Experience tells

Nursery World
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Level 4 Qualfications in Early Years Education and Childcare

The drive to develop a graduate-led early years workforce to date has bypassed the career staging post of a specific sector-based Level 4 qualification - to the disappointment of many experienced practitioners and managers.

It is now not clear if there will be a level 4 apprenticeship standard. However there are new courses available, while those with certain historic qualifications can also count in ratio.


A small number of level 4 courses have so far met the early years educator criteria   to be considered full and relevant and to be counted in the level 3 ratios. These are available on this list.

To count in the EYFS staff:child ratios at level 3, staff holding an early years educator qualification must also have achieved suitable level 2 literacy & numeracy qualifications.

Historic qualifications

The following early education and childcare qualifications are considered full and relevant which means anyone holding one of these qualifications can count in the qualified ratio of staff at level 3:

  • A Certificate of Higher Education in early years, early childhood studies, childcare or playwork with an element of assessed performance in an early years setting.
  • A Higher National Certificate in early years, early childhood studies, childcare or playwork with an element of assessed performance in an early years setting.

The following level 4 NVQs are also considered full and relevant:

  • Level 4 Playwork
  • Level 4 Children's Care, Learning and Development
  • Level 4 Early Years, Care and Education

Health and social care qualifications are not considered to be full and relevant.


Early years qualifications had been migrating from the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) to the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) since 2010.

Now however both are being replaced by RQF, Regulated Qualifications Framework, which is designed to be simpler, and will help people understand 'better how qualifications relate to each other, by setting consistent measures of size (how long, typically, a qualification takes to study and be assessed for) and level of difficulty', according to the Government.


For more information about early years level 4 qualifications, see here
A direct link to Early Years Qualifications List is here.


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