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Qualification Guide

There are a huge amount of childcare courses and qualifications around at this time, currently the main recognised childcare qualifications are:

  • NNEB
  • BTEC
  • NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) / SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualification)
  • City & Guild
  • Montessori
  • Colleges
  • MNT Maternity Nurse Training

CACHE (Council for Award in Childcare and Education)

They are a specialist body that develop courses and qualifications in child care. Qualifications range from Level 1 to Level 5 and are designed for people wanting to work or who are already working with children or young people.

NAMWC (National Association of Maternal and Child Welfare)

The NAMCW certificate is a one-year course and the diploma is a two-year full-time course, which involves two days practical experience per week in a variety of placements, including work with special needs and in playgroups.


An NNEB diploma in nursery nursing indicates the holder undertook a full time 2-year course covering the ages of children between 0-7. This course covers the physical, social, educational, intellectual and emotional needs of different ages. Other areas of study include health and hygiene, play and first aid.

BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council)

The BTEC National Diploma Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing) is a full time course covering all aspects of the care and development of children aged 0 - 7yrs. This course involves a two day a week placements on a variety of settings - schools, home and preschools.

This course is on a par with NNEB but is of a higher academic level.

  • BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing) is a full time course that is the equivalent of the first year of a degree. While the BTEC National Certificate Childhood Studies (Nursery Nursing) is a  A part-time course which is equivalent to two A-levels, NVQ level 3, Advanced GNVQ, or relevant work experience.

NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) in Early Years Care and Education

The NVQ is a government initiative to give people with experience, but no formal qualifications, the opportunity to obtain a recognised qualification. This is not an academic qualification but based on practical experience in the work place 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) These are assessed qualifications, no exams are taken.

These qualifications below are usally obtained by a childcare worker in a supervised role, e.g. a nursery assistant, playgroup worker a childminder, or a mother's help.

  • NVQ in Childcare and Education - level 2
  • NVQ in Child Care and Education (Work with Babies - level 2)
  • NVQ in Childcare and Education - level 3: usually obtained by professional childcare workers and could be considered the equivalent of an NNEB. A childcarer undertaking this training shows a commitment to learning about high quality childcare. An experienced childminder, nursery nurse or mothers help could be assessed at this level.
  • The NVQ level 4: is undertaken by a childcare worker who would already be trained to management level

City & Guilds

City and Guild offers a range of vocational courses including Childcare and Education NVQs to Level 2 and 3.


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.


Private Colleges offering specialist training include the Norland College, The Princess Christian College and The Chiltern Nanny Training College. Courses are 2 years and are generally followed by a probationary period of 6-9 months.


This is a highly recognised Maternity Nursing course. Candidates must have a minimum of 3yrs working as a nanny with babies or a maternity nurse, previous work history as a midwife, healthcare assistant or similar, prior to taking part in this course.

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