Early Education and Childcare NQ 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.

During your course, we introduce you to using a range of digital technologies, which will help you get the most from your course and at the same time develop your digital skills.  Find out more about key computing skills and essential student skills


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

You normally need to commit to 18 hours per week (2-3 days) of blended learning time consisting of timetabled learning and personal study.

Timetabled learning will take place in an online classroom where you connect and interact with your lecturer and classmates using with video, voice and text chat.  You will also complete regular and flexible personal study which most students choose to do from home. 

Internet connection and a suitable device with headphones, microphone & camera (minimum spec) is required. Please email us if you have any concerns about connectivity or equipment.

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?

Start date

Late August/Early September


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

This is now my second year having completed NC Child, Health, and Social Care last year. On the whole I have had so much fun, made a few good friends, and would definitely recommend it for those who are interested in early education and child care.  I have learned to look at myself and situations in a new light and self reflect: is what you believe right, wrong or both: not everything is black and white.  This course provides the basic knowledge for going forward: whether it’s in social care, nursing or early education. It’s good to see where your path leads. Next, I plan to study HNC Childhood Practice. I’d like to study in the college for as long as possible, with guidance from my course leader to steer me in the best direction for my future.  

Rachel Ormerod

Last year, I studied Higher Psychology with the college. This encouraged me to further my education and so I choose this course as I’ve always been interested in early education.  

I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in a career in childcare. Not only has it broadened my knowledge, it has also given me a new perspective. I found the safeguarding children unit really interesting.  

I have gained confidence by interacting lots during our online classes. The lecturers have been amazing and have made sure that we all know what we’re supposed to do and how to use the materials by offering one to one sessions if needed.  

I’m planning on doing HNC Childhood Practice and hopefully progress onto university so I can eventually become a children’s trauma psychologist.  

Abby Wood

Apply for Early Education and Childcare NQ 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.