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Childrens Play, Learning & Development Early Years Educator BTEC Level 3 at Lancaster and Morecambe College

Course description

This is a challenging two year course which is exciting and rigorous. Learners who successfully complete the BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development will be able to practise as Early Year’s Educators (providing you also have GCSE Maths and English at C or above). Learners can be sure that they are taking a qualification that is respected by employers, the early years sector and higher education institutions. The full qualification is equivalent to three A-levels in terms of size. 

Course content

The course enables you to develop a substantial common core of knowledge, including child development, play and learning, health and safety, safeguarding, observations, assessment and planning, working with parents and others, reflective practice, meeting children’s physical development, supporting children’s speech, communication and language, supporting children’s literacy and numeracy, and the Early Years Foundation Stage. In addition there are specialist units which will allow you to gain additional understanding of the needs of children, such as working with children with additional needs, working with children under 3 years, and promoting children’s development outdoors.

You will be required to undertake work placements in three placement settings, and complete a minimum of 750 hours’ work experience with different age groups to develop the work skills required to gain employment in early years settings. The age ranges are 0-2 years (in nursery or home-based care), 2-4 years (in nursery or pre-school settings) and 5-8 years (in a classroom setting). During the placements, learners are required to complete the Practical Evidence Portfolio which allows you to provide evidence of improving skills, developing early years practice and knowledge in specific settings.

All students aged 16 -19 are required to study Functional English and Maths qualifications or GCSE Mathematics and English if not already awarded a grade A*-C in these subjects. If you have a grade D at GCSE you will study maths and/or English GCSE. Students with a grade lower than D will work towards GCSE through the study of Maths and English Functional Skills. Students aged 19+ are strongly encouraged to take relevant maths and English qualifications to support progression into further or higher education, training or employment. 

Entry requirements

5 GCSEs at grade A*-C including English and maths OR a Level 2 related qualification. Entry criteria will be applied at the discretion of the course manager.


You will be continuously assessed throughout the course by completing assignments which will be graded at Pass, Merit or Distinction Level. You will also be required to sit a written exam set by the Awarding Body for Unit 1: Child Development. You will have a maximum of three attempts to pass the exam to successfully gain the qualification. The final part of your assessment is to complete the Practical Evidence Portfolio during the work placement.

Financial information

There will be the cost of educational visits which will be organised for you during the course. This means you will need to pay £20 during the first week of your course. When working with children, you will have to wear the college uniform, costing approximately:

• Polo shirt - £12.00

• Sweatshirt - £14.00 (optional)

Future opportunities

Job roles may include: • Teaching Assistant • Early Years Educator • Nanny • Family Support Worker • Children’s Holiday Representative Employment areas may include: • Private nurseries • Children’s Centres • Specialist support work Students completing the full National Diploma may also progress onto Higher Education courses which may include: • Teacher Training BA Hons (English, Maths and Science at grades A*-C are needed) • Higher National Diploma • Children’s Nursing • Early Years and Education • Playwork 

Further information

You will be expected to undertake an extensive amount of course work during the two years. It is your responsibility to ensure that you allow sufficient time to complete home study. 

On completion of the full course you will receive a National Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development (Early Years Educator). Please be aware that in order to secure a job as an early years educator and count in the level 3 staff: child ratio under the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), you will need to complete the National Certificate or National Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development, and need to have a GCSE at grade C or above in English/English Language and Maths.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Lancaster and Morecambe College directly.

Last updated date: 04 May 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years
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