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About the course

A course of A2 level standard suitable for students looking for employment as an Early Years practitioner in a wide range of careers with children, or for looking to proceed to higher education. An academic and vocational programme including a range of relevant work experience placements in childcare.


The course aims not only to develop learners' understanding of human behaviour and childcare issues but also the practical and interpersonal skills that are required to work with children. Extended Diploma courses have three achievement points: you will work towards the subsidiary certificate in the first year of the course and have the opportunity to work towards the National Diploma in the second year. This is equivalent to 3 A levels.

Entry requirements

Entry is by interview. Candidates will need a minimum of five GCSE passes at A* - C level in academic subjects (including mathematics and English) and another written subject, which will need to be a science if students intend to go on to teacher training, or an equivalent. If students wish to progress on to teacher training they may be required to have GCSE grade B or above in both English language and mathematics.


Applicants will need to be able to be motivated and manage their own time. Students will need to have a mature and responsible outlook, as they will be required to work with a high degree of independence much of the course. All applicants are required to bring an academic reference and a personal reference demonstrating practical childcare experience, for example voluntary work or work experience from Upper School.


All childcare students will be required to have a DBS check - there is no charge for this.

What you'll learn (core modules)

To achieve the study programme you must have successfully:


* Completed your accredited vocational qualification to the required standard

* Completed 750 hours of Work Placement, which College organises for you

* Demonstrated competence in a range of skills relevant to employment through completing Work Experience

* Demonstrated basic skills, which employers seek evidence of in references such as excellent attendance, punctuality and positive behaviours

All students will undertake the following units: Child Development, Play and Learning, Health and Safety, Working with Parents and others in the Early, Safeguarding in Early Years, Observation, Assessment and Planning, Meeting Children's Physical Development, Physical Care and Health Needs, Supporting Children's Speech, Communication and Language, The Early Years Foundation Stage, and in the second year: Supporting Children's Personal, Social And Emotional Development, Supporting Children's Literacy and Numeracy Development, Reflective Practice, Research Skills, Promoting Children's Development Outdoors, Working with Children with Additional Needs, Health Education and Social Services for children and Their Families, Working with Children Under 3 Years, An Introduction to Playwork Principles, Career Development in the Early Years. There is a residential trip in the second year.


Any student aged 16 to 19 who does not hold a GCSE A* to C (9 to 4 on the new grading structure) or equivalent qualifications in Maths and English by age 16 will need to continue to study these subjects in each academic year.

Where will the course take me?

Students may progress onto Higher Education courses including BA Early Childhood Studies at University of Suffolk Bury St Edmunds or careers in childcare, teaching, nursing, social work or caring for children with special needs. Of the students who completed this course last year 35 per cent entered Higher Education and 65 per cent secured employment.

Will I need any materials or equipment?

All students are required to have at least two polo shirts with the West Suffolk College logo printed on to wear in work placements. These can be purchased from West Suffolk College at a cost of approximately £12-£15.

Days & times

Starting September 2019

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