Early Education and Childcare NC

What is special about this course?

The National Certificate in Early Education and Childcare is aimed at school leavers, adult returners or those in employment in the Early Education and Childcare sector as a basis for building on good practice, continuing professional development or for those who wish to progress to further study in Early Education and Childcare. This Award also provides a theoretical background to those students who may wish to progress onto other Higher Education Courses which are related to the care, learning and development of children, for example teacher training.

The course aims to -

  • Provide an insight into the wide range of factors which might impact upon a child's health and development.

Increase your awareness of -

  • The need to view health and development holistically
  • The cultural diversity in our society and its impact on the health and development needs of children
  • What can be considered as effective early education and childcare provision
  • The role and range of professionals and agencies contributing to the development and health of children aged 0 to 12 years.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have 4 National 5 (or equivalent) qualifications, one of which should be English. 

If you don't meet our entry requirments your previous experience and credentials may still qualify you for this course. We will arrange an appointment with a member of college staff to discuss your suitablility upon receipt of your application.

Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit this webpage.

Students will study 12 national qualification units including the following:

  • Child Development: Birth to Twelve Years
  • Developmental Theory in Early Education and Childcare
  • Holistic Approaches to Child Health Early Education and Childcare
  • Supporting Children's Rights and Entitlements

along with Core Skills of Communication, Numeracy and IT units.

Students will also have the opportunity to complete the Higher Early Education and Childcare.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time
  • Part Time

Learning and teaching will include face to face lectures*, individual and group work reinforced by handouts and worksheets.

Your class may be supported by video conference teaching.

Practical work is essential and should underpin theoretical work in addition to developing practical skills related to the work of an early education and childcare professional.

*Due to small class sizes some classes may be delivered by video conferencing.

How long will my course last?


This course can be studied either full-time over one full academic year of 34 weeks, or part-time over two academic years.  You will attend two work experience placements for a minimum of 60 days in total.


Where can I study my course?

Start date

The course starts in September. For exact dates please contact your local centre.


For the latest information on fees please see our fees policy.

What can I do on completion of my course?

This qualification allows you to register with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) as a support worker and work as a support worker in a variety of early education and childcare settings. You may progress to HNC Childhood Practice or SVQ Level 3 Social Services (Children and Young People).

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I knew when I started that I’d probably be the only guy taking the course in Campbeltown, but it didn’t worry me and to be honest we seem to mix so well that I don’t even notice.

In the placements I’ve had, the teaching staff and parents all seem to think it’s really positive to have a male student.  Scotland is crying out for more male teachers, and hopefully I’m going to be one of them.

I’m loving the course, I’m loving my placements and my tutors could not be more helpful and supportive.  I’m looking forward to repaying all their hard work by taking this all the way to qualified teacher status.

Ciarán Norris - Campbeltown

Apply for Early Education and Childcare NC

I want to start in 2021/22

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at Argyll College UHI. Argyll College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.