners.
  • Theoretical and underpinning knowledge that drive practices in all early learning and childcare settings. This will include child development and wellbeing and the factors that can influence these outcomes. You will learn about the importance of play in early learning and theoretical play approaches. You will also acquire practical skills of planning, implementing and reviewing quality play experiences for a range of different ages. These play experiences will involve both indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Positive attitude to learning including working with other students
  • Flexible approaches to solving problems and developing meta skills
  • Developing skills and resilience to be independent in your learning.
  • Build confidence to set goals, reflect and learn from experience.


All components of the programme are assessed. A variety of assessment approaches are used, for example, practical observations of work undertaken on placement, portfolios of evidence of outcomes attained, written reports, oral presentations, project assignments etc.

All units must be passed in order to successfully complete in the course.


Successful completion of the course will enable you to have the choice of:

  • Progressing onto an HNC course such as HNC Childhood Practice; HNC Social Services
  • Exit to employment to start your career in the sector as a Support Worker in a range of early learning and childcare settings.

Career Prospects

  • Exit to employment to start your career in the sector as a Support Worker in a range of early learning and childcare settings. Click here for details.
  • or Vocational Studies in Childcare/Care

After achieving your NC qualification, possible careers include:

  • A breadth of Early Years Practitioner roles (age range 0-16)
  • Diverse roles working with children and families across the sector, including ASN support roles.
  • Progression to HNC Early Education and Childcare which can lead to a variety of careers in early years, teaching, and social work.

Additional funding information

You may be eligible for Bursary or EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) funding for this course. Please contact a member of the funding team for details.

Selling Points

  • This course can lead directly to employment as a Support Worker within an early years and childcare setting.
  • This qualification enables you to register with the Scottish Social Services Council as a Support Worker
  • Can progress to HNC Childhood Practice. Gaining this qualification can lead to employment as an Early Years Practitioner or enable progression to higher education such as the BA in Childhood Studies.
  • Significant work experience in an early learning and childcare setting.

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