Access to HNC Childhood Practice (SWAP) (NQ) @ SCQF Level 6


This exciting programme is designed for adults with no or few qualifications who want to become involved in a career in childhood practice or early years. Work in early years is changing in Scotland and there are good career opportunities in a rewarding and key job area for the development of the future life chances of children and families. The programme is specifically developed for those who wish to progress to HNC and make a difference.

This programme provides the opportunity for progression to an HNC Childhood Practice course. The HNC provides good career opportunities and if you wish you can progress to degree study. (The HNC Childhood Practice is the first year of the BA Childhood Studies/BA Childhood Practice degree at UWS and other universities with an articulation agreement in place). 

The course is challenging and considerable study will be required out with college time. 
You must be able to cope with the demands placed on you for study and work placement as you are developing a career path where others are reliant on you to be there for them.

The programme includes work placement in an early learning and childcare setting and a variety of both practical and theoretical study.




Full Time college course and is delivered within 36 weeks.

Entry Requirements

  • This programme is designed for adults who have been out of education for at least 3 years, who left school without any qualifications or have qualifications which are now out of date and are therefore unable to apply to HNC.
  • There will be a requirement to become a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG Scheme).
  • Applications may only be accepted from those residing in Scotland.
  • Applicants will be required to undertake a literacy test as part of the entry interview which is scored.
  • If you already hold the entry criteria for HNC or university study, you will not be eligible to apply for this programme.  Those who already hold degrees, HND or HNC are also not eligible for this programme.
  • Final selection for entry to this course will involve an interview with college staff delivering on the HNC programme.
  • 100% attendance is required for this programme
  • Please note this course is only for those interested in pursuing a career within the Early Learning and Childcare sector.

Additional Entry Requirements

  • You must not hold qualifications that would allow entry to HNC or university already, you should be a mature learner
  • If you hold qualifications at SCQF 5 already then you must also have been out of full time education for more than three years
  • If you hold qualifications at SCQF 6 already then you must also have been out of full time education for more than five years
  • School leavers WILL NOT be considered.
  • You must be residing in SCOTLAND
  • You must be eligible to become a member of PVG
  • You must come well prepared for interview and take a written test.  

Information and Interview Session Requirements

Once we have received your application you will be asked to attend an informal information and interview session. This may be virtual either through TEAMS or by phone but remember to tell us all about yourself in your personal statement!

This is a key aspect of the application process. You must confirm your attendance should you be offered an appointment. 

During the information and interview session, 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.

  • Applicants must take part in the interview session.
  • Be prepared to sit a written communications test.  You will be asked to write around 250 words in 20 minutes for us to assess your writing potential.  You may be given a topic such as My Home Town, My Greatest Achievement, My Hopes for the Future. The topic will be decided for you on the day.
  • The interview will be similar to the HNC Childhood Practice recruitment process where each individual will be given the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics relevant to a career in early learning and childcare.  This may take the form of discussing a topic relevant to early learning and childcare which will be given to you well in advance of your interview so that you can prepare for this.  It will also involve asking for your comments/thoughts on an unseen but relevant topic within early learning and childcare.
  • You should also be prepared to discuss:
    • Strengths and weaknesses.
    • Skills you have that would be useful as an Early years Practitioner.
    • Your understanding of the role of the adult in an early years setting.
    • Your understanding of the current key issues in early learning and childcare.
  • All learners on a programme who wish to continue on to a further programme must be able to obtain a positive progressing learner reference.

Course Content

The programme may include the following units, which will be a combination of National 5, and Higher Units: Development of Children and Young People, Play for Children and Young People, Wellbeing and Safety of Children and Young People, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Communication, ICT, Numeracy  and Preparation for Higher Education. You will receive input from SWAP and the HNC Childhood Practice team during the programme to support you in your application for the HNC.

In order to progress to the HNC Childhood Practice Programme you must obtain at least 3 B Profile Grades from your lecturers which will be decided at a team assessment board at the end of the academic year.  These grades are based on three key areas:     

  1. Ability to handle text (including comprehension, critical analysis and retention)
  2. Fluency of expression (both written and oral)                
  3. Overall performance

The course content is subject to change.



A range of assessment strategies are used, for example, written essays, individual and group presentations, closed book short answer responses, portfolio of evidence and tasks undertaken on work placement. You must pass all of these, receive a good reference and have an excellent attendance record to be considered for a place on the HNC Childhood Practice programme.


Successful completion of the programme may provide articulation to the HNC Childhood Practice programme.

You also have the opportunity to apply for articulation to the 2nd year of BA Childhood Studies Degree at UWS after you have successfully obtained your HNC Childhood Practice qualification.

Career Prospects

Employment may be sought in an early learning and childcare setting e.g. as a Support Worker or Care Assistant. 
On progressing to complete a HNC Childhood Practice, students may also want to apply for employment as an Early Years Practitioner or progress to the second year of the BA Childhood Studies Programme in order to become a Lead/Senior Practitioner or Manager in an early years establishment.

The following link provides advice and guidance on careers  within the sector

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.  Your funding may be with-held for non-engagement in coursework and for non-attendance at lessons.

Selling Points

One year of study to gain all the entry criteria to go on an HNC Childhood Practice Programme.

Ideal for those seeking to change career.

A programme for those who have no formal qualifications and have been out of education for a while,  but now feel ready to pursue the career they’ve always wanted.