Early Education and Childcare NC Level 6

What is special about this course?

As a result of more parents going out to work and a push for high quality education and childcare by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Social Services Council, a skilled workforce is required to deliver this education and care in a variety of settings for young people in Scotland.

This course integrates theory and practical work experience placement in an early years setting to enable you to work effectively in certain posts within the early education sector. You will gain an understanding of the key issues, demands and responsibilities involved in caring for children. This course will also give you the opportunity to gain the Early Education and Childcare Higher as part of your studies.

The programme will allow you to meet the professional standards required for registration with the Scottish Social Services Council as a Support Worker in any early education and childcare setting which provides for children aged between birth and 12 years.

You will be assessed throughout the year by means of closed book and open book assessments. Essays, presentations and case studies will be included. There is also a graded Play Project which is externally marked by SQA.

Core Skills are an integral part of the course and you will study ICT, Numeracy and Communication. These will be closely tied in with the other units you are studying and will enable you to move on with confidence to your next educational step or place of employment.

Entry requirements

You should have at least 3 Standard Grades at credit level or above/National 5 or have completed the NC Child, Health & Social Care course at SCQF level 5 or similar.

Applications are encouraged from mature students who do not possess formal qualifications but have appropriate understanding and skills and can demonstrate they have the potential to meet the academic demands of the course.

All applicants will attend an interview.

Please note that you are required to have a satisfactory Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check to enable participation in work placement. This will be provided as a mandatory part of your course. Further information can be found at www.disclosurescotland.co.uk

  • Child Development
  • Child Development Theory
  • Services for Children and Young People
  • Play in Early Education and Childcare
  • Play in Practice
  • Supporting ICT in an Early Education Setting
  • Developing an Understanding of Working with Children
  • Developing an Understanding of Working with Children: Workplace Practice
  • Supporting a Curriculum in an Early Education Setting
  • Supporting Children’s Rights and Entitlements
  • Supporting Children’s Behaviour
  • Prevention of Infection
  • Core Skills in Communication, Numeracy and ICT

Work placement is a crucial part of this course and you will complete a 2 week placement during the academic year.  This will enable you to gain direct experience of working with children allowing you to put the theory learnt in college, into practice.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected learning time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning activity to fit around your work, caring and personal commitments.  Some flexible learning must be done on a weekly basis.  

Connected learning is when you learn together with lecturers, students and others. Connected learning happens at a scheduled time in a practical workshop, an online-classroom, a studio, a specialist classroom, the workplace or in the outdoors.

Flexible learning covers lecturer directed learning and self-directed learning.

Lecturer-directed learning is weekly learning activity, for example:
•    posting your idea in a discussion forum,
•    completing a quiz, 
•    practising a task, activity or idea
•    watching a video or reading,
•    discussing and working on a solution with another student,
•    researching and gathering information,
•    completing an assignment or project-based task.

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

Your connected learning activity will take place within an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students. We have ten college centres and there may be an option to study some of the time from your local centre. This will depend on social distancing limitations.

How long will my course last?

34 Weeks

How will I be assessed?

    You will be assessed throughout the year by means of closed book and open book assessments. Essays, presentations and case studies will be included. There is also a graded Play Project which is externally marked by SQA.

Where can I study my course?

    • Auchtertyre
    • Broadford
    • Fort William
    • Gairloch
    • Kilchoan
    • Kinlochleven
    • Mallaig
    • Portree
    • Strontian
    • Ullapool

Start date



Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please read our Fees & Funding information pages for more information regarding residency, previous study and bursary rates. Please contact funding.whc@uhi.ac.uk if you have any further questions.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or not. However you must complete an application even if you know that you’re not entitled to EMA.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.


Students may qualify for bursary, EMA or childcare funding. Please contact your local college centre or Student Services for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Following successful completion of the NC Early Education and Childcare course, you could go on to study our HNC Childhood Practice or you may find employment as a Nursery Assistant, Playworker, Pupil Support Assistant or other posts in the early education and childcare sector. This may lead to further vocational training to enhance your career in this rewarding industry.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I’ve been at college for a while, working my way up and building my confidence as I go.

I want to become a teacher or to work with children with special needs.

This course has been great. The work placement I did at a local primary school meant I could put all my learning into action.

Also studying 3 days a week has allowed me to carry on working part time with Key Housing as a Support Worker.

I plan to come back next year and study HNC Childhood Practice.

I like to get involved and help others so I am now the Depute President of the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA).

Katy Wrigglesworth

Apply for Early Education and Childcare NC Level 6

We are no longer accepting applications for 2020/21

I want to start in 2021/22

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.