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Children's Play, Learning and Development (Level 3) at New College Swindon

Course description

The BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development (Early Years Educator) is for people interested in working with children from birth to seven years, 11 months.  You will develop the skills needed for a wide range of careers that involve the care and education of young children.

The course involves realistic assignments and projects which are directly linked to the work experience.  This gives you the opportunity to practice skills and develop teamwork.

Course content

The National Diploma consist of 13 core units and 7 specialist optional units, enabling learners to develop a substantial common core of knowledge including:

Child Development   

Health and Safety in Early Years Settings 

The Early Years Foundation Stage

Play and Learning

Observation, Assessment and Planning

You will study a number of units at any one time.  Each unit will vary in length and may be spread over one or more terms.

Entry requirements

You must have at least 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above, including English Language and Maths.  Students with equivalent qualifications or experience may be considered on individual merits. 

Progression onto the second year of the National Diploma course is dependent on your achievements during Year 1, including a minimum of 90% attendance, and successful completion of your first placement.

You will come into contact with children during this course.  To ensure their safety and yours, you may need a favourable DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check and registration.  If so, we will ask for the check and registration to be made before the start of the course.


  • Internally marked assessments
  • One externally marked assessment task, plus two Pearson-set assignments
  • Observations of your performance in the workplace, demonstrating competence in each age group
  • Complete a Practical Evidence Portfolio, reflecting on the development and learning of children during your placement.

Future opportunities

The National Diploma can lead directly to jobs in Early Years education.  You may find work as a nursery nurse or childcare worker, with voluntary and private agencies or with families.

You may also be able to access Higher Education, and progress to professional training in Early Years, such as Infant or Primary school teaching.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact New College Swindon directly.

Last updated date: 28 April 2016

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