A Guide to Qualifications

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There are dozens of childcare qualifications available to those who work or wish to work with children, we also take on Nannies who no formal training but have worked as a Nanny or in the childcare sector before registering with us as long as the experience is substantial & relevant. We believe a candidate with varied childcare experience can be just as good as her counterpart however most employers prefer the nanny to have completed a childcare course.

You will need to have:

  • An up to date CV and checkable references.
  • You will be asked to bring proof of your qualifications and certificates to your interview & a clear DBS check and a 1st aid certificate (If they are not current we can help you with that process)
  • Other documents to support your application such as a drivers licence and passport. We have tried to cover all the most relevant courses that a nanny might have below.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, recognized certificates or diplomas are awarded by the Council for Award’s in Children’s Care and Education (CACHE), as well as by institutions affiliated with the Association of Nursery Training Colleges. In Scotland, the Scottish Child Care and Education Board (SNNB) awards certificates of qualification. In addition, CACHE, SNNB and the Royal Society of Health offer post-certification qualifications.

The main recognised childcare qualifications are:

  • CACHE Level 3, Diploma in Childcare and Education (DCE) (Previously known as NNEB) A two-year, full-time or three-year part-time course equivalent to two A-levels
  • BTEC Higher National Diploma
    A full time course equivalent of the first year of a degree.
  • NVQ in Childcare and Education – level 3
    considered the equivalent of the CACHE Level 3 Diploma. An experienced childminder or mother’s help could apply to be assessed at this level.
  • City & Guild
  • Montessori
  • Early years degree or diploma
  • Bachelor of Education


CACHE are the Council for Award in Childcare and Education. They are a specialist body that develops courses and qualifications in child care. They have four roles;

  • To write and assesses training courses for new entrants to the childcare and education and play work professions.
  • To accredit the competence of childcares and play workers in their workplace.
  • To raise the standard of children’s care and education and play work.
  • They are the Early Years National Training Organisation

CACHE Foundation Award in Caring for Children (CFCC)

A taster course giving an introduction to the type of knowledge and understanding required when working in childcare.

CACHE Level 2, Certificate in Childcare and Education (CCE)

A one-year full-time or two-year part-time course for students wanting to be child care assistants. Having gained the Certificate, you may progress to other qualifications such CACHE Diploma in Child Care and Education or, once working, to the Level 3, NVQ in Early Years Care and Education which offers assessment in the workplace.

CACHE Level 3, Diploma in Child Care and Education (DCE) (Previously known as NNEB)

This is a two-year full-time or three-year part-time course and is equivalent to two A-levels. It is a level 3 award.

  • The course takes two years to complete and covers health, safety, nutrition and educational play for ages up to seven. Around 60% of student’s time is spent in college and the remaining 40% is spent with different age children on placements in homes, day nurseries, hospitals and junior schools. Around half those who graduate with the diploma will go onto work in local authority, private day nurseries and hospitals while the rest will become nannies with families.
  • It can also be used as an entry level qualification to midwifery training, provided the candidate has GCSE grade C in English Language and Mathematics or a Science subject. Moving into teaching or social work is another option with the diploma. Combined with at least one years experience in the work place, it qualifies candidates to under take the two year full-time Diploma in Social Work. Social workers with a nursery nurse background are particularly suited to work in child protection and residential children’s units.

CACHE Level 3 Certificate in Child-minding Practice (CCP) develops the knowledge and skills for those who are or are looking to become a registered childminder. Developed with the National Childminding Association (NCMA).

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BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council)

A full time course that is the equivalent of the first two years of a degree or 240 CAT Points. The course focusses on management and senior positions within the child care field, such as starting a nursery or curriculum development and analysis, and is therefore most suitable for those who wish to enter a senior management or supervisory role either within a child care provision setting or a local authority position. There is no formal entry requirement but if you have any of following you would be at the right academic level;

BTEC National Diploma Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing)

BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing)

A full time course that is the equivalent of the first year of a degree. No formal entry requirement but if you have any of following you would be at the right academic level;

BTEC National Certificate Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing)

A part-time course which is equivalent to two A-levels, NVQ level 3, Advanced GNVQ, or relevant work experience.

BTEC Higher National Certificate Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing)

The BTEC First Certificate

A day release course equivalent to 4 GCSE’s, grades A-C.

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NVQs in Early Years Care and Education

The NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) is a government initiative to give people with experience but no formal qualification the opportunity to get a recognised qualification. This is not an academic qualification but based on practical experience in the work place.

NVQ’s are assessed within the workplace where students have to prove that they have achieved a certain level of competence and capability. Students have to complete 15 modules and courses can take up to two years to complete: Candidate can take as long as they need to complete the award.

You don’t actually have to be in paid employment to be assessed for an NVQ – a voluntary worker could qualify. Crucially you have to be in a workplace setting. It’s not what you know but what you do!

NVQ in Childcare and Education – level 2

This is a qualification obtained by a childcare worker in a supervised role, e.g. a nursery assistant, playgroup worker a childminder, or an experienced but untrained nanny (ie a mother’s help who went on to be a nanny.

You must register with an NVQ accredited centre and start to gain the ‘modules’ required by being assessed at your work place. Eventually you will have a portfolio of ‘evidence’ to demonstrate ability and competence to the assessors.

You will be assessed in eight core subjects which include ‘Work with young children’, ‘Maintain the safety of children’ and ‘maintain a child orientated environment.’

You will also be assessed on one of four ‘endorsements’ which focus on the type of experience you have. E.g. you could choose:

  • Work with Babies
  • Work in Support of Others
  • Work in a Pre-school Group
  • Work in a Community Run Pre-school Group.

A nanny would be likely to choose ‘work with babies’ or ‘work in a pre-school group’ and would acquire an NVQ in Child Care and Education (Work with Babies – level 2)

NVQ in Childcare and Education – level 3

This can be obtained by professional childcare workers and could be considered the equivalent of an NNEB. A child carer undertaking this training shows a commitment to learning about high quality childcare. An experienced childminder or mother’s help could apply to be assessed at this level.
Here there are 12 core units. The more challenging ones include, ‘Promote Children’s Sensory and Intellectual Development’, ‘Promote the Development of Children’s Language and Communication skills’ and ‘Contribute to the Protection of Children from Child Abuse.’
There are also five ‘endorsements’

  • Group Care and Education
  • Pre-School Provision
  • Family Support
  • Special Needs
  • Family Day Care

A nanny would choose Family Day Care to give her an NVQ in Childcare and Education (Family Day Care) level 3.

The NVQ level 4 is undertaken by a childcare worker who would already be trained to management level – more academically challenging. It consists of three strands to choose from: Advanced Practice; Enhancing Quality and Quality Control; Management.

Maternity Nurse Courses Includes emergency first-aid, prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, post-natal care of mother and child, breast-feeding support, baby massage and maternal and infant nutrition.

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City & Guild

City and Guild offers a range of vocational courses including Childcare and Education NVQs to Level 2 and 3. The courses compete with CACHE courses and are similar in content. C&G are ideal for those seeking a broader base in childcare which would enable them to care for sick children or handicapped children.

There are a few different options:

  • An NVQ level 2 City and Guilds offer nine different ‘care’ NVQs which are mainly concerned with the care of the elderly, children in care, the handicapped and mentally ill. Courses include ‘Domiciliary Support’, ‘Postnatal Care,’ ‘Direct Care’ and ‘Residential/Hospital Support’. These can all be tailored to provide the childcare experience you are seeking. This course is ideal if you are thinking of working in the public sector, such as in hospitals etc.
  • The NVQ in care at level 3 is similar to that of Level 2, but more detailed. There are courses such as ‘Acute Care’ (of children)’, ‘Group and Foster care,’ ‘Supporting Families’ etc.

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The Montessori Method is an internationally renowned qualification. It is a method and philosophy that gives much more individual attention to the child and his/her needs and encourages him/her to develop at his or her own pace. It is a holistic curriculum that aims to develop the child socially, intellectually, physically and emotionally.

In order to graduate as a Montessori teacher, you will need a minimum of a college degree and a year’s student teaching under supervision. Once you graduate, you can work with infants, toddlers, pre-primary or elementary level children.

Courses & qualifications are changing all the time. The basics remain the same but the government regularly restructure the whole framework of qualifications for those who want to work in the childcare profession.

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