Early Education and Childcare NC Level 6

What is special about this course?

As a result of the Scottish Government’s and the Scottish Social Services Council’s commitment to high quality education and childcare, a skilled workforce is required.

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.


Entry requirements

You should have at least 3 National 5s or equivalent 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

  • safeguarding of children and young people
  • communication with children and young people
  • promote the wellbeing and safety of children and young people
  • play for children and young people
  • development of children and young people
  • child development/theory
  • services for children and young people
  • introduction to first aid
  • research in care
  • employment skills for childcare
  • child development and health
  • supporting children with additional support needs
  • experiential approaches to EECC or supporting children with additional support needs and supporting children's behaviour 
  • embedded development of core and essential skills

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.

Rest of UK students : For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), with a term-time address in Scotland, studying full time, the course fee is £5,800.

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 am a mature student. I wanted a new challenge. I have loved the course.

It’s a lot to learn, take in and process but the lecturers are patient and supportive. The most important thing for me is not only beaming with pride about how much I’ve learned but the people I have met during this time.

I love the fact that we are all helping each other be the best we can be. I plan to do HNC Childhood Practice next.

If you’re contemplating applying, I say go for it. Start the next chapter of your life and start it here. One of the best things I ever did.

Alan Campbell

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

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.