Childhood practice award

Evidence shows that the best experiences for children come from the best qualified staff, including where the manager has a degree level award. The innovative childhood practice award is one of the first work-based awards in Scotland where entry is based on vocational qualifications (SVQs) and the experience people have gained in their career to date. The qualifications are the result of the Standard for Childhood Practice which launched in 2009.

The qualification makes sure that all managers have the same regulatory requirements and there are no differences in the status of their awards it ensures better outcomes for children. The people who are leading have a strong sense of where they want to take the service but also so, they can work across different areas such as education, health and social services. The award is about equipping people working with children to have the skills they need to be able to achieve this.

Learners will achieve 360 credits at SCQF level 9. One aim of the standard is to allow early years and child care workers to follow courses with an appropriate balance of learning related to professional knowledge and understanding, skills and abilities, and values and personal commitment.

Who does it affect and why do I need it?

It is a requirement for all managers in day care of children services from 1 December 2011 to have or be working towards the Childhood Practice Award.

Evidence shows the best experience for children come from the best qualified staff, including where the manager has a degree level award.

We commissioned research into how effective the childhood practice award has been. Details of the research can be found in the report Taking the first steps - is Childhood Practice working 2014.

We have also published a report, Childhood Practice in Action which confirms qualified early years and child care workers give children the best possible start in life.

The report shows that the increase in qualified workers and scrutiny in early years and child care services is improving the lives and outcomes for children, families, communities and the economy. Since the SSSC began registering early years professionals in 2006, the number of qualified workers has increased from 55% to 89% with the remaining 11% working towards a qualification.

Guidance for learners and employers

View our Childhood Practice guidance for learners and employers (updated March 2011).

This has information on credit transfer and recognition of prior learning (RPL), contact details of providers who deliver the award and answers some FAQs on childhood practice awards.

Guidance for mentoring in childhood practice

A guidance document and toolkit for use by mentors supporting mentees is now available:

Rules and requirements

You can download Delivering the Standard for Childhood Practice guidelines for providers, their partners and learners enrolled on programmes.

Through consultation we developed rules and requirements for awards developed from the Standard for Childhood Practice. These rules and requirements set out the criteria for the approval of courses for persons who wish to become manager/lead practitioner in early years and child care service and the arrangements for the monitoring, review and investigation of such courses.

Standards for Childhood Practice

Download The Standard for Childhood Practice.

Graduate entry

We published Guidelines for graduate entry to the Childhood Practice Award for programmes leading to the postgraduate qualification as practitioner and as manager/lead practitioner in Childhood Practice in Scotland.

If you have any queries regarding the Childhood Practice Awards, please email: