These intermediate, work-related higher-education qualifications have been designed in conjunction with employers to meet skills shortages at the higher technician and associate professional levels.
They include the sector-endorsed Early Years Foundation Degree and the Playwork Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree.
Full details of the sector-endorsed playwork foundation, honours and masters degrees can be found at www.playworkactivepassport.com/SectorSkills/UserSearch.asp.
Montessori International also now provides a foundation degree focusing on Montessori and the EYFS, leading to the Early Childhood Studies degree with Montessori.
They are provided by universities in partnership with higher education colleges and further education colleges. There are no set entry requirements and work experience may be more important than qualifications. A full-time course takes two years and a part-time one is often three to four years pro rata.
Methods of study: Classroom, distance or work-based learning.
Course content: Modules vary, but core units could include child development, management, options for specific roles and career paths, theory, practice and context of working with children, ICT and work-based modules.
Funding: Students can qualify for a financial support package, which includes fees paid or reduced, £500 annual bursary, the loan of a laptop computer and printer, payment towards registered childcare and reimbursement towards employers' supply cover costs.
HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMAS
These higher education diplomas comprise practical and vocational training, and qualify students to apply for roles ranging from assistant to management posts in an early years setting, although each institution will have its own entry requirements and syllabus.
HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMA IN EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDIES
The focus of this diploma is to provide education and training for a range of careers in the early years sector, and to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in the field of early years, care and education.
Courses are two years full-time at universities and colleges.
Entry qualifications: Either two A-level passes, a BTEC National Diploma, GNVQ Advanced (AVCE), CACHE Diploma (DCE/NNEB/DNN), NVQ Level 3 or access to HE at Level 3. Methods of study include taught sessions, workplace practice, seminars, research and self-directed study. Students are required to attend an approved early years placement one day a week.
Course content: Range of modules that take a multi-disciplinary approach to the education and care for children from birth to eight years of age within the context of their family and culture.
ILM LEVEL 5 AWARD IN MANAGEMENT
(Enrolment to December 2010)
Provided by the National Day Nurseries Association, other training providers and FE colleges.
Course content: One mandatory unit with a credit value of four and a range of optional units with a total minimum credit value of six. The programme focuses on managerial activities within a childcare setting covering planning, problem solving, understanding change and achieving objectives through effective time management.