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There are a confusing number of childcare qualifications available nowadays, so it’s useful to have a basic knowledge of what they are. Highly qualified and experienced nannies can command a substantially higher salary, so it is important to be realistic in your expectations.

Although there are many excellent unqualified nannies, a trained nanny will have displayed commitment to the job and should have a professional attitude. In addition to learning approved methods of childcare, they may also have a higher level of confidence than inexperienced child carers.

As a matter of course, we will always request proof of qualifications from any child carer who wishes to be placed through us.

Business and Technical Education Council (B-TEC)

The B-TEC National courses in nursery nursing are for people who wish to work or are already working with children. Students are able to choose options to help them specialise in particular areas of childcare. Each course has a core of compulsory subjects, plus a number of optional subjects. The core subjects are based on childcare practices and services, care of the sick child, human growth and development, learning activities, data investigation and a community assignment. There is also a requirement for between 500 and 800 hours work experience on a full-time course.

NNEB Diploma in Nursery Nursing (DNN)

This is the most commonly known qualification for professional work with children. Students usually attend a full-time course for two years. Although a number of customised courses have also been approved. The course will involve at minimum of 350 days full-time study, with 60 per cent of this time spent in college, with the remainder is spent in a practical work placement. The equivalent qualification in Scotland is called SCOTVEC.

A qualified nursery nurse will understand the development of children from birth up to 8 years and will work with the children and their families to promote the care and education of the child.

Nursery nurses are responsible for promoting the physical, intellectual, emotional, linguistic and social development of children in their care. They contribute formally and informally to the assessment of children’s particular needs and identify problems, which need special attention.

Norland Diploma

This is a two-year course at a private residential college. Many aspects of childcare are covered, including maternity and paediatric care in a hospital. Students who have passed all their exams, including the final Norland Assessment, become probationers. The Norland diploma and badge is not awarded until students have completed a year in a probationary post. This is given in addition to the NNEB qualification.

The Chiltern College

Similar to the Princess Christian, the Chiltern College offers various childcare courses the most popular being the two-year NNEB qualification.

Certificate in Childcare and Education (CCE)

This is a relatively new award, which provides students with a high standard of training to allow them to start working with children. The CCE can be used as a qualification in its own right or as a route to other childcare qualifications.

National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Childcare and Education

The NVQ awards system was introduced for people involved in vocational work in a full or part time role. There are a series of NVQs specially designed for those working in childcare and education.

Candidates must be assessed for NVQs without having gained any previous qualifications or undertaken any previous courses although they will be required to show an understanding and knowledge of childcare.

There are no examinations for an NVQ. Candidates are assessed on their performance in the work setting against a set of national standards. Assessment is carried out by qualified assessors from the candidate’s workplace or by assessors who operate from the local NVQ assessment centre.

There are two NVQ levels in childcare (level 2 and 3). Each has core units and endorsement units. Core units represent work carried out in a wide range of childcare settings. Endorsement units represent more specialised units of work. There are four NVQs in childcare and education at level 2 and five at level 3. There are plans for a fourth.

A child carer with an NNEB qualification is said to have the necessary knowledge to directly apply for a NVQ at level 3.

The Certificate in Post Qualifying Studies

This is a certificate gained by people working in childcare of those who have returned to work after taking a break.
The courses of education and training for the award are normally completed with two years and must consist of at least six locally devised units of study. Three of these will be based around the theme of child and family studies. A minimum of two units will be within the theme of the context of services and an elective unit.

Certificate in Play skills

This is a vocational qualification gained by those who work exclusively with children aged between 2 and 5 years. The course of study lasts at least 180 days of full-time study, 55 per cent of this time will have been spent in college with the remainder of the time spent in a practical placement.

City and Guilds

There are a variety of City and Guilds courses that lead to childcare related qualifications. The most appropriate course for nannies is the Family and Community Care course. This is taken over two years and requires students to have several GCSEs as an entry qualification. There is a work experience unit as part of the course.

National Association for Maternal and Child Welfare (NAMCW)

The NAMCW certificate is a one-year course, which is a lower qualification than the NNEB or City and Guild Childcare and Education NVQ.

The NAMCW 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. The Association believes its training to be equivalent to the NNEB, although few local authorities recognise the qualification for working in day nurseries.

Montessori Centre Nursery (Foundation) Teaching Diploma Course

The foundation Montessori training course is intended for those wishing to work with children from birth to six years. The full-time course comprises of 480 hours college based study and 200 hours of probationary teaching practice. The syllabus includes the Montessori philosophy, child development and psychology, child health and school management.

If you need further information, please email