Skip to main content


The Department for Education's (DfE's) Early Years Workforce Strategy sets out their plans to help employers attract, retain and develop early years staff. It focuses on five key areas:

  • qualification requirements at levels 2 and 3
  • specialist graduates
  • careers advice
  • quality of training 
  • diversity of the workforce.

Check if your early years and childcare qualification is relevant

The list of all full and relevant early years and childcare qualifications are on GOV.UK.

You must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework regulations if you:

  • provide childcare
  • want to work in early years
  • want to work in a school

EYFS staff:child ratios

Check the DfE's list of qualifications. It will tell you if your qualification meets the criteria for the EYFS staff: child ratios.

Pathways to Teaching training

Are you interested in becoming a teacher?

Many people who work in Early Years settings or schools may have a desire to train to be a teacher.

Further information and advice can be found on the Department for Education (DfE) Get into Teaching website.

Options to training to become a teacher

All teacher training programmes for primary and Early Years require applicants to hold Maths, English and Science GCSEs at Grade 4 or higher. This is a DFE entry requirement. 

Teaching is a graduate profession. Teachers can either:

  1. Complete a degree course that leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
  1. Complete a degree in any subject area and then undertake a post graduate teacher training programme leading to QTS.

Essex does not have any universities offering degrees that include QTS. There are however universities and Further Education colleges that offer degrees that can be completed full or part time. There are also institutions that offer a degree by distance learning.

QTS courses are available specialising in Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1,  Primary – Key Stage 1 and 2, Special Schools and Secondary subjects. More information is available, and you can apply via the DFE Apply website.


Adult Community Learning (ACL) FREE* English and Maths

Whatever your reason to improve your English and Maths, ACL can help! Courses could be free* and start from beginners to GCSEs. You can learn in the classroom or online. *FREE to those who do not currently hold a grade C or 4 (or above) in this subject. To find out more information please visit the Adult Community Learning Website.

Adult Community Learning (ACL) apprenticeships and funding

ACL apprenticeship programmes are available across the county with start dates all year round. Taking on an apprentice is a brilliant way of investing in the future of your setting. As your delivery partner, ACL will put together a programme and support you and your apprentice throughout the process. If you need help in recruiting, ACL can assist with that too. Types of apprenticeships are:

  • Early Years Practitioner, Level two
  • Early Years Educator Level three
  • Teaching Assistant Level three
  • School Business professional Level four.

For more information email:

ACL Essex is the training arm of Essex County Council. We have a variety of course ranging from Level 2 to level 5. Please take a look at the SWAY link below.

Develop your career - Education and Early Years Sway

If you have any specific training requirements, including bespoke sessions; please contact our Business Development Team at

Other requirements 

Paediatric first aid

The Register of Regulated Qualifications may help providers to identify paediatric first aid training

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance on selecting a first aid provider.


The Essex Children Safeguarding Board (ESCB) has guidance on the safeguarding training levels.

Health and safety

This Health and safety training: A brief guide by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) may be helpful when choosing the right training for your workplace.

Food hygiene

The Food Standards Agency has guidance on food safety and hygiene.

Training is also available from the National Day Nurseries Association and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 requires all early years settings to have a trained SENCo. For training information please visit our training programme page.

Equality Named Coordinator (ENCo)

All settings in Essex require a trained ENCo to support with meeting the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. For training information please visit our training programme page.