This course will provide you with a rich understanding of working with children and young people, and will help you to integrate knowledge and theory into practice, including the importance of the National Care Standards and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) Codes of Practice.

This course will teach the importance of play to children's development, leadership skills, a thorough understanding of child development theories, strategies to support children with additional support needs, how to understand and support children's behaviour, contemporary family issues, collaborative working and the importance of health, wellbeing and safeguarding. You will participate in a minimum SQA Mandatory requirement of 60 days of practice-based experience in an Early Learning and Childcare Setting where you will also undertake 3 SVQ (Vocational Qualification) units. Placements can be physically demanding and fitness to practice will be discussed before any placement commences.

From this course, you can apply for registration as a Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) professional and go into employment within nurseries, playgroups, after school clubs and other play schemes. This course is perfect for those who are progressing on from our NC Early Education and Childcare course.

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership skills
  • Good communication
  • Confidence
  • Adaptability
  • Self-awareness
  • Reflective practice
  • Resilience
  • Full-time study is one academic year and days of study are different depending
    on campus.
  • Part-time study is offered on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at our Dunfermline campus and takes up to two years to complete. 
  • Online delivery with minimal campus attendance but must be able to attend the 60 days minimum work placement experience, equivalent to 2 days per week for certification of the HNC.
  • This course is perfect for those already working in Early Learning and Childcare and looking to develop knowledge and skills for registration with the SSSC or for those progressing from our NC Early Education and Childcare course.
  • The successful completion of this HNC Group Award will allow you to work with children and young people aged between 0 and 18 years and or progress to higher level of study including our various degree programmes.
  • This course will teach a wide range of topics including leadership skills, child development, childcare theory, health and wellbeing, care in contemporary society along with the theoretical and practical understanding of the benefits of play. You will also learn about the values, principles and laws relevant to a career in the early years sector.
  • You will participate in a minimum requirement of 60 days of practical experience where you will also undertake 3 SVQ (Vocational Qualification) units.

You should be 17 years of age or over when applying for the course and should have experience of working with children. You should also possess one of the following:

  • Two Highers at Grade C or above, including English
  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services and Healthcare SCQF Level 6 plus Higher English at Grade C or above
  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services: Children and Young People SCQF Level 6 plus Higher English at Grade C or above
  • National Certificate: Early Education and Childcare group award
  • SVQ: Social Services (Children and Young People) SCQF Level 6
  • Other SCQF Level 6 qualifications and experience of working in childcare will be considered on an individual basis


  • If you are considering progression to Higher Education teacher training courses, you should note that you are likely to require two additional Highers, including English at Grade A or B, and National 5 Maths at Grade C or above to be considered by most HE institutions
  • You will also require a PVG check through Disclosure Scotland in order to go out on the placement(s) as part of this course
  • HND: Childhood Practice SCQF Level 8
  • HND: Additional Support Needs: Managing and Supporting the Services SCQF Level 8
  • BA: Learning Difficulties/Disabilities SCQF Level 9
  • BA: Childhood Practice Level 9
  • BA: Primary Education Level 9
  • It is possible to progress on to a degree at university from this course - see our HE and Degree Pathways guide for more information
  • The HNC Childhood Practice is a recognised qualification for registration with the SSSC (Scottish Social Services Council – mandatory regulatory body for all regulated care work).
  • There are many careers available including working as a Practitioner (Early Years Officer) in early years settings /day care services (like nurseries), out of school care (like after school and holiday clubs), classroom assistants, childminding and residential schools which provide additional support for learning.
  • Students are required to purchase stationery and textbooks at an approximate total value of £75
  • Students require access to ICT as some classes will be online and all assessment submissions will be electronic
  • You should also ensure that you have appropriate clothing and outdoor footwear as you will be expected to participate in outdoor learning activities whilst in college and on work placement
  • Evidence of interest in the childcare sector from a personal statement
  • Qualifications as detailed on application
  • You may be required to take part in an informal conversation as part of the application process. This group/individual conversation may be an information session, a portfolio discussion, or a skills based exercise
  • Reference to support application or school transition form where applicable
  • Must be 17 years of age at start of study
  • Eligibility for membership of the PVG scheme to attend the mandatory 60 days’ work placement