Working With Children: A Guide to Qualifications & Careers in Early Education, Childcare & Playwork

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Working With Children

A Guide to Qualifications & Careers in Early Education, Childcare & Playwork
Using this booklet
Who is this booklet for?

If you are thinking about a career in early education, childcare or playwork then this booklet is for you. It will also be helpful to employers, career service companies, schools, and to those already in a job.

What does it cover?

This booklet deals with careers in:

  • education and daycare for children aged 0-5 (before children go to primary school);
  • out-of-school care for school age children; and
  • work to support teachers in primary education, for example classroom assistants and special needs auxiliaries.

This booklet does not cover career opportunities in the teaching profession or in other professions working with children and young people (eg social work, healthcare or residential childcare). If you want more information on related professions not featured in this booklet, contact your local careers service (details are at end of this booklet).

What is its purpose?

This booklet aims to:

  • Show the range of occupations and employment opportunities in early years education, childcare and playwork; and,
  • Set out the available, nationally recognised qualifications, showing how you can use them to move from one role to another and develop your career.

Thinking about childcare as a career

Why are early education, childcare and playwork important?

Because children are important. High quality early education, childcare and playwork help children to get the best start in life, promoting all-round development in the crucial formative years. Quality care, education and play make a difference: they enable children to develop social and learning skills that will help them throughout their lives. Quality services for children help parents as well, allowing them to balance work and family life. The Scottish Executive recognises the importance of early education, childcare and playwork and wants to help more people find rewarding job opportunities in these fields. Of course, the quality of early education, care and play depends a lot on the skills and training of the staff. The Executive supports investment in staff training and wants to encourage people working in these fields to acquire, and build on, relevant qualifications.

Why is this a worthwhile career?

For children to get a good start, they need to be looked after and educated by people with the right blend of skills and personal qualities. Working with children, especially young children, is demanding. But it is also very rewarding. If you pursue a career in early education, childcare or playwork you can make a real difference to the quality of children's lives and to their families.

The demand for staff has increased in recent years. And it will increase a lot more in the next few years. Free pre-school education places are now being given to 3 year olds as well as 4 year olds. The new Working Families Tax Credit is helping many less well-off families to afford good quality care. And substantial extra funding will be pumped into childcare through lottery resources from the New Opportunities Fund and direct from the Scottish Executive itself. There has never been a better time to enter a career in childcare, early education and playwork.

Who can work in early education, childcare and playwork?

Anyone with the right mix of skills and personal qualities can work in early education, childcare and play settings. Traditionally, most workers in this area have been women; but there are now opportunities for everyone:

  • for women and men;
  • for adults of any age looking to re-enter employment;
  • for women who have taken a career break to bring up children;
  • for those looking to change career direction; and,
  • for people from every ethnic and cultural background.

Most employers prefer employees to be at least 17 before working with children. But if you are 16 and have a real interest in working in this sector you can start by doing an introductory course at school, college or with a training provider and then move into the job market. A valuable introduction to working in the childcare sector can also be gained through work experience and voluntary work. Many parents, building on their own childcare experience, turn to childcare occupations later on; and a growing number are finding rewarding careers working with children.

Occupations in early education, childcare and playwork

What are the main occupations?

People working in early education, childcare and play have a number of different job titles and work in different settings. The main occupations are set out below. For some you will need specific qualifications. Others require no formal qualifications. However, employers will generally look for qualified staff, so if you hold formal qualifications (or are prepared to work towards them) there will be more opportunities open to you. If you want to progress to more senior and managerial levels in early education, childcare or playwork you will certainly need to obtain formal qualifications, as well as relevant experience. Details of the qualifications currently available (including those mentioned below) are set out below.

If you are unsure about which job would suit you best there is an orientation programme available called 'Making Choices' which can help you decide. This programme is designed to provide an overview of the main occupations working with children. 'Making Choices' aims to help you decide whether a career with children is right for you and which occupation to choose. If you are interested in finding out more, contact your Local Childcare Partnership or Careers Service.

Working with children in the home

Childminder

Childminders usually work in their own home. If you want to be a childminder and look after children under the age of 8, you have to register with your local authority. The number of children you can look after at any one time as a registered childminder is fixed by the local authority 1. No formal qualifications are required 2, but they may help you to register as a childminder and find work. The local authority may also require you to undergo a short training course (covering for example child health and welfare) before registration.

Childminders may also look after older children, particularly after school. At present, they do not have to register to care for children aged 8 or over; but this is under review 3.

Once you have had significant experience of working with young children, and when you have gained appropriate qualifications, it may be possible for you to work with the local authority in providing pre-school education for 3-5 year olds. If you are interested in finding out more about this you should contact your local authority and ask about pre-school partnership opportunities.

Nanny

Nannies care for children in the home of the child. In some cases the family may prefer you to live with them (these nannies may also be known as 'au pairs'). Many nannies register with nanny agencies that help them find suitable employment. Agencies generally prefer you to hold relevant qualifications, for example the Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Childcare and Education or the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3 in Early Years Care and Education.

Working in early education, childcare and play centres

Crèche worker

Crèche workers may work in a variety of settings that have attached crèches, for example: sports centres and supermarkets. Many crèches prefer workers who hold qualifications, although there is no national requirement at present. The level and type of qualification required will differ between crèches and are likely to range between National Units, SVQ level 2 or level 3 in Playwork or Early Years Care and Education, or HNC in Childcare and Education.

Play leader

Play leaders are employed in playgroups, out of school childcare settings, community centres, hospital playgroups, adventure playgrounds, holiday play schemes and other children's clubs. It is the job of the play leader to plan appropriate play opportunities for the children in the centre. You are more likely to be offered a job as a play leader if you hold an appropriate qualification 4 and have suitable experience of working with children. The most appropriate qualifications are the HNC in Childcare and Education or the SVQ level 3 in either Early Years Care and Education (for children 0-8) or Playwork (for children 5-15).

Play worker or play assistant

Play workers (or play assistants) work in the same settings as play leaders but in a more junior role. There is no national requirement to hold a qualification at present. Many employers will prefer you to hold a qualification and a qualification will help you find a job. The most appropriate qualifications are the SVQ level 2 in either Early Years Care and Education (for children 0-8) or Playwork (for children 5-15). Many parents begin a new career in childcare as play workers in their local playgroup.

Nursery nurses (also known as early education and childcare workers)

Nursery nurses are known by a number of different titles, including nursery officers and early education and childcare workers. Nursery nurses work in a number of different settings, for example: local authority nursery schools or classes; private day nurseries; voluntary sector nurseries; child and family centres; community nurseries; Gaelic-medium nurseries; and hospital nurseries. Nursery nurses may also work in primary schools to support the work of teachers. To be considered for this particular early education and childcare role you need to hold specific qualifications. Currently the most widely recognised are the SVQ level 3 in Early Years Care and Education or the HNC in Childcare and Education 5. In addition to specific qualifications some local authorities will require you to be registered with the Scottish Childcare and Education Board (formally the Scottish Nursery Nurses Examination Board) 6. Registration is not in itself any kind of qualification.

Nursery assistant

Nursery assistants tend to work in the same settings as nursery nurses, but in a more junior role. Having an appropriate qualification will help you find a job, although there is no national requirement at present 7. The SVQ level 2 in Early Years Care and Education is the most appropriate qualification.

Working with children in schools

Out-of-school care workers

Out-of-school care assistants work in breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, and holiday play schemes. Often the same provider will provide all three. Breakfast and after-school clubs, in particular, tend to take place in school settings but outside of normal school hours. Out-of- school care workers also work in other settings outside of schools, for example community centres and church halls. The range of activities offered by out-of-school clubs can be quite varied and will depend on the age range of the children. No formal qualifications are required at present, although it will help you get a job if you have a qualification. SVQ levels 2 or 3 in Playwork will be the most appropriate if you are working in out of school care settings. If you are working with younger children the SVQ levels 2 and 3 in Early Years Care and Education will also be relevant.

Classroom assistant

Classroom assistants work in primary schools to assist teachers in the classroom. No formal qualifications are required at present although it will help you get a job if you have a qualification. Most local authorities will ask new classroom assistants to undergo some form of induction training. A Professional Development Award (PDA), is available for classroom assistants. In time, SVQs for classroom assistants will be introduced.

Special needs assistants

Special needs assistants (also known as special needs auxiliaries, SEN auxiliaries or support for learning assistants) work in primary schools and give particular help to children with special educational needs. They tend to work one-to-one with children. No formal qualifications are required at present. However, there is a Higher National Certificate and a Higher National Diploma in 'supporting special learning needs', which are specifically aimed at those who wish to work with children and adults with special learning needs. In addition, a Professional Development Award has also been developed which is specifically aimed at support for learning assistants. In addition the Early Years Childcare and Education level 3 qualification includes optional elements for some special needs workers.

Working in a Gaelic setting

If you wish to work in a setting that delivers pre-school education and childcare in the Gaelic medium, you may do so in any of the occupations outlined here. The same qualifications and training requirements will apply, although you will need to be proficient in Gaelic. You should contact your local authority about provision or your local college about training opportunities in your area. Alternatively, contact CNSA for more information (details on page.25).

Qualifications - what are they & do I need them?

What are "recognised" qualifications?

The qualifications discussed in this booklet are nationally recognised in Scotland. This means that you will gain credit for your skills and abilities that will be accepted by every employer. Holding qualifications will be an asset if you to move to a new job in a different area, or apply for more senior roles in your present centre. National qualifications have a standard course of study or assessment programme, common across Scotland.

Do I need qualifications?

As shown above, at present you may be able to work in some settings without a relevant qualification 8. However, there are advantages to obtaining qualifications, especially if you want to make a long-term career out of working with children. Bear in mind also that local authorities, which at present vet all private and voluntary daycare centres for young children, usually require at least half of all staff working in such settings to hold relevant qualifications. Generally this means holding either an SVQ level 3 in Early Years Care and Education or an HNC in Childcare and Education. To work in a local authority nursery school or class you generally have to be either a teacher or a qualified nursery nurse. (A few local authorities will employ unqualified staff in their own centres providing they work towards a recognised qualification: if you are keen to pursue an SVQ within your local authority, ask them if they are willing to support you.)

What sorts of qualifications are there?

Qualifications differ in their content (for example, some concentrate on playwork, others on early education and care) and level of complexity.

There are also different ways of acquiring qualifications:

  • in the workplace, or
  • at a college of further education (FE college)/ training provider, or
  • a mixture of the above.

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) assess your working skills under workplace conditions. Although you will mostly be in the workplace when working towards an SVQ, you may have to go to an FE college or training provider to be taught some of the theory underpinning the SVQ. You do not sit a formal exam but are assessed regularly in your workplace. Normally there will be somebody in your workplace who will help you to work towards your SVQ. Or someone from outside your place of work will visit you regularly to support you as you work towards your SVQ. It will normally take between 18 months and two years to obtain an SVQ level 3 and one year to obtain an SVQ level 2. However, there are no time limits on obtaining an SVQ - you can work at your own pace.

Colleges of further education (or FE colleges) offer a variety of qualifications. For example, there are National Units and National Courses at different levels, Higher National Certificates (HNC), and a Higher in Early Years Care and Education. A Scottish Group Award (SGA) at Higher level in Early Years Care and Education will be available from August 2002. Courses at FE colleges normally take place during the academic year. Most full-time courses are for a fixed length of time, although most colleges can be flexible about when you attend. You may also be able to study part-time or in evening classes. The courses include substantial time on a work placement in a childcare and education setting. Assessment is done at various points in the course rather than through a single end-year exam, and includes assessment of practice in the work placement. Distance and flexible learning are available at many colleges for some units.

A mixture of both: As noted above, if you decide to follow an SVQ then you may attend a college to study theories underpinning your programme. And, if you decide to attend a college of further education to obtain your qualification you will be offered a work placement to allow you to gain experience relevant to the qualification.

The choice of where you take your qualifications will depend on your particular circumstances and preferences. You should contact your careers service to discuss which type of qualification would be best for you. You should also speak to your employer who may be willing to adjust your patterns of work to fit in with study commitments.

If I'm in a job, can I study part-time?

Work-based qualifications (SVQs) will allow you to work and acquire a recognised qualification. If you are already in a job and think that you would like to work towards an SVQ, you should speak to your employer.

As noted above, some FE colleges may offer courses on a part-time or distance learning basis. Most qualifications in early education, childcare and playwork will involve some type of workplace assessment, and, if you are currently not in a job working with children, you will have to think about how your workplace assessment can be arranged. If you are interested in studying part-time for an HNC you should get in touch with your local college or careers service. If in employment, you should also speak to your employer who may be willing to adjust your patterns of work to fit in with study commitments.

Are there any other requirements?

Working with children is a demanding job. It requires patience and reliability, the capacity to form warm and positive relationships, a commitment to equal opportunities, and a respect for the views of others. You will have to work with other adults closely, sometimes from different occupations (for example, speech therapists) and will have close contact with parents.

For most jobs working with children you will be asked to declare any criminal convictions you may have. It is best to be open with prospective employers about any past offences. Many employers can now ask the Scottish Criminal Record Office to check a person's criminal background.

What qualifications are available?

As we saw above, there are a number of different qualifications available at different levels and delivered either in the work place, in a college of further education or by other training providers. The table on page 17 lists the main recognised qualifications with a brief description. The qualifications are divided into two broad types: introductory level qualifications suitable for those coming into the profession; and more advanced qualifications, suitable for those with more experience. One qualification in the table is under development - this will be available in the near future.

Table of main qualifications

Qualification

Description

Introductory qualifications

Scottish Group Award in Care (Intermediate 2)

School/college based award. Introductory level. Relevant to anyone thinking of working with young children.

National Qualification - Higher Early Years Care and Education

School/college based National Course designed to introduce candidates to child development, behaviour and health.

Professional Development Award (PDA) Certificate for Classroom Assistants

College based introductory level qualification, with some aspects assessed in the workplace, specifically aimed at people wanting to be classroom assistants.

Professional Development Award (PDA) Certificate for Support for Learning Assistants

College based introductory level qualification, with some aspects assessed in the workplace, specifically aimed at people wanting to be support for learning assistants.

SVQ 2 Early Years Care and Education (formerly Childcare and Education)

Work based intermediate qualification. Relevant for most occupations that include working with children aged between 0 and 8 years.

SVQ 2 Playwork

Work based introductory qualification. Relevant for most occupations that include working with children aged between 5 and 15 years, especially play situations (e.g. out of school care, adventure playgroups, mobile play projects and holiday schemes).

Scottish Group Award Early Years Care and Education (Higher) (under development)

One year full-time college based award. Contains 3 National Courses at Higher level and core skills. This SGA will be available from around August 2002.

More advanced qualifications

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

One year full-time (2 years part-time) college based intermediate qualification. Relevant for most occupations that

Childcare and Education

include working with children. Most providers recognise people holding this qualification as being 'fully qualified'.

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

One year full-time (2 years part-time) college based intermediate qualification aimed at those who wish to work

Supporting Special Learning Needs

with children and adults with special learning needs.

SVQ 3 Early Years Care and Education (formerly Childcare and Education).

Work based intermediate qualification. Relevant for most occupations that include working with children aged between 0 and 8 years. Most providers recognise people holding this qualification as being 'fully qualified'.

SVQ 3 Playwork

Work based qualification. Relevant for most occupations that include working with children aged between 5 and 15 years in a supervisory capacity, especially play situations (e.g. out of school care, adventure playgroups, mobile play projects and holiday schemes).

Higher National Diploma (HND)

2 year full-time (4 years part-time) college based intermediate qualification aimed at those who wish to work with

Supporting Special Learning Needs

children and adults with special learning needs. The HNC in Supporting Learning Needs forms Year 1 of this HND.

Professional Development Award (PDA)

College based advanced award providing progression for experienced staff from the HNC in Childcare and

in Childcare and Education

Education. Suitable for those in promoted posts or seeking promotion.

SVQ 4 Early Years Care and Education

Work based qualification. Aimed at managers and senior practitioners. The management aspects will also be applicable to managers in the Playwork sector.

Government support for qualifications & help with costs

Are there national programmes that support childcare training?

There are opportunities for Government-funded training in early education, childcare and playwork within 'Skillseekers', (which includes Modern Apprenticeships), the New Deal and Training for Work.

If you are aged 16-24 you may be eligible for the Skillseekers and Modern Apprenticeship programme in Early Years Care and Education. These programmes offer work-based training leading to SVQ level 2 or 3 in Early Years Care and Education. A Modern Apprenticeship in Playwork is under review.

If you are aged 25 or over and in employment, you may now be eligible for a Modern Apprenticeship in Early Years Care and Education. This follows a change in the rules for funding announced in March 2001.

If you are aged between 18 and 24 and have been unemployed for 6 months or more you may be eligible for the New Deal, a programme of support to help you find work. The programme includes training leading to a recognised qualification. A specific qualification for the New Deal has been developed which is the Scottish Progression Award in Children's Care and Play. If you complete the Scottish Progression Award you can then continue on to a full SVQ level 2 in Early Years Care and Education or Playwork.

If you are aged 50 or over and have been unemployed for 6 months or more you may be eligible for New Deal 50 plus. The programme includes jobsearch assistance, a tax free employment credit of 60 a week and in-work training grant of up to 750 which can be used to help you update existing skills or gain new ones.

If you are aged 25 or over and have been unemployed for 6 months or more you may be eligible for support through the Scottish Executive's Training for Work programme, which includes opportunities for training towards work based qualifications. Training opportunities vary between local enterprise company areas but may include SVQ levels 2 and 3 in Early Years Care and Education and Playwork

If you want to know more about Skillseekers, Modern Apprenticeships, the New Deal, or Training for Work you should contact your nearest Employment Service office, Local Enterprise Company (LEC) or Careers Service.

Employers may also offer training courses for their staff. In addition, bodies such as the Scottish Independent Nurseries Association (SINA), the Scottish Pre-school Play Association (SPPA), the Gaelic Pre-school Council (CNSA), Highland Pre-school Service (HPS) and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) provide their own training courses for their members. These courses will be useful for your everyday job, but might not be nationally recognised. If you are unsure whether a course an employer is offering is nationally recognised then you should speak to your employer, the careers service or the SQA.

Is help available for the cost of qualifications?

If you are 16 or 17 and are following a Skillseekers (including Modern Apprenticeships) programme your LEC will provide funding for the training element. Many people on the Skillseekers programme are employed and will receive a wage. If you are 18-24 and are following a Skillseekers programme funding may be available from your LEC; and some limited funding is now available for Modern Apprenticeships for people aged over 24. You should contact your LEC to discuss the funding possibilities for Skillseekers and Modern Apprenticeships.

If you are studying towards non-advanced further education (FE) qualifications (such as National Units or SVQs) in a FE college, you may be eligible for support towards tuition fee costs. You may also be eligible for a bursary that can help towards maintenance, travel and childcare costs. You should discuss this with your college. If you are working, your employer may be willing to pay tuition fee costs. You should discuss this with your employer. Access Funds are available for part-time and full-time further education students aged 16 and over who may have particular financial difficulty in accessing or continuing their courses. You should contact the Access Fund Manager at the college/institution or your student adviser for further information.

If you are in higher education (or studying for a higher education qualification in a FE college, such as an HNC), you may be eligible for assistance under the higher education support system. Your college/institution will be able to tell you whether your course is an eligible one.

If you are studying part-time (especially if you are unemployed or on low income) you may not have to pay fees under the fee waiver scheme. Both full-time and part-time students who are disabled may also be exempt from tuition fees under this scheme. Furthermore, if you have particular financial difficulties in continuing your course you may be eligible for assistance through the FE Hardship Funds or the Young Students Retention Fund. You should discuss these options with your college/institution. You can also apply to your college if you need help with maintenance and travel costs relating to your course. In addition, you can also apply to your college for help with childcare funding.

Generally, if you are a full-time higher education student you will not be entitled to social security benefits. However, if you have dependants or have a disability you may be eligible for some types of benefit. You should contact your local Benefits Agency office for advice. If you are studying part-time and are available for work, you may be eligible for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA).

If you are paying fees for your training, you can claim tax relief if you are working towards an SVQ, up to and including Level 4. The Inland Revenue leaflet IR119, entitled 'Tax Relief for Vocational Training' gives more information and is available from any Tax Office.

Building a career

How do I use qualifications to build my career?

The wide number of different qualifications available means that you can move between qualifications in a variety of ways. Most people will want to start with an introductory level qualification and then move on to obtain higher-level qualifications. Some people will want to stick to one specific subject, playwork for example. Other people may want to try out different areas, for example obtain playwork qualifications and then early years care and education qualifications. You could start by studying for qualifications full-time within a college of further education. However, once you progress and get a job, you may prefer to pursue qualifications while you are at work. This is one of the great advantages of working in this sector: you can build your career according to your preferences and circumstances. There is no such thing as a 'set career path'. If you start down one particular route, this does not mean you cannot change direction if your interests and circumstances change.

The diagram at the back of this booklet shows the main qualifications and possible progression paths between them. As explained above, these will not be the only paths available. However, the diagram shows the more usual progression routes that are followed.

I've got a qualification that's not listed here: can I use it to progress?

This booklet only lists current, common, nationally accredited qualifications. Other qualifications exist and some workers may hold older qualifications that have been phased out. This doesn't mean that you have to start again, simply that a particular award has been overtaken by more recent ones. If you hold a qualification that is not listed and are concerned about its acceptability, then you should contact your local careers service for advice. You may be asked to demonstrate that the qualification you hold is equivalent to a qualification listed in this booklet.

I did my training outside Scotland: can I use my qualifications?

Many qualifications obtained in the rest of the British Isles will be accepted in Scotland. If you want further information you should contact your local careers service. If you have obtained qualifications from outside the British Isles you may have to demonstrate that your qualifications are suitable for working with children. Again, you should contact your local careers service for further advice.

How do I move on to degree level studies in early education, childcare and playwork?

BA degree courses in areas relevant to work in Early Education, Childcare and Playwork are available in a number of higher education institutions. These are normally part-time courses aimed at adults working in this sector. If you have, for example, qualifications such as a PDA Certification in Childcare and Education, an HNC in Childcare and Education, Highers, or an SVQ4 in Early Years Care and Education, you are eligible to apply for entry on to one of these courses. Some of the qualifications mentioned may provide you with exemption from the initial parts of the degree programme. If you are interested in finding out more about these courses you should contact your local university or college or alternatively your local careers service.

What about access to other professions, including teaching and social work?

Once you have had some experience of working with young children, you may want to move into related fields - for example, into working with adolescents or with children in residential centres, or into community education or community development more generally. You may also want to move into related professions such as social work, community work, teaching or nursing. The qualifications you will have gained in working with young children will provide a useful foundation for a move into related occupations, but you will usually have to obtain additional qualifications. For example, to become a teacher you will need a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) or Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), and to become a social worker you will need a Diploma in Social Work (DipSW). If you are interested in related career opportunities you should speak to your local careers service.

Useful Contacts and Further Information

If you are now interested in finding out more about working in early education, childcare or playwork you should contact one of the organisations below:

  • Learndirect Scotland promotes the benefits of lifelong learning. The Learndirect Scotland freephone helpline (0808 100 9000), website and network of branded learning centres offer information and advice about different types of learning opportunities, including CD-ROM based courses, distance learning, 'bite-sized' courses, workplace training and traditional classroom-based learning. People can also access information about qualifications, funding and meeting childcare and travel costs. The helpline is open Monday to Friday: 7.00am to 9.00pm and Saturday and Sunday 9.00am to 6.00pm.
  • If you are at school, college or university your careers/guidance teacher or office.
  • Careers Services provide information, advice and guidance to 16 and 17 year olds, those in full- or part-time education at school or college and those of any age with disabilities (including learning disabilities). Some Careers Services also provide advice and guidance for other groups. Telephone numbers are listed in the phone book or available from Learndirect Scotland.
  • Adult Guidance Networks offer a service similar to that of Careers Services to adults. You can get the number of your local Network from Learndirect Scotland.
  • Employment Service offices or Jobcentres can provide advice and support on finding work and on national programmes such as the New Deal, Skillseekers, Modern Apprenticeships and Training for Work. You can find the number for your local office or Jobcentre in the phone book.
  • Local Childcare Partnerships can provide more information about the 'Making Choices' orientation programme, which can help you decide whether a career with children is right for you and which occupation to choose. If you are not sure which is your local childcare partnership you can contact the Early Education and Childcare Division at the Scottish Executive (0131 244 7123).
  • Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care will regulate and inspect childcare providers after April 2002. For more details of registration requirements after this date you can visit the website at www.scotland.gov.uk/government/rcp
  • Local Enterprise Companies (LECs) can also provide advice on national work based training programmes, such as Skillseekers. If you are not sure of your nearest LEC office you can phone either Scottish Enterprise (0141 248 2700) or Highlands and Islands Enterprise (01463 234171). Phone numbers for all LECs are listed in the phone book under Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
  • CNSA (Comhairle Nan Sgoiltean Araich) is an independent organisation that promotes and creates opportunities in Gaelic education. If you require further information about Gaelic provision you can contact CNSA on 01463 225469 or visit their website at: www.gaelicworld.co.uk
  • If you have access to the Internet you might want to look at www.ceg.org.uk which lists job and course descriptors for many careers, including some early education and childcare courses. It also has useful links to other websites.
  • The Scottish Qualifications Authority (the national body in Scotland for the development, accreditation, assessment, and certification of qualifications other than degrees). Their helpline number is 0141 242 2214 and their website: www.sqa.org.uk
  • If you want information on funding for higher education courses then the Students Awards Agency for Scotland will be able to help. Their telephone number is 0131 476 8212. Their website address is www.student-support-saas.gov.uk which also gives information on funding availability for some non-HE courses.

Umbrella bodies and other useful contacts

Scottish Independent Nurseries Association
Abbothill
Ayr
Ayrshire
KA6 6AQ
Tel: 01292 571354

Scottish Pre-school Play Association
14 Elliot Place
Glasgow
G3 8EP
Tel: 0141 221 4148

Scottish Childminding Association
Stirling Business Centre
Wellgreen
Stirling
FK8 2DZ
Tel: 01786 445377

Comhairle Nan Sgoiltean Araich
(Gaelic Pre-school Council)
53 Church Street
Inverness
IV1 1DR
Tel: 01463 225469

Highland Pre-school Service
Kinmyles Building
Leachkin Road
Inverness
IV3 6NN
Tel: 01463 703440

Scottish Childcare and Education Board
6 Kilford Crescent
Dundonald
Kilmarnock
KA2 9DW
Tel: 01563 850440

Early Years National Training Organisation
Pilgrim's Lodge
Holywell Hill
St Albans
Hertfordshire
AL1 1ER
Tel: 01727 738300

SPRITO
(National Training Organisation for Sport, Recreation and Allied Occupations)
24 Stevenson Way
London
NW1 2HD
Tel: 0171 388 7755

If you have queries or comments on the text of this booklet please contact:

Richard Wilkins
The Scottish Executive
Early Education and Childcare Division
Area 2B
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ

Tel: 0131 244 7854

More copies of this booklet are available from:

The Stationery Office Bookshop
71 Lothian Road
Edinburgh
EH3 9AZ

Tel: 0870 606 55 66

Or, it can be downloaded from the publications section of the Scottish Executive website: www.scotland.gov.uk

Main progression routes for qualifications in early education, childcare and playwork in Scotland
diagram