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Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) Level 3 RQF

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The CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) is ideal for those seeking a whole, regulated early years level 3 qualification. Our early-year practitioner course is perfect for aspiring practitioners or childcare workers. Our early years courses online help you gain essential skills and advance your career in childcare, in your own time.

Our Level 3 early years educator course is aslo a qualification that counts towards the Level 3 staff-to-child ratio in the childcare sector.

Qualification Title:  NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early years Educator)
Qualification Number: 601/2629/2
Total Credits: 61
UCAS points: 32

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Level 3 / NCFE CACHE / PI626

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over 12 months and £ deposit

over 12 months and £ deposit


Course summary


Course support

12 months expert tutor support


24 hour access

Unlimited Submissions



Fully accredited course


Awarding body


Course introduction

The CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) Level 3 RQF qualifies students as Early Years Educators, enabling them to count in the Level 3 staff-to-child ratios in childcare settings. This qualification meets the criteria for staff-to-child ratios in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The criteria are set by the Department for Education.

While the course focuses on gaining knowledge and practical experience in working with children aged 0 to 5, learners will also gain knowledge of children aged 5 to 7 throughout the course content.

Where Can You Use Our Early Years Practitioner Course?

Upon completion, learners will have the knowledge and experience required to become full practitioners in early years education. Potential job roles post-completion include:

  • Pre-school worker
  • Practitioners in nursery schools
  • Practitioners in day nurseries
  • Practitioner in reception classes in primary schools

Additionally, learners will be eligible for inclusion in the Level 3 staff-to-child ratio within a childcare setting.

The learning materials are divided into three key themes:

  • Health and well-being
  • Legislation, frameworks, and professional practice
  • Play, development, and learning for school readiness

Each theme contains relevant units to develop your knowledge and understanding of meeting the needs of children aged 0-5. The course also provides critical knowledge on best practices for working with children aged 5-7, which can be elevated with our other our childcare or childminding courses.

There are 23 units in total to complete.

Become A Level 3 Early Years Educator

To complete this course, students must complete a work placement, either paid or voluntary, of at least 350 hours. The workplace must be a childcare setting catering to children aged 0-5. For this work placement, learners require supervision from a staff member with occupational competence who can prepare and sign the occupational evidence of practice forms.

Learners wishing to count in the staff-to-child ratio within a childcare setting should note that, in addition to having a relevant Early Years Educator qualification, they must hold GCSE English and Maths A*-C. From 3 April 2017, this requirement will be broadened to Level 2 qualifications, including Functional Skills.

Having the relevant English and Maths qualifications to enrol in or complete the course is optional. However, these qualifications must be counted in the staff-to-child ratios within a childcare setting. Therefore, it is advisable to complete the required courses, like a maths GCSE, to enable progress. NCC can provide these courses for you to purchase.

Upon enrolling in any of our NCFE CACHE courses, become part of the CACHE Alumni. CACHE Alumni is a professional membership network for those working in the healthcare and education industries. It is free to join and supports practitioners, learners, and educators throughout their learning journey. Benefits include two years of access to the latest articles across the healthcare sector and complete access to valuable webinars, podcasts, and career support.


Required knowledge

There is no previous learning knowledge or experience needed to enrol on to this early year practitioner course. However, students must be over 16 years of age to enrol in our level 3 childcare courses or early years courses online. You will also require a placement in an early years’ setting in mainland England with support from a workplace mentor/manager.


Your course will be assessed via tutor marked assignments. You will be required to pass an assignment at the end of each unit. Once you have worked through your course materials and submitted your assignment to your tutor, you will be provided with feedback to aid you in your studies.

If you fail to pass an assignment you are able to resubmit your amended assignment, using the feedback as a guideline to where and how you need to improve your submission.

This level 3 early years educator course also requires assessment undertaken by someone within your organisation. This individual must have occupational competence and the ability to provide adequate supervision and provide written evidence of relevant tasks.


NCC is an NCFE CACHE licensed centre. 

NCFE CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education) are a leading awarding organisation specialising in in the care and education sector. NCFE CACHE provide a wide range of qualifications accredited by Ofqual at different levels and in a variety of subject areas. NCFE CACHE also offer NVQs, Key Skills, Basic Skills and Entry Level qualifications.

At the end of this course successful learners will receive a Level 3 NCFE certificate of achievement. That means that it is independently accredited at a level of learning equivalent to Level 3 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Accreditation by NCFE is a guarantee of quality. It means that this learning programme has been scrutinised and approved by an independent panel of experienced educational professionals and is quality audited biannually by NCFE. NCFE is recognised as an awarding body by the qualification regulators ('regulators') for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The regulators are the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) in England, the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS) in Wales and the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland.

Course units

Theme 1: Health and well-being:

Unit 1:  Support healthy lifestyles for children through the provision of food and nutrition.

Unit 2: Support healthy lifestyles for children through exercise.

Unit 3: Support physical care routines for children.

Unit 4: Promote children’s emotional well-being.

Unit 5: Understand how to support children who are unwell.


Theme 2: Legislation, frameworks and professional practice:

Unit 6: Understand legislation relating to the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children.

Unit 7: Use legislation relating to the health and safety of children.

Unit 8: Follow legislation relating to equality, diversity and inclusive practice.

Unit 9: Working in partnership.

Unit 10: Engage in professional development.


Theme 3: Play, development and learning for school readiness.

Unit 11: Understand the value of play in Early Years.

Unit 12: Plan, lead and review play opportunities which support children’s learning and development.

Unit 13: Promote enabling play environments.

Unit 14: Developing children’s emergent literacy skills.

Unit 15: Developing children’s emergent mathematical skills.

Unit 16: Support children’s transition to school.

Unit 17: Develop children’s cognitive skills.

Unit 18: Promote children’s speech, language and communication.

Unit 19: Promoting children’s physical development.

Unit 20: Promoting children’s personal, social and emotional development.

Unit 21: Support children with additional needs.

Unit 22: Use observation, assessment and planning to promote the development of children.

Unit 23: Use longitudinal studies to observe, assess and plan for children’s needs.

Learner support

The learner will receive access to this course through a dedicated online learning portal. The learner will have access to the course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The learner will be able to contact their tutor through the learning portal via the messaging systems. The learner will also upload their assignments through this portal to ensure that a single system handles all the learner’s needs.

The tutor is there to provide the learner with advice and guidance throughout the course and also to mark the unit assignments. The tutor will have extensive knowledge in the relevant area and will be able to provide the learner with personalised feedback throughout the course.



What does NCC stand for?

NCC originally stood for the National Consortium of FE (Further Education) Colleges. This brought together the FE Colleges to achieve the best provision. Regular national meetings were attended by both Colleges and Government agencies who funded them. This was very helpful to them both to best deliver training to their students.

For more than 25 years NCC has supplied FE Colleges with learning materials as well as student marketing.

NCC now specialise in online training of a very high quality to students both self-funded, paid for by schools, employers and training providers.

What is distance learning?

Distance learning is the most flexible and convenient approach to studying. There is no need for you to attend college and you can study anytime, anyplace, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a job, family commitments, or any other commitment that won’t allow them time off to study.

What is the difference between the online and paper versions of courses?

Both our online and paper courses are completed via an online learning portal (LMS) which you can access after you receive your login details by email. Please ensure that you check your junk email if you do not receive your login details within 48 hours.

All learners will submit their assignments, receive feedback and correspond with their tutor directly through the LMS. If you require help from our support team, then simply email [email protected].

If you opt for the online course, you will not receive any course materials through the post. Everything is available via the LMS.

If you opt for the paper version, you are simply paying for a study book to be printed and posted to your home, or place of work. You will use this book as a reference guide, but you will still be required to upload your assignments and correspond with your tutor via the LMS.

If you are unable to access our online LMS, we do have alternative options available, so please email [email protected] in order to request further support.

What do I need to do to get started?

We recommend that you choose a course that will interest you and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, contact us here or dial 0333 3445 690.

To purchase a course, simply click on the ‘Buy now’ button against your chosen course and follow the on screen instructions. Alternatively if you would prefer to purchase the course over the phone, call 0333 3445 690 and speak to one of our expert course advisors.

How much will it cost?

The cost largely depends on the type and size of the course. The course cost is determined by the expenses associated with its provision, taking into consideration the course's size and complexity, development costs, the presence of a study materials, and the level of tutor support required. Some courses also necessitate additional in-person assessments by assessors, which incur additional expenses and consequently affect the course's cost.

All prices are clearly stated on the course description page and will always be displayed prior to you committing to purchase a course.

Please note that there may be additional fees required should your course require an external invigilated assessment, such as A Levels, ICB qualifications etc. To clarify, please speak to a course advisor.

How do I enrol?

Once you've chosen your course, you have two options for enrolment:

  1. You can purchase the course online by clicking the "Buy now" button, which will enrol you automatically.
  2. Alternatively, you can call our helpline at 0333 3445 690, and our expert course advisors will assist you in signing up for the course and arrange for the delivery of any requested additional learning materials to your address.

All courses are available to purchase in full or via affordable monthly payments over 12 months. A £29 non-refundable deposit is required for monthly payments, and you will be required to set up a monthly direct debit.

We do not require you to complete a credit check to sign up for monthly payments.

How quickly will I receive my course materials?

We guarantee that you will receive any course materials ordered within 5 working days of registering, but for many of our courses it may take no more than 48 hours.

The course materials are always sent to you via a tracked courier service, to ensure that you receive your study book within our stated period.

Do I need any additional books or equipment to do my course?

All the relevant information required to complete your course is available via the LMS. Additional research via the internet is encouraged, depending on the level you are working at, to bolster knowledge of the subject area.

There is no requirement to purchase any additional materials.

What support will I receive?

You will have access to a dedicated personal tutor whom you can contact through the Learning Management System (LMS) for assistance and guidance on any course-related matters. Your tutor will only initiate contact in response to your messages. If you encounter any difficulties reaching your tutor, please don't hesitate to email us at [email protected]

Many courses require you to submit work to your tutor during the period of study, and your tutor will assess your work and provide feedback to you within 10 working days. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.

Please note that the course includes tutor support for a duration of 12 months. If you require additional time, please inform us, and we will make every effort to provide you with an option for a paid extension, if feasible, to assist you in completing your course.

Please be aware that our tutors are actively assisting multiple learners, and to ensure they are not inundated with excessive workloads, we have implemented a policy limiting learners to submitting a maximum of three units of work for evaluation at any given time. We recommend that you upload your completed units as you finish them. This way, you can benefit from your tutor's feedback to enhance your future assignment submissions.

How long will it take for my work to be marked by my tutor?

Your work will be marked and feedback returned to you within 10 working days after submission. This is because our tutors are required to provide detailed, considered feedback to our learners that may take a while to formulate. We find that by working this way, our learners actually complete their course in less time, as they rarely need to submit an assignment more than twice.

Whilst it is possible to submit multiple assignments at the same time, we advise that our learners submit only one at a time. We want our learners to develop as they progress through their course, and find this is best achieved when a student embarks on a new module having taken into account tutor feedback from the previous submission.

Kindly note that our tutors are currently supporting multiple learners simultaneously. In order to maintain a balanced workload for them, we have established a policy that restricts learners to submitting a maximum of three units of work for evaluation at any given time.

How long should it take to complete a course?

Depending on the course you have chosen, and the amount of time you can commit, it could take from 6 weeks to 12 months to complete your course. Your end of support date is when you need to have your course copmpleted by in order to be able to be certificated, this is usually 12 months from purchase.

The duration of the course is largely down to you. The beauty of home learning is that it allows you complete flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle and other commitments. You can dedicate as much, or as little, time as you want to your studies - no one will be chasing you for your work or asking why you haven’t submitted an assignment.

We do strongly recommend, though, that before you purchase a course you assess your ability to commit the necessary time to completing the course in a timeframe that will not leave you losing your motivation.

Will I have to sit an examination?

All of our courses are accredited, so you need to show that you have acquired the knowledge to pass the course – this may involve sitting an examination, but it depends on the course you have chosen.

Some courses require you to be continually assessed throughout the course, while others may require an end of course exam or assignment (which may be completed at home) to be submitted to your tutor.

Certain types of qualifications, A-levels and GCSEs for example, do require you to sit invigilated exams at a registered test centre. You will need to organise and pay for the examinations yourself, however full details of what you need to do will be available from the centre who are delivering the qualification.

If in doubt, please email [email protected], NCC can then discuss or put you in touch directly with the course provider.

Will I receive a qualification when I complete the course?

All of our courses are accredited and you will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

For more information about this please see the section of the website that details how awarding bodies work and what the different types of qualifications are:

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Yes, you can take as many courses as your time allows, but we would recommend that you clearly evaluate how much time you can commit to your courses of study.

The good news is that if your circumstances change you can always take a limited break and come back to your studies to save your paid for support.

If you decide to enrol on more than one course at the same time, speak to our enquiries team for any bundle deals or offers.

Can I study from outside the UK?

Certainly, in most instances, there are no geographical constraints on where you can undertake your studies. However, it's important to note that specific courses may be subject to geographical limitations imposed by the Awarding Organisation, and these restrictions will be clearly stated in the course description.

You just need to be aware that all tutors are based in the UK and work may need to be submitted to them via post, although in most cases e-mail can be used.

Where the course requires that you sit an invigilated exam at a test centre, there are many exam centres outside of the UK. However, we would advise that you check with us before purchasing one of these courses if you want to study from abroad.

What if I’ve chosen the wrong course?

If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you may return the materials within 14 days, provided you have not yet submitted any coursework for evaluation. Please note that you will be responsible for covering the return shipping costs. We will refund your payment, minus a non-refundable deposit of £29. Additionally, you have the option to select an alternative course that better matches your goals and aspirations.

For any help on cancelling your course please email [email protected], we will only deal with cancellation enquiries via email.

What is a Totum Card?

Totum is the new brand for UK student cards and replaces the old NUS student card. NCC students are eligible to sign-up for the Totum card where applicable, giving access to a multitude of retail, food and travel special discounts. For more information, you can visit their website:

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Reviews from learners who completed...

Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) Level 3 RQF

M Byrne

“Best on quality and price”

I’ve been look for a level 3 apprentaship for a while then I came across NCC , they have been so helpful and supportive in every way possible ( also it’s worth the money).definitely recommend and I will definitely take more courses with them in future .

Nadia Wang