Childcare and Playwork

A career in working with children offers the uniquely rewarding opportunity of having a positive impact on the development and lives of the next generation. Our qualifications allow learners to develop the skills necessary to work in both mainstream education and residential settings and with children with diverse needs and backgrounds. 

Qualifications offered

Level 2 (Intermediate) Children and Young People’s Workforce

Level 2 (Intermediate) Playwork

Level 3 (Advanced) Early Years Educator

Level 3 (Advanced) Playwork

Level 3 (Advanced) Residential Childcare


Level 2 (Intermediate) Children and Young People’s Workforce

Who is this qualification designed for?

Level 2 CYPW is an ideal programme of study for people in the first chapter of their career, working directly with children in the following settings:

  • Pre-school
  • Nursery or crèche
  • In a home as a childminder 

Activities covered

The exact activities and responsibilities covered will vary depending on your employer, but may include:

  • Caring for young people aged 0-19 years in a variety of settings.
  • Supporting young people throughout their development.
  • Assisting with delivering aspects of the National Curriculum to ensure young people achieve their full potential. 

Included units

As part of this qualification you will be required to undertake both mandatory and optional units. The below lists are not exhaustive and may vary depending on your employer and/or the examination board. However, those required or available might include (but are not limited to) the following:

Example mandatory units:

Children and Young People’s Development
Safeguarding the Welfare of Children and Young People
Understand Partnership Working in Services for Children and Young People

Example optional units:

Support children and young people’s health and safety
Understand how to support positive outcomes for children and young people
Support children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs
Contribute to the support of children's creative development
Understand the speech, language and communication needs of children and young people
with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties

Learning hours

The approximate duration is 12 months, with an average of 6 hours per week off-the-job learning, and 2 hours per week on-the-job guided learning.

Apprenticeship delivery

For those undertaking an apprenticeship route, the additional components will be delivered alongside the core qualification.

  • Level 1 Functional Skills in Maths, English and ICT
  • Employment Responsibilities (Health & Social Care or Children & Young People’s settings)
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

Level 2 (Intermediate) Playwork

Who is this programme designed for?

Level 2 is an ideal programme of study for those at the start of their career working with children in a role such as:

  • Assistant playworker
  • Play centre assistant

Activities covered

Those undertaking this qualification will work under supervision of the playworker in charge, contributing to the organisation and facilitation of play opportunities.

Included units

As part of this qualification you will be required to undertake both mandatory and optional units. The below lists are not exhaustive and may vary depending on your employer and/or the examination board. However, those required or available might include (but are not limited to) the following:

Example mandatory units:

Working within a play environment with children and young people
Playwork principles
Relationships in the play environment
Contribute to the health, safety, security and welfare of children and young people using the play environment
Support relationships in the play environment

Example optional units:

Contribute to Providing Food and Drink in the Play Environment
Support the Travel of Children and Young People Outside the Play Environment
Contribute to Supporting Disabled Children and Young People in the Play Environment

Support Work with Parents and Carers in the Play Environment
Carry Out Playwork in a School Setting

Learning hours

The approximate duration is 12 months, with an average of 5 hours per week off-the-job learning, and 5 hours per week on-the-job guided learning. 

Apprenticeship delivery

For those undertaking an apprenticeship route, the additional components will be delivered alongside the core qualification.

  • Level 1 Functional Skills in Maths, English and ICT
  • Level 2 Award in Employment Awareness in Active Leisure and Learning
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

Level 3 (Advanced) Early Years Educator

Who is this programme designed for?

Level 3 EYE is an ideal programme of study for those who have a significant amount of experience working within a nursery or early learning childcare setting in a role such as:

  • Senior nursery worker or supervisor
  • Residential care worker
  • Short break carer

Activities covered

The exact activities and responsibilities covered will vary depending on your employer, but may include:

  • Supporting young people throughout their development.
  • Assisting with delivering aspects of the National Curriculum to ensure young people achieve their full potential.
  • Promoting a caring, healthy, stimulating, safe and secure environment.
  • Providing opportunities for disabled children and young people to try new/fun activities and to be more independent.
  • Provide short break care in the learner’s own home, the home of the child or young person, or in the community.

Included units

As part of this qualification you will be required to undertake 23 mandatory units across the following four themes:

  1. Health and Wellbeing
  2. Legislation, frameworks and professional practice
  3. Play, development and learning for school readiness
  4. Professional development

Learning hours

The approximate duration is 18 months, with an average of 5.5 hours per week off-the-job learning, and 5 hours per week on-the-job guided learning. 

Apprenticeship delivery

For those undertaking an apprenticeship route, the additional components will be delivered alongside the core qualification.

  • Employment Rights and Responsibilities (Health & Social Care or Children & Young People’s settings)
  • Level 2 Functional Skills in ICT
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

Level 3 (Advanced) Residential Childcare

Who is this qualification designed for?

Level 3 is an ideal programme of study for those who have a significant amount of experience working in a supervisory role as a residential care worker or short break carer in a setting such as:

  • Residential care homes
  • Residential special school
  • Therapeutic communities
  • Secure children's home
  • Shared care
  • Short break settings

Activities covered

The exact activities and responsibilities covered will vary depending on your employer, but may include:

  • Supporting children and young people to build positive relationships and attachments.  
  • Reducing risks in regards to health and safety and sexual exploitation.
  • Nurturing positive communications, behaviour and outcomes.
  • Encouraging resilience and the personal development and wellbeing of children and young people. 

Included units

As part of this qualification you will be required to undertake both mandatory and optional units. The below lists are not exhaustive and may vary depending on your employer and/or the examination board. However, those required or available might include (but are not limited to) the following:

Example mandatory units:

Understand how to support children and young people who have experienced harm or abuse
Support group living in residential childcare
Support children and young people in residential childcare to manage their health
Support the rights, diversity and equality of children and young people in residential childcare
Participate in teams to benefit children and young people in residential childcare

Example optional units:

Understand the care system and its impact on children and young people
Support young people leaving care
Work with the families of children and young people in residential childcare
Understand residential childcare for children and young people with complex disabilities or conditions
Understand the youth justice system as it relates to residential childcare

Learning hours

The approximate duration is 18 months, with an average of 4 hours per week off-the-job learning, and 6 hours per week on-the-job guided learning.

Apprenticeship delivery

For those undertaking an apprenticeship route, the additional components will be delivered alongside the core qualification.

  • Employment Rights and Responsibilities in Health, Social Care, Children & Young People’s Settings
  • Level 2 Functions Skills is Maths, English and ICT
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

Level 3 (Advanced) Playwork

Who is this programme designed for?

Level 3 is an ideal programme of study for those with some years experience their career working with children in a role such as:

  • Playworker
  • Senior playworker

Activities covered

Those undertaking this qualification are responsible for supervising the team in the play setting, ensuring that policies and procedures are followed, and that a range of play opportunities are provided.

Included units

As part of this qualification you will be required to undertake both mandatory and optional units. The below lists are not exhaustive and may vary depending on your employer and/or the examination board. However, those required or available might include (but are not limited to) the following:

Example mandatory units:

Understand children and young people’s self-directed play
Understand how to support positive outcomes for children and young people
Engage in personal development in health, social care or children’s and young people’s settings
Develop and promote positive relationships in a play environment
Contribute to an organisational framework that reflects the needs and protects the rights of children and young people

Example optional units:

Engage with parents, carers and families in a play environment
Promote own organisation in the community
Organise and supervise travel
Provide learning opportunities for colleagues
Allocate and monitor the progress and quality of work in own area of responsibility

Learning hours

The approximate duration is 18 months, with an average of 5 hours per week off-the-job learning, and 4 hours per week on-the-job guided learning. 

Apprenticeship delivery

For those undertaking an apprenticeship route, the additional components will be delivered alongside the core qualification.

  • Level 2 Functions Skills in Maths, English and ICT
  • Level 3 Award in Employment Awareness in Active Leisure and Learning
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills