Guide to childcare qualifications

Qualification requirements for staff working with children to meet regulations.

All providers working with children from birth to 5 years old must follow the regulations on qualified staff to child ratios.

These regulations are set out in the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework. Providers must also ensure staff have the appropriate full and relevant qualification to be counted in the ratios.

  • Level 2 qualifications: for staff who work directly with children in assistant roles and under supervision. Level 2 qualifications should be viewed as a first step towards a full and relevant Level 3 qualification.
  • Level 3 qualifications: for staff with more experience of working with children, those who work in more specialised areas, alone and unsupervised, or those who supervise or manage others.
  • Level 5 qualifications: an undergraduate level qualification such as a foundation degree.
  • Level 6 qualifications: enable credits to be added to a foundation degree to achieve a full ordinary or honours degree.

You can check whether your qualifications are full and relevant with the Early Years Qualifications List.  

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) are responsible for defining the full and relevant qualifications that staff included in the specified ratios must hold.

Last updated:
7 September 2023
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