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Play School

Early Years Educator

What is an

Early Years Educator?

An Early Years Educator is a highly skilled and nurturing professional who plays a pivotal role in the early development of children aged from birth to 5 years old. This role encompasses various job titles, such as nursery nurse and childminder, all of whom are dedicated to ensuring that young children receive the best possible care and education while staying safe and healthy.
These educators work in diverse settings, including full day care, children's centres, pre-schools, reception classes, and as childminders. They are responsible for designing and overseeing a range of activities tailored to each child's unique needs and interests, combining child-initiated and adult-led approaches. Early Years Educators also foster language and numeracy skills through interactive play and games.
Crucially, they serve as a child's key person, creating a secure and nurturing environment where each child can thrive. This includes meeting the child's care needs, such as feeding and changing, and observing their development to adapt the learning experience accordingly.
Collaboration is essential in this role, as Early Years Educators work closely with colleagues, parents, and other professionals to ensure each child's individual needs are met. They also adhere to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirements set by the government.
With experience, an Early Years Educator can advance to become a manager of an early years setting, demonstrating their commitment to improving outcomes for children.
In addition to their core responsibilities, Early Years Educators exhibit specific behaviours. They demonstrate care and compassion, providing the highest quality childcare while professionally challenging any subpar practices. They are team-focused, sharing their expertise and mentoring colleagues to support the learning and development of others. Honesty, trust, and integrity are fundamental, as they work ethically and confidentially with empathy and professionalism. Early Years Educators are deeply committed to inspiring children's growth through child-centred care and education, while also ensuring inclusivity and equal access to learning opportunities for all children. Their working practices are guided by fundamental British values, promoting democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of diverse faiths and beliefs.

For further information regarding the standard, click here

Funding Band



18 Months



Baby with Wooden Toy

Entry Requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements, but individuals should have had supervisory responsibility in order to start on this apprenticeship.

•    Level 2 Award in Functional Skills English
•    Level 2 Award in Functional Skills Mathematics
•    18 years or above or at the employer’s discretion due to the nature of the work

The End-Point Assessment Process




  • On and off-the-job training to develop knowledge, skills and behaviours

  • English and Maths Level 2 (if required)



  • Employer confirms the apprentice is consistently working at or above the level of the occupational standard

  • Achieved English and Maths Level 2 

  • Recognised First Aid Qualification

  • Complete a portfolio of evidence





  • (60 minutes) Complete 35 multiple choice questions


  • (90 minutes) Professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio of evidence

Moms and Babies

Grading Criteria

Fail Criteria: Apprentices who fail to meet the requirements of the knowledge test and/or professional discussion.

Pass Criteria: The apprentice must demonstrate all of the pass criteria.

Distinction Criteria: The apprentice must display all of the pass criteria and all of the distinction criteria.

Progression Routes

On completion, apprentices could seek to continue their development through the Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner.

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