Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ)

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This QIP covers a vocational qualification which is not listed on the Department for Education (DfE) 16 – 19 performance tables for England.

This qualification is not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables because it is not designed to meet the requirements of the Key Stage 5 performance tables.

  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales

Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable students to gain the skills required to perform a particular job, or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.

Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the DfE performance tables, if approved for teaching to 16-19 year olds by the Secretary of State for Education in England under Section 96, where this is in the best interests of individual students.

The Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (QCF) is aimed at students who are already working in a playwork setting. It is aimed at experienced playworkers who have a wide knowledge and understanding of children and young people and now want to move on to a managerial role.

Settings could be out-of-school work (including afterschool or breakfast clubs) and seasonal holiday clubs.

Students may already be working as playworkers or assistant playworkers or as children’s holiday representatives.

The qualification prepares students for roles in management of play environments and as line managers of other staff. It covers the knowledge and skills needed when working unsupervised and students will need to demonstrate their managerial skills in the workplace.

Education context

This qualification is designed for post-16 students and falls under the oversight of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Edcuation and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). A significant number of students will undertake these qualifications post-19.

Following its 2012 review of post-19 qualifications the ESFA removed 1,800 qualifications from public funding and a further 1,000 in 2014. In March 2014 the government published a Reform Plan for Vocational Education.

This qualification has not been subject to the same reforms as Applied General and Tech Level qualifications (which are specifically designed for 16-19 year old students). However the ESFA has implemented a new set of business rules for the approval of qualifications for funding, based on the 2013 Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England. These rules recognise that adults may have different needs, aspirations and ambitions to younger people and include that qualifications should be:

  • relevant to individuals and employers and affordable for all sizes of business and for individuals
  • rigorous and based on a robust future-looking occupational standard designed and assessed by the sector
  • recognised as worthy of investment, giving a clear signal of the economically valuable skills, knowledge and understanding required in an occupation now and in the future.

Regulation of vocational qualifications

The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country – Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland) SQA (Scotland) and Qualifications Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.

Awarding organisation
  • Pearson (Edexcel)
Qualification code
600/3264/9 (Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ))

Students must achieve a minimum 65 credits in total.

46 credits must come from the 13 mandatory units and a minimum of 19 credits from any of the 11 optional units.

Subject areas

Mandatory units:

  • Understand How to Safeguard the Wellbeing of Children and Young People
  • Understand How to Support Positive Outcomes for Children and Young People
  • Understand Children and Young People’s Self-directed Play
  • Understand the Organisational Framework for Play
  • Understand Relationships in the Play Environment
  • Understand Health, Safety and Security in the Play Environment
  • Understand How to Plan for and Support Children and Young People’s Self-directed Play
  • Contribute to an organisational framework that reflects the needs and protects the rights of children and young people
  • Develop and maintain a healthy, safe and secure play environment for children and young people
  • Develop and promote positive relationships in a play environment
  • Plan for and support children and young people’s self-directed play
  • Understand Playwork Principles
  • Engage in personal development in health, social care or children’s and young people’s settings

Optional units:

  • Work with colleagues in a playwork team
  • Engage with parents, carers and families in a play environment
  • Administer playwork provision
  • Inclusive play, working with disabled children and young people
  • Promote own organisation in the community
  • Contribute to evaluating, developing and promoting services
  • Organise and supervise travel
  • Manage a budget
  • Recruit, select and keep colleagues
  • Provide learning opportunities for colleagues
  • Allocate and monitor the progress and quality of work in own area of responsibility
  • Level 3

This is a Level 3 qualification regulated to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).¹

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.

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 and replaced by the RQF and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales.


Pass, Fail


Students must pass all units.

They must achieve all of the specified learning outcomes and satisfy all of the assessment criteria.

To successfully achieve a unit the student must gather a portfolio of evidence which shows they have met the required standard in the assessment criteria.

Evidence can take a variety of different forms including:

  • direct observation of the student’s performance by their assessor
  • outcomes from oral or written questioning
  • products of the student’s work
  • personal statements and reflective accounts
  • outcomes from simulation, where permitted by the assessment strategy
  • professional discussion
  • assignment, project and case studies
  • authentic statements and witness testimonies
  • expert witness testimony
  • evidence of Recognition of Prior Learning
Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

All units must be passed.

There are no relative weightings as the qualification is pass only.

Guided/notional learning hours
437 hours
UCAS Tariff points

Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ) (QCF)

Grade Points
P 32


Key issues for UK HE admissions

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications that are not listed on the DfE 16-19 performance tables for England:

  • Some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE.
  • Applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications.
  • These qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
  • If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Certification is on completion of the qualification which can be at any time.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Nov 2011
Qualification dates notes

This is a current qualification.

Reporting and certification information

The results of this qualification are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL.

12 students were certificated with this qualification in 2015.

Progression information

This qualification intends to prepare students for employment in playwork environments in roles such adventure centre supervisor or as a manager of any playwork provision.

Students can also progress to higher education, possibly in conjunction with other qualifications and/or to a foundation degree.