Early Education and Childcare NC @ SCQF Level 6


If you want to pursue a career working with children and young people, this course will develop your understanding, skills, and existing strengths when it comes to education and childcare. This course aims to effectively prepare you for further study or employment.  

The NC in Early Education and Childcare can help you gain entry to Higher Educational Courses and can lead to a variety of career pathways within the sector.  

A focus of the course is the substantial work placement element that provides essential links with local organisations and supports your development of employability skills and enhances opportunities for career prospects.

Course code





Attendance: This is a full-time 36-week programme. You will attend college for a minimum of 2 and a half days per week. You will attend college in class initially for the full 2.5 days, with a possibility of moving to a blend of college class lessons and online lessons. (This is subject to change). You will also have a work placement of 1 to 2 days per week with a short block placement included at one point in the year. 

You need to be able to attend all lessons and work placement experience. 

Entry Requirements

For entry to this course you will need: 

  • A real interest in children’s learning and development and working in the sector. 
  • Four relevant National 5s or equivalent, (such as Intermediate 2; Standard Grade Credit Level etc.,) one of which must include English or communication. Two should be at a B pass or above OR a relevant course at SCQF Level 5 such as Playwork and Childcare at SCQF level 5 AND 
  • One National 4 in numeracy or maths. 
  • Evidence of work experience or volunteering with children and young people. 
  • Please make sure to answer the Supporting Information Questions on the application form, with as much detail as possible. This will demonstrate your commitment to the course. 
  • You need to be 16 years or above by the end of September 2023. 

For progressing students, a successful completion of the previous course and a positive progressing learner reference.

Applications are encouraged from mature students who do not possess formal qualifications but have appropriate understanding and skills to meet the academic demands of the course. 

A satisfactory Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check is also required to enable participation in placement.

Information and Interview Session Requirements

  • Applicants may have an interview with college staff to determine their suitability for the programme.
  • All applicants must demonstrate motivation and possess appropriate abilities and skills to attend the programme they have chosen.
  • All learners on a college course who wish to continue on to a further programme must be able to obtain a positive progressing learner reference. 

Course Content

This course offers you the opportunity to develop an understanding of how children learn and develop. You will learn about the key role adults have in how to effectively meet the needs of children, including planning enriching play and learning experiences and how to promote children’s rights and entitlements. You will discover how to be in tune with children’s thinking. You will have the opportunity to practice your skills and apply the theory you have been learning about in an early learning and childcare work placement.  


All components of the programme are assessed. A variety of assessment approaches are used, for example, practical observations of work undertaken on placement, portfolios of evidence of outcomes attained, written reports, oral presentations, project assignments etc.


Successful completion of the course will enable you to have the choice of: 
  • Progressing onto an HNC course such as HNC Childhood Practice; HNC Social Services  
  • Exit to employment to start your career in the sector as a Support Worker in a range of early learning and childcare settings. 

Career Prospects

Exit to employment to start your career in the sector as a Support Worker in a range of early learning and childcare settings. 
After achieving your NC qualification, possible careers include: 

  • A breadth of Early Years Practitioner roles (age range 0-16) 
  • Diverse roles working with children and families across the sector, including ASN support roles. 
  • Progression to HNC Early Education and Childcare which can lead to a variety of careers in early years, teaching, and social work. 

Additional funding information

You may be eligible for Bursary or EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) funding for this course. Please contact a member of the funding team for details.

Selling Points

  • This course can lead directly to employment as a Support Worker within an early years and childcare setting. 
  • This qualification enables you to register with the Scottish Social Services Council. 
  • Can progress to HNC Childhood Practice. Gaining this qualification can lead to employment as an Early Years Practitioner or enable progression to higher education such as the BA in Childhood Studies. 
  • Significant work experience in an early learning and childcare setting.