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Children's Play, Learning and Development National Diploma at West Lancashire College

Course description

The Children's Play, Learning and Development National Diploma is designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge for working in the Early Years sector. The range of units encourages a holistic view of child development and 750 hours work experience to help develop the practical skills required for working with children. Those wanting to work in the early years setting should be caring, responsible, good with children, patient, calm, efficient, energetic and creative. It provides an opportunity for learners to gain the nationally recognised Early Years Educator Status.

Those who wish to gain a recognised qualification in Children's Play, Learning and Development.

To work in an early years setting, you should be:

  • caring and have a responsible approach
  • good with children
  • patient, calm and efficient
  • energetic and creative
  • genuinely interested in children

Learners will undertake a period of work experience (a minimum of 750 hours) as part of the programme of study.

Maths and English will be part of your programme of study and you will study qualifications in Maths and English, appropriate to your level of ability, alongside your chosen course.

Course content

The course consists of various units, such as:

Core units:

  • Child Development
  • Play and Learning
  • Meeting Children's Physical Development, Physical Care and Health Needs
  • Health and Safety in Early Years Settings
  • Collaboration with Parents, Colleagues and Other Professionals in Early Years
  • Supporting Children's Communication and Language
  • Supporting Children's Personal, Social, Emotional Development
  • Child Protection
  • Observations, Assessment and Planning for Play and Development
  • Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in the Early Years
  • Reflecting on Own Early Years Practice

In addition learners will complete 750 hours compulsory work placement in 3 different placement settings and age ranges.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above (including English and maths) or a relevant Level 2 at Merit or above in a related subject (plus GCSE Maths or English at Grade C). Candidates will be interviewed to assess their suitability for the course.

A satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formally CRB checks).


The Child Development unit is externally assessed by Pearson. The remaining units are continuously assessed by coursework/assignments with some assessment taking place in the work place.

Future opportunities

Completion of the Level 3 qualification gives a Qualified Practitioner Status allowing the learner to go into employment in childcare and learning settings such as nurseries, schools, Sure Start centres, workplace creches and with holiday companies in this country and abroad. Entry to University to study early years/primary teaching, social work, paediatric nursing or other related degree. Many of the students on the course decide to continue their higher education at West Lancashire College undertaking the Foundation Degree in Children and Young People.

This qualification allows the learner to gain access to direct employment in the Early Years Sector as a qualified practitioner.  Through further study learners can progress onto careers in Teaching, Paediatric nursing and Social Work.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact West Lancashire College directly.

Last updated date: 17 June 2016
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