To undertake a level 4 qualification, most training providers insist on candidates having a level 3 qualification and significant practical experience at level 3. They may also insist on Maths and English at GCSE grade 4 or equivalent.
The DfE states that the following level 4 qualifications are considered to have met the EYFS criteria and can be counted in level 3 ratios.
- A Certificate of Higher Education in early years, early childhood studies or childcare with an element of assessed performance in an early years setting.
- A Higher National Certificate in early years, early childhood studies or childcare with an element of assessed performance in an early years setting.
Currently the only qualifications that meet these requirements are for practitioners who work in Montessori settings.
There are also a range of level 4 qualifications available that form part of a progression route or which practitioners choose to undertake to develop skills and knowledge in a specific area of work.
Level 5 and 6
Undertaking a Diploma of High Education, a Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree (e.g. FdA in Early Years Practice) in a relevant field provides a level 5 qualification.
It is possible to ‘top up’ this qualification to degree level, which would mean studying at level 6.
To be counted in ratios at level 3, the level 5 and 6 qualification needs to be sector specific and contain an element of assessed performance as defined by the DfE and have achieved GCSEs in Maths and English at grade 4 or above.
Level 5 Apprenticeship
Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner apprenticeship for practitioners working directly with children, skilfully leading day to day practice. The apprenticeship is available for practitioners who are already working in early years with a level 3 qualification and maths and English GCSE grade 4 or Functional Skills level 2. Apprentices without the English and maths requirement will need to achieve this prior to taking the End-Point Assessment for their apprenticeship qualification. The apprenticeship lasts for approximately 24 months and should be completed in this time. Full information is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)
‘Early Years Teachers will be specialists in early childhood development, trained to work with babies and young children from birth to five years. They will be graduate leaders responsible for organising and leading high-quality practice in Early Years settings.’ (DfE 2013).
For more information go to: Get Into Teaching: Early years teacher training (education.gov.uk)
Fully funded spaces are available for some routes into the Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) programme.
For more information and entry requirements go to: Early years initial teacher training: 2021 to 2022 funding guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)