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Early Years Workforce/Educator L3 Dip. (Distance Learning) at National Extension College *Fees Payable*

Course description



This qualification is designed to cover everything you need to become an Early Years Educator. You will learn how to provide a safe, nurturing and supportive environment for children aged between 0-5 during this important stage of their development. The course will enable you to work with and care for children from birth to 5 years, and you will also gain knowledge of children aged 5-7 years. This CACHE qualification replaces the Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce and sets the standards for all childcare and early years professionals. Upon completing the course you can progress into a wide range of job roles in the statutory, voluntary or private sectors, including practising in day nurseries, nursery schools, reception classes in primary schools, pre-schools, or working as a home-based childcarer. 


You should allow for approximately 486 hours' study time, plus additional time spent in your setting or settings, and time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 24 months from the date of enrolment.

Course content

Theme 1: Health and well-being
Theme 2: Legislation, frameworks and professional practice
Theme 3: Play, development and learning for school readiness
Theme 4: Professional development


Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, but we would expect you to have substantial experience of working in an Early Years environment, or a relevant Level 2 qualification, before embarking on this course. You will need to have a good command of basic English, be at least 16 years of age, and be working or volunteering in a relevant childcare setting or settings, ensuring that you work with the following age groups:

  • 0 years - 1 year 11 months
  • 2 years - 2 years 11 months
  • 3 years - 5 years

You need to spend a minimum of 25 hours with each age group, up to a total mimimum of 350 hours.

This is an online course so you will also need easy access to the internet.


You will create an online portfolio of evidence using different formats such as learning plans, written tasks, and discussion. You will also undertake two longitudinal studies, one for a child under 36 months of age, and the other for a child over 36 months of age. Both studies end with direct observation in the workplace. There will therefore be two workplace assessment days for this course.

Financial information



It’s your choice: pay in full and discount your course fees, or spread the cost with our finance offer. To pay in instalments, you will need to enrol by telephone.


Representative example:

Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months

NEC acts as a credit intermediary and only offers credit through Pay4Later with Omni Capital finance. Finance is offered subject to age and status. Other options available, please contact us for details or to enrol.

NEC will register you for this qualification with the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE).The £125 registration fee is not included in your course fee and will need to be paid in addition at the time of enrolment.

Further information

This course is entirely self-contained so no additional textbooks are required. However, it is recommended that you purchase the following book for additional reading: “CACHE Level 3 Early Years Educator for the Work-Based Learner” by Penny Tassoni (ISBN: 9781471808067), costing approximately £25.This is not included in your course fee.

To achieve this qualification you'll need to gain 61 credits by completing the mandatory units.

You’ll work through this course using the NEC Laser: an online learning system that makes completing your course – submitting your work, doing activities and getting feedback – straightforward and enjoyable. The system is easy to use and all the work you complete is recorded in your learner profile, forming an online portfolio.

As this course is delivered online, you will need a computer with an internet connection, word processing software, Flash Player and Acrobat Reader. You will need to be confident using the internet, sending and receiving emails with attachments and producing basic documents using a word processor.

To gain this qualification you will need to register with CACHE. We will take care of this process, but you will need to pay an additional registration fee which is not included in the price of your course.

This course requires you to have a regular work placement in an appropriate childcare setting or settings. Your setting(s) must be able to arrange one or more sessions of practical assessments. You will need to gather evidence from your setting(s) such as accident reports, health and safety procedures, and feedback on child behaviour. Your face-to-face assessor will require you to talk about your experiences at your setting.

You will need to give details of the workplace setting when you enrol, and your manager will need to confirm some information.

If you are based overseas it is essential that you contact our course advice team before enrolling on this course.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact National Extension College *Fees Payable* directly.

Last updated date: 24 July 2019
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      This means you can study from anywhere!

      Further details of where you can sit any examinations are included in the Assessment section of each course.

      Please note that fees are payable for the National Extension College's courses.