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Professional Resources

Professional qualifications

The different levels of qualifications in the childcare sector and information on where you can access courses and support.

Professional Qualifications and Funding

Children develop rapidly in their early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five will have a major impact on their future life chances. Good parenting and high quality early learning, that gives children a broad range of knowledge, skills and understanding, together provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

It is therefore vital the early years workforce is well-qualified with the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to deliver high quality early education and childcare for children from birth to age five. 

We would therefore aspire that all individuals working with our most vulnerable members of society be qualified to at least a Level 3.  Many routes to Level 3 are available via adult apprenticeships.  In most instances individuals with some experience will be able to enrol straight onto a Level 3 qualification.  However, some individuals will be more suited to undertaking a Level 2 qualification first, it is therefore likely, that some of the workforce will be working towards a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification when they are employed in an early years provision.  Individuals whilst being unqualified can still be counted in the Staff:Child ratio. 

The minimum standards in relation to the ratio of qualification requirements for the early years workforce can be found in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and continue to be, in group settings (not childminders):-

For children aged under two: 

There must be at least one member of staff for every three children.

At least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant Level 3 qualification, and must be suitably experienced in working with children under two.

At least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant Level 2 qualification.

For children aged two:

There must be at least one member of staff for every four children.

At least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant Level 2 qualification.

For children aged three and over: (there are variations to this rule if a Level 6 qualified member of staff is in place)

There must be at least one member of staff for every eight children.

At least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant Level 2 qualification.

The above is clearly outlined and described in more detail in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

There are many qualifications which might appear to be relevant and at a specific Level (Level 2, Level 3 etc) but are not full and relevant for delivering the EYFS.  The Department for Education on the Early Years Qualification List published on GOV.UK stipulates exactly which current, new and old qualifications are full and relevant and therefore count in the ‘qualified Staff:Child' ratio when delivering the EYFS, they also include information on equivalent overseas qualifications. 

To count in the ratio’s at Level 3, staff holding an Early Years Educator qualification must also have achieved a suitable Level 2 qualification in English and maths as defined by the Department for Education on the Early Years qualifications List published on GOV.UK.  Level 3 early years educator: numeracy and literacy requirements

To count in the ratio’s at Level 2 and Level 3 newly qualified entrants who started work in the sector after 29 June 2016 must have either a Full Paediatric First Aid or an Emergency Paediatric First Aid certificate. 

Evidence clearly shows that settings which employ more highly qualified staff are more likely to attract a good or outstanding rating from Ofsted. We also know that the quality of staff is particularly important for supporting the development of disadvantaged children.

The gap between the development of disadvantaged children and their peers at age 5 is currently 4.3 months. Over the next 11 years of full-time education, this will worsen; the Education Policy Institute estimates how the gap grows from age 5 to 16:

  • there is a 4.3 month gap at the start of school between disadvantaged children and their classmates;
  • this more than doubles to 9.5 months by the end of primary school; and
  • then more than doubles again, to 19.3 months, by the end of secondary school

Much work is therefore needed to ensure all children receive the best start in life.

For detailed information and guidance at each qualification level please click on the buttons at the top of this page on the left hand side. To help choose your training provider have a look through our guidance leaflets:

If you choose to go with a training provider who does not appear on this list, please email childcare@leics.gov.uk to double check this trainer and qualification. Sadly there are many training companies who claim to offer Level 3 qualifications which are in fact NOT full and relevant in terms of delivering the EYFS and they WILL NOT count as a Level 3 in terms of ratios.

2018 local training providers

Lists of qualifications that meet the DfE criteria for counting in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework staff:child ratios for pre-September 2014 and from 1 September 2014

Please also take a look at our Key questions checklist PDF to support you in selecting a training provider. If you require any support or assistance, please email childcare@leics.gov.uk.

Key questions checklist

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