Depending on the level of childcare role, qualifications in childcare may vary from no formal training to awards, such as those through the Children’s Care and Education Council (CACHE). Such qualifications may include:
- Certificate or Diploma in Childcare and Education (Childminders and those working with children who have special needs or disabilities)
- Level 3 Diploma in Home-based Childcare (Childminders and Nannies)
- BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Early Years (for a range of childcare career opportunities)
Colleges and universities also offer degree level courses in childcare and child development. Some courses are available through Social Sciences departments and others through Psychology departments. Each career level in childcare requires a certain level of education that is usually specified through the job description or person specification of an advertised vacancy. Individuals interested in childcare careers can research the educational requirements by looking at the type of childcare job that they are interested in doing.
The following roles in childcare and educational requirements may be used as a guide:
- Babysitter – no qualifications or voluntary achievement of qualifications such as through CACHE
- Nanny – no qualifications or basic childcare skills with first aid, and voluntary registration with Ofsted vGCR; or certificate/diploma in Childcare and Education such as through CACHE
- Childminder – usually CACHE certificate or diploma in Childcare and Education or equivalent; registration with Ofsted GCR compulsory depending on scope of service; basic childcare skills required with first aid; enhanced CRB and public liability insurance
- Nursery Assistant – supervised job role or Level 2 qualification in early years care and education to work with babies from birth to age five
- Playworker – usually CACHE or equivalent Level 2 qualifications in Playwork to work with children aged 4 to16 or supervised job role while in training
Other training in childcare
Although formal training in childcare, such as through CACHE, is recommended, other training, such as in first aid, communication and child development is needed for good practice.
Childcare qualifications and age groups
Usually nannies or childminders are used to care for children from birth to age five. Some families opt to use Sure Start Children Centres to gain support, advice, early learning, training, and short to long-term childcare. Further information is available through the Family Information Service (FIS).
Childcare needs do change with the age of the child. From age five through to eleven, children usually have started nursery and then school with activities, such as sports. Some schools offer extended services, however parents may need help from a childminder or nanny if they are unable to care for their child at certain times due to commitments. Child carers who care for children aged five to seven must register for Early Years Register (EYR) with Ofsted and are required to provide standards for early learning, development and care through the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). If caring for children eight or over, the registration is voluntary. Children aged eleven to sixteen are in the start and mid of adolescence. This group can be challenging to care for, and some parents rely on the help of nannies or childcarers to continue the positive growth of their teens.
Registration after qualification in childcare
If you are interested in working as a Nanny or a Babysitter, registration with Ofsted’s General Childcare Register (GCR) is not mandatory but can be voluntary through their Voluntary General Childcare Register (vGCR) started in 2007. The benchmark for compulsory registration on the General Childcare Register is also based on the age of the child. Care for children aged five or over to age seven requires compulsory registration, while care for children aged eight or over may be voluntary. Childminders and those in the Supervisory or Managerial capacity of childcare are usually required to register with Ofsted on the General Childcare Register.