What you will learn

This Level 4 qualification aims to provide professional development opportunities for those practitioners working in the early year’s workforce at Level 3. This qualification will challenge practitioners in both daily practice and theoretical understanding. You will develop and use skills of leadership, mentoring, coaching and reflection as you complete the qualification through work-based learning opportunities. To achieve this qualification you will complete a range of optional units and the following mandatory units:

  • Enabling children to learn
  • Promoting health and well-being through physical activity and nutrition co-ordination (PANCo) in the early years
  • Working with others to support children with additional needs, including Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Working with families and other professionals in early years settings
  • Implementing change in an early years setting incorporating a small scale research project

Ideal if

You are currently employed as an early years Level 3 practitioner. It is for learners who are looking to develop leadership and specialist skills for use in their current role, or in preparation to take on a specialist role such as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator or a Physical Activity and Nutrition Coordinator.

What to expect

The delivery of the qualification will be completed mainly online via the ‘Google Classroom’ virtual learning environment. At level 4, learners should be able to identify and use relevant understanding, methods and skills to address broadly-defined, complex problems. It includes taking responsibility for planning and developing courses of action for yourself and others. You also need to understand different perspectives, approaches or schools of thought and the reasoning behind them. There are no requirements for observation of workplace skills; however, the assessor will visit to obtain evidence of work products to support your written work. You will receive a login to an on-line portfolio account which can be accessed from any Wifi point or through 3/4G either at work, at home or in our centre. You will be provided with a detailed course programme which will help you to achieve your qualification in 6 months. At the centre you will be welcome to access different resources to support your learning including laptops, desktops, tablets and textbooks.

What next

This qualification can provide evidence for a personal statement for those looking to enter Higher Education, for example a Foundation Degree in Early Years. This qualification will enable you to progress in a wide range of work roles including:

  • SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) – for staff who are undertaking the responsibility of SENCO in the setting.
  • PANCO role (Physical Activity and Nutrition Coordinator).
  • Roles with Leadership, mentoring, supervision and management opportunities.

Work Placement

You will need to be working or volunteering in a childcare placement, with children aged between birth to 5 years.

Attendance days

This is a RORO course, meaning you can start the qualification at any point throughout the year. This course is flexible so can be arranged around your schedule.

Salary and Career expectations

Apprenticeships are widely available within this sector. With experience and further training, you can apply for supervisory jobs and progress into nursery management. Employment as a qualified nursery worker, you can expect on average a starting salary of £22,000 and can go up to £36,000 depending on your experience and which part of the sector you work in. Progressing onto the second year level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education will provide additional opportunities including higher education.


For anyone 19 years old and over the course is delivered on a one to one basis with an assigned tutor, using a blended method of delivery, which will include; monthly meetings, and remote learning. Your course can start at any time of the year.


All applications will be reviewed on an individual basis. If you have experience or previous knowledge that will support your application please remember to include it.

Level 3 courses are fully funded if you are a school leaver


  • are 19 or over and do not already have a level 3 qualification
  • already have a level 3 qualification or higher but earn below the National Living Wage annually (£22,308.00 from April 2024)

19 + L3 Student Loans can be applied for Advanced Learner Loan

Loan eligibility does not depend on your income and there are no credit checks. Check if you are eligible before you apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.

Ask your college or training provider about grants before you apply for a loan as you may be entitled.

All applications will need to meet the eligibility criteria.

If you want to check you are able to access this course for free call for a chat 01752 202266.

Make an enquiry 19+

If you have any issues with applying online and need additional support including reasonable adjustments with the application process please contact the Admissions team on 01752 202269.