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Choosing what to study can be challenging. Speak to one of our advisors to find out what your options are.

Advice & Help Centre

This study programme is designed for 16-19 year olds only (age 19-24 for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan).

Please visit our Adult Education, Degrees and Employer section for alternative courses.

About the course

This course provides an introduction to work in the Childcare sector, providing a valuable foundation for progression into higher level courses or employment. This course qualifies you to work as an Early Years Assistant in childcare settings. A compulsory part of the course is work placement and you will need to complete in the region of 300 hours to pass the course. Work placement is organised by the work placement team. It is a full time course. You attend college three days per week and the other two days are out in placement. You will get the opportunity to work in nursery and primary school settings.

Entry requirements

The minimum requirement is English at grade 4 and 3 other GCSEs at grade 3 or equivalent.

In addition all students must:

  • Have an interview with a member of the course team

  • Have a clear DBS check



    This course will give you a BTEC Level 2 technical diploma in Children's Play Learning and Development with Early Years Assistant status.

    What you'll learn (core modules)

    The aim is to give you a good understanding of the childcare sector; the values, skills and knowledge that are essential for work in this field. You will study seven core units:

    • Policy and Practice for working in Early Years - externally assessed

    • Child development from birth to five years - externally assessed

    • Developing professional practice skills

    • Supporting Children's Physical Care needs in Early Years Settings

    • Supporting Children's learning through play

    • Supporting communication, literacy and language development

    • Developing professional practice.

    In addition, any students aged 16 to 19 who does not have a GCSE A* to C (Grade 9 to 4) in Maths and English will need to continue studying these subjects alongside their childcare studies.

    Benefits, skills and character strengths

    This course will prepare you for employment in the Early Years sector. Upon successful completion of level 2, students either go into employment as Early Years Assistants, continue a level 3 qualification as an apprentice in the workplace or, with a strong grade profile, they may progress onto the full time level 3 full time course at the college.

    This course will give you the confidence and resilience needed to be successful in childcare.

    How will I be assessed?

    25 % of the course is assessed by an external exam. The other units are internally assessed in a variety of ways - course work, assignments, presentations and a visit in placement.

    Where is the course delivered? (facilities/classrooms)

    West Suffolk College

    Your placement is organised by the college and students are invited to suggest settings that they would like to go to.

    Where will the course take me?

    Distinction and high merit students can apply to progress onto the full time level 3 childcare course at college. They will be interviewed for this course.

    Upon completion of the course, you are able to be employed as a level 2 assistant in the industry and may decide to continue your level 3 studies via an apprenticeship.

    Will I need any materials or equipment?

    Students will need to purchase two placement T-shirts, available from the college shop at a cost of around £13 each.

    Furthermore, students will need to have their own college stationery for classes - paper, pens, a folder etc.

    How much will it cost?


    I'm interested. What should I do now?

    If you are interested do come along to one of the college open events which is a great opportunity to meet the course tutors, ask more questions about the course and meet current students. If you would like to apply, this can be done via the college website.

    Days & times

    Starting September 2021

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