NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Educator) (Tech levels 2016 and 2017)

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  • England

The qualification is listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables in the Tech level category.

Tech level qualifications are primarily developed for learners aged 16 – 19 studying on either a full or part-time basis.

Tech levels are aimed at learners with a keen interest in a particular industry, occupation or occupational type.

Along with developing transferable skills required to work in a number of job roles, these qualifications are designed to equip learners with the high level specialist technical knowledge and skills to enable them to work in a specific industry.

They can help provide entry into employment in a particular sector, onto an apprenticeship or into higher education in a related vocational area.

This qualification prepares learners to become Early Years Educators, enabling them to work with and care for children from birth to 5 years, and gain knowledge of children aged 5 to 7 years.

The aim of this qualification is to confirm the learner’s competence to work in a Level 3 work role. It requires them to demonstrate the full application of skills, knowledge, and understanding. This qualification will guide and assess the development of knowledge and skills relating to early years.

Tech levels are recognised by trade or professional organisations, or at least six employers.

Education context

Following the Wolf review of vocational qualifications in England in 2011, the Department for Education announced a number of characteristics that Level 3 Tech level qualifications have to demonstrate to feature in performance tables for 2016.

As a result, over 90% of the Level 3 qualifications previously recognised in performance tables will not be recognised in 2016 and beyond; these qualifications will have been delivered during the academic years 2014–16.

The new characteristics for Tech Levels included in 2016 performance measures define purpose, size, and recognition.

Qualifications to be included in the performance tables from 2018 will have to meet further requirements in respect of content, assessment, and grading; these additional requirements are not reflected in this qualification.

Early Years Educator (EYE) qualifications were introduced in September 2014.

They meet the National College of Teaching and Leadership’s approved design criteria.

From September 2014, approved EYE qualifications became the only Licence to Practise qualifications for people wishing to work with children from birth to five years.

CACHE-branded qualifications are specialist qualifications in the childcare, health and social care, and education sectors.

In 2015 CACHE became part of NCFE.

Awarding organisation
  • NCFE
Qualification code

To pass this qualification the learner needs to:

  • pass 27 mandatory units
  • pass a longitudinal study
  • pass three externally set and marked assessments
Subject areas

Mandatory units:

  • Support healthy lifestyles for children through the provision of food and nutrition
  • Support healthy lifestyles for children through exercise
  • Support physical care routines for children
  • Promote children’s emotional well-being
  • Understand how to support children who are unwell
  • Understand the needs of the mother and baby during pre-conception, pregnancy and the first year of life
  • An introduction to the role of the early years practitioner
  • Understand legislation relating to the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children
  • Use legislation relating to the health and safety of children
  • Use legislation relating to equality, diversity and inclusive practice
  • Work in partnership
  • Understand the value of play in early years
  • Plan, lead and review play activities which support children’s learning and development in relation to current frameworks
  • Apply theoretical perspectives and philosophical approaches to play
  • Contribute to enabling play environments knowledge
  • Develop emergent literacy skills of children
  • Develop emergent mathematical skills of children
  • Understand the needs of the child in preparing for school
  • Understand how to plan to meet the needs of the developing child
  • Facilitate the cognitive development of children
  • Develop the speech, language and communication of children
  • Promote the physical development of children
  • Promote the personal, social and emotional development of children
  • Support children with additional needs
  • Use observation, assessment and planning to promote the development of children
  • Use longitudinal studies to observe, assess and plan for children’s needs
  • Engage in professional development
  • Level 3

UK Level 3 qualification regulated to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)[1]

A levels are Level 3 qualifications regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)[2]

Level 3 is equivalent to Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 6

[1] The QCF was a credit-based transfer system which recognised qualifications and units by awarding credits. It has now been withdrawn for all new qualifications.

[2] The RQF is the new system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual, indexing them by level and size.


A* – C


To gain this qualification the learner will need to achieve the following:

  • Pass in all units. All units in this qualification are mandatory. Units will be internally assessed. NCFE CACHE have created innovative non-mandatory tasks for all units, with the exception of Unit 3.15 (see Longitudinal Study below), which is mandatory.
  • Longitudinal Study (Unit 3.15). This will be a mandatory task set by NCFE CACHE. It will be internally assessed.
  • Assessment 1. Short Answer paper based on Themes 1: Health and well-being and Theme 2: Legislation, frameworks and professional practice.
  • Assessment 2. Reflective Study based on Theme 3: Play, development and learning for school readiness
  • Assessment 3. Extended Essay based on Theme 3: Play, development and learning for school readiness

Assessments 1, 2 and 3 will be externally set and externally marked.

Competence in a real work environment.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Full achievement of the qualification is not possible until all components are passed.

Unit certification will be available.

Resit arrangements

Within each qualification there is a maximum of one further opportunity after the first submission for learners to submit the External Assessment to achieve a pass grade or to improve a grade.

Guided/notional learning hours
643 hours
UCAS Tariff points

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Educator)

Grade Points
A* 112
A 96
B 80
C 64
D 48
Key issues for UK HE admissions

The first cohort will have completed the qualifications by July 2016.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Most learners start their studies in September and complete towards the end of the following academic year.

There is the flexibility to allow some learners to progress quicker than others.

Results are confirmed, and certificates issued, upon completion.

Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current.

Reporting and certification information

Results are made available to CACHE centres throughout the year.

Data is provided for DfE, BIS, Ofqual, Skills for Care and Development and Skills Active.

Progression information

Upon achievement of this qualification, learners will gain their licence to practise, and it is intended that they will be able to enter the workforce as Early Years Educators, or progress to higher education.

Learners can progress into various job roles in the statutory, voluntary or private sectors such as:

  • practitioner in day nurseries
  • practitioner in nursery schools
  • practitioner in reception classes in primary schools
  • pre-school worker
  • home-based child carer