Qualifications in Early Years

EYFS statutory framework 2021

The EYFS statutory framework sets out the requirements for staff to child ratios in EYFS settings and the qualification levels that practitioners must hold. As someone looking to undertake a qualification or as a manager looking to recruit someone with an existing qualification it is very important to make sure that the qualification is ‘full and relevant’ if the individual is to be counted in ratio.

Whilst we can advise on qualifications, Suffolk County Council does not have a role in approving or inspecting practitioner qualifications. This is part of Ofsted’s role who inspect early years providers against the EYFS framework.

Checking qualifications

Holders of level 2 qualifications that are considered ‘full and relevant’ can be counted within the ratios at level 2.  Holders of level 3 qualifications and above, for example Foundation Degrees and Degrees that are considered ‘full and relevant’ can be counted within the ratios at level 3.

To find out more about qualification levels and to check if a qualification is considered full and relevant you can go to EYFS staff:child ratios – DfE approved qualifications – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Qualification routes

There are two qualification routes to gaining an early years’ qualification:

  • Full time study in college with placements in early years’ provision.
  • Apprenticeship based in an early years’ provision.

Choosing a training provider

There are a range of training providers both locally and nationally who offer the various levels of early years qualifications.  When choosing a training provider there are several things to consider:

  • the cost of the qualification – individual training providers charge different rates, which reflect the type of service they provide,
  • learning options – there are a range of learning options from regular attendance in a classroom to distance learning. 
  • the start date for the qualification and time given for completion – it is possible to enrol with some providers at any point during the year (rolling/open enrolment) and set the target completion date.  However, other providers will have a clear start and finish date.
  • learner feedback – review the learning experiences of other practitioners with the training provider.  For example, what level of support they give, the quality of the teaching and the time taken to receive feedback on work submitted.