Early Education and Childcare NC @ SCQF Level 6


It is now widely recognised that effective early learning and childcare experiences have a key role in future life chances and achievement. Research has demonstrated that play, both structured and as an unstructured free flow child led immersive experience, can benefit childrens' social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language development.  It's much more than just lots of fun! This course demands a significant amount of research and writing to be undertaken as you learn about the theory and practices relevant to the early learning and childcare sector.

This course is seen as a prerequisite to the HNC in Childhood Practice and provides an integrated programme of theory and practice at SCQF level 6.  It gives you the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understanding to enable you to work effectively in certain posts within the sector. 

A focus of the course is the substantial work placement element that provides essential links with local organisations and supports the development of employability skills, and enhances opportunities for career prospects.

Course code





This is a full time programme and will take place over 36 weeks.

Entry Requirements

For entry to this course you’ll need:

  • A real interest in children’s learning and development and working in the sector.
  • Five relevant National 5s or equivalent, including English.  Two should be at a B pass or above OR a relevant course at SCQF Level 5.
  • A successful interview with us, including an individual written task around a relevent topic within early learning and childcare. (See question outlined below in information about interview session)
  • To include a detailed and well written accurate personal statement outlining your early learning and childcare work experience, also demonstrating your committment and enthusiasm for working in the sector.  Should be approximately 250 words.
  • To have the capacity to commit to a demanding course and be able to attend 100% to all college based classes, online classes and be able to attend a work placement at the required starting and finishing times demonstrating a professional reliability to the setting.
  • Eligible to be a member of the PVG scheme 
  • To be 16 yrs or over at the start of the programme.
  • If you don’t have formal qualifications, but have relevant life experience and a clear understanding of the importance of the Early Years Practitioner role, we may consider you for a place, so please call us for a chat.
  • For progressing students successful completion of the previous course and a positive progressing learner reference

Additional Entry Requirements

  • All applicants will 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.

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

All applicants must atted the information and interview session having prepared well to discuss or write about the following question:

 'Why is play important for children of all ages?'


Course Content

This course offers you the opportunity to develop an understanding of how children learn and develop.  You will  discover how to be in tune with children’s thinking.  You will have the opportunity to practice your skills and apply the theory you've been learning about in an early learning and childcare work placement. 

Here’s just some of what you’ll be doing:

  • You will learn about child development from pre-birth to 16 years and investigate a range of child development theory.
  • You will examine the holistic needs of children and young people and factors that influence their development.
  • You will discover how important play is and how it benefits a developing child under 12 years.
  • You will  develop skills to support different types of children’s play, such as discovery, symbolic, creative, games, play that supports language development, 
  • Through developing an understanding of working with children up to age 12 in an early education and childcare setting you will be able to contribute effectively to their care, learning and development.
  • You will investigate children’s rights and entitlements to protection from abuse and exploitation.
  • You will learn how to manage and support children’s behaviour, including factors that can influence their behaviours. 
  • You will discover how to support language, literacy and numeracy for children and young people from birth to 18 years.
  • Gain a lot of pleasure and enjoyment at your placement!


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.


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.

After achieving a related HNC 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.

Some candidates have also progressed to: Primary Education Teaching, 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 early years and childcare setting.
  • This qualification enables you to register with the Scottish Social Services Council.
  • Currently expanding workforce within early learning and childcare sector
  • 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.