There are various issuing bodies for those looking to study diplomas in childcare.

Most agencies and parents are looking for candidates who have either completed a two year diploma or a level 3 diploma.

Below is a brief description of the various course providers and courses they offer.

Childcare Qualifications

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are work based awards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that are achieved through assessment and training. In Scotland they are known as the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ).

To achieve an NVQ, candidates must prove that they have the ability (competence) to carry out their job to the required standard. NVQs are based on National Occupational Standards that describe the ‘competencies’ expected in any given job role. Typically, candidates will work towards an NVQ that reflects their role in a paid or voluntary position”. View Wikipedia Page

Generally we register candidates with any of the following Level 3 diplomas: NVQ in Childcare, Learning and Development, NVQ in Childcare and Education, NVQ in Health and Social care or NVQ Teaching assistant.

BTEC and CACHE are two other awarding bodies issuing diplomas in childcare. These courses are generally studied at college – candidates can either do this instead of studying for their A-levels or following their A-levels. These courses split their week between college study and work-based placements. The placements will be with children ranging in age from new born to 8 years and will be in nurseries and primary schools. Occasionally some students will work in home based placements; however these opportunities are becoming less widely available.

Some colleges will have an on-sight nursery where they will be able to monitor the students directly, whilst other colleges will send their students to local schools and nurseries.

Examples of qualifications obtained are CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education (formerly known as NNEB), CACHE Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning and Development, CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Home-based Childcare or BTEC Children’s Care, Learning and Development and BTEC Level 3 in Children’s play, Learning and Development

Older candidates may have completed a NAMCW qualification (National Association of Maternal and Child Welfare) these courses were generally for one year and would have been a stepping stone to more academically minded courses such as the NNEB.

Private Colleges

The UK has a long history of providing qualified, professional nannies. Various private colleges have a limited number of highly sought after places where candidates can specialise in studying childcare.

The most well-known of which is Norland College based in Bath. Norland offers students the ability to study a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies or the CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education. They have their own nursery a short walk from the college and use this to assess the candidates.

After the students have completed two years of study they are required to take a probationary post for one year in either a home or nursery setting. Only once they have successfully completed this post and passed Norland College’s requirements are they awarded the prestigious Norland Diploma – a sign of excellence in the field of childcare.

Those studying the BA degree will complete the last two years on a distance learning course basis whilst they are working.

Chiltern College is the only remaining residential college for candidates wanting to study childcare. The college is based in Reading and only has a small intake of students each year. They have an on-site nursery where the students carry out some of their placements, however the students will also carry out home based placements generally helping with new-borns as well as primary school placements in the local area. Students will either study the CACHE or NVQ level 3 diplomas and after completing a successful year long post will also be awarded the highly respected Chiltern Certificate

Princess Christian College was another residential training college based in Manchester. Candidates studied the same childcare qualifications as offered by the other colleges and candidates were awarded the Princess Christian certificate after successfully completing a year’s probationary post and passing their diploma. Although the college is no longer in existence, candidates who have completed their certificate are still well thought of in the industry.

Other Types of Qualifications

Candidates can choose to study childcare at university and can specialise in various fields including Early Childhood Studies and Teaching. Clients are now also becoming increasingly interested in candidates with degrees in foreign language.

Montessori Training

Candidates can also study the Montessori teaching Diploma. The Montessori approach places an emphasis on independence and freedom (within limits) of children’s learning.

Foreign Certification

Nannies from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa also usually have a good reputation in the field. These candidates will often have studied childcare in their home countries and may have one of the following diplomas.

TAFE – the Australian vocational qualification is similar to an NVQ. Candidates will either have studied a Certificate 3 in Children’s Services or a Diploma in Children’s Services or the similarly weighted Community Services (Child care).

In New Zealand there is a tradition of specialist nanny colleges, candidates will often have studied at the Rangi Ruru nanny school or Wellington Nannies College. There they study a diploma in Childcare and Education very similar to the UK’s qualification or a degree in Early Years.

New Zealand also has a government based initiative which aims to teach parents and child carers alike the best way to look after young children. A few nannies will have gone through the PORSE system and completed their qualifications.

South Africa also has a similar vocational qualification system to the UK and candidates will study the N6 Certificate in Childcare.

There are of course many other courses offered across the world.

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– Julia