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Early Years Teacher

Free training to qualify as an Early Years Teacher

Bursaries up to £5,000* and early years employers receive £7,000.

Early Years Teacher - University of Worcester

We are offering a one year free (no tuition fees) Early Years Initial Teacher Training programme for degree-holders who wish to become specialists in early childhood development (0-5 years).

The Lighting Up Young Brains (2016) research highlights that it’s crucial for every child to have access to the highest-quality childcare settings to support their early development, particularly children who grow up in poverty and who will benefit the most from good-quality childcare. The report promotes that early years teachers play a critical role in this and that is why the Save the Children Fund’s priority for government is for every nursery in England to be led by an early years teacher by 2020.

Course overview

The introduction of Early Years Teachers in September 2013 has built on foundations of Early Years Professional Status to raise the prominence of the early years workforce and give one title of ‘teacher’ across the early years sector and schools.

The programme is ideal for those who want to make a positive and lasting difference to children’s wellbeing, learning and development at the most critical stage of their development. Studies show that good quality teaching in the early years have lasting effects into Secondary schooling and beyond.

 * Dependent on the degree classification achieved. For more details see the Routes, Funding and Bursaries tab below.

Download an application form and the accompanying guidance notes.

Book an open day

What is an Early Years Teacher?

Early Years Teachers will be specialists in early childhood development and will have Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) reflecting the specialist role that they have in working with babies and children from birth to five years old.

Early Years Teachers make the education and care of babies and children their first concern. They are accountable for achieving the highest possible standards in their professional practice and conduct.

Early Years Teachers act with integrity and honesty. They have strong early development knowledge, keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date and are self-critical. Early Years Teachers recognise that the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 curricula follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in a continuum. They forge positive professional relationships and work with parents and/or carers in the best interests of babies and children within and beyond the setting as part of integrated working.

Early Years Teacher Status is awarded to graduates who have been judged to have met all of the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) in practice from birth to five years old. The Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) support the training, assessment and award of Early Years Teacher Status.

Routes to Early Years Teacher Status

There are three routes for Early Years Initial Teacher Training.

• Graduate Entry route (12 months full-time for those already holding a degree at honours level) including three MA modules leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Early Years Practice

• Graduate Employment Based route to encourage employer engagement (12 months part-time) including three MA modules leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Early Years Practice

• Assessment Only route (3 months part-time for experienced graduate practitioner employed within the early years sector)

Course fees for the Graduate Entry and Graduate Employment based routes are funded by the NCTL. A bursary is available for the Graduate Entry route for applicants with a 2:2, 2:1 or first class degree. A financial incentive is payable to employers of trainees on the Graduate Employment based route.

Entry requirements for all routes

• All entrants have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C in the GCSE examinations in English, mathematics and a science subject. The University of Worcester offers equivalency tests in these subjects, please contact for more information.

• Al entrants hold a first degree of a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification.

• All entrants, as part of the provider's selection procedures, have taken part in a rigorous selection process designed to assess their suitability to teach.

• As for all entrants beginning Initial Teacher Training, Early Years Initial Teacher Training applicants will now be required to have passed the numeracy and literacy Professional Skills Tests prior to entry.

Professional skills tests

The professional skills tests for trainee teachers are intended to ensure all teachers have a good grounding in the use of numeracy and literacy in the wider context of the professional role of the teacher, regardless of their specialism or intended teaching age range. The same expectations have to be met by all candidates, regardless of their previous qualifications.

NCTL will pay for the first tests undertaken in numeracy and literacy. If candidates do not achieve the pass mark at this first attempt and wish to retake the tests there is a charge for additional tests of £19.50 per test.

More information about the skills tests can be found here:

Get in touch

Jackie Williams
Institute of Education - Centre for Early Childhood
01905 542060

Carol West
EYITT Administrator
01905 85 5533

Routes, Funding and Bursaries

Routes, Funding and Bursaries


Graduate Entry (Mainstream)
Graduate entry – employment  based
Assessment Only
Description of typical trainee
Graduate, not employed within the sector, undertaking ITT (EYTS) through a mainstream academic route.
1. Graduate in an early years setting who requires training and further experience to demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years)
2. Graduate newly recruited to an early years setting to undertake ITT (EYTS) through an employment based route.
Graduate with experience of working with children from birth to five and able to demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) without further training, eg overseas EY teachers
Normal duration
12 months
12 months
3 months
Post Graduate Training Grant
Route funded by NCTL

Route funded by NCTL

Route NOT funded by NCTL £1750 (+ costs for travel & hotel / overnight stays if applicable).

Payment must be received before the Final Assessment is completed

Bursary to trainee if degree classification is achieved
1st Class Degree £5,000
2:1 Degree £4,000
2:2 Degree £2,000
Incentive to employer


*Employer incentive can be claimed by the setting proprietor to support cover costs, salary incentives for those undertaking EYITT or other associated costs.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I enter any of the routes for EYITT with a Foundation Degree?

You need to hold a first degree to access any of the routes. If you are doing or have completed a Foundation Degree you need to ‘Top it up’ to a full degree and then you can access EYITT. For further information about Top Up Degrees please see our website.
Can I enter any of the EYITT routes with only a Masters degree?

This needs to be looked at on an individual basis to ensure there is sufficient breath in your Masters study to ensure you have the necessary skills to enter EYITT. Please contact us for further information.

Am I eligible for the assessment only route?

The assessment only route is for those who are employed in an early years setting. The ability to demonstrate that you have the required knowledge and experience in working across the 0-5 age range in order to meet the requirements of the EYITT standards is required prior to the start of the programme through self-assessment documentation completed as part of the application process.

What do you mean by full-time route?
The fulltime route requires attendance at university for academic study and attendance at an early years setting to undertake periods of block and serial placement.

The academic day usually commences at 9.15 and ends at 4.15. However, when you are in a placement setting the day can run from 8.00-6.00. You would not be expected to work a 10 hour day but you would be expected to gain experience of the opening and closing of the setting so may work some early and some later days.

Would you allow practitioners who hold QTS to apply for EYTS?

Whilst there may be applicants who hold QTS, NCTL will look to providers to select and recruit appropriate trainees to the Early Years ITT programme. A selection criterion should be employed, as appropriate, for all routes and might include prioritising those who do not hold a professional status e.g. Qualified Teacher Status or social work.

For those who hold QTS, this is an equivalent status and the 0-3 element of the provision would be best met through CPD rather than through Early Years ITT. They may then be eligible for the Assessment Only route to achieve EYTS should they wish to do so

Do trainees have to apply for the programme before they can undertake the skills test?

Candidates will need to apply for an Early Years ITT programme to a provider before they register for the skills tests online. New applicants do not need a reference number or TRN to register.

All candidates will be asked to provide their personal details, which should match exactly the details that have been used in their Early Years ITT application form and the personal ID they will use when attending the skills test centre. If the details do not match, candidates may not be permitted to take the test and/or their chosen provider may be unable to verify their test results.

All trainees must meet the requirements for entry onto an Early Years ITT route. It is the responsibility of the trainee to provide evidence of their skills test result prior to registration for an Early Years ITT place.

For the Undergraduate Entry route, Early Years ITT providers can inform applicants when to complete the skills tests, however the skills tests must be passed before registration onto an Early Years ITT place.



Every child deserves the very best care and education and the first five years of life are critical in children's development. High quality early years provision is important to help children achieve their potential, working in partnership with parents and families. Such a level of provision requires a highly motivated and well-trained workforce who like and want to be with children.

Early Years Teachers will have evidenced that they are innovative, reflective, and practical, with commitment and drive to improve outcomes for all children and raise the quality of early years provision. You will have evidenced that you have leadership skills and personal qualities able to influence changes in practice. You will be able to raise expectations, whilst supporting others to achieve their potential.

Early Years Teacher is a new status and awareness and recognition is still building. In time it is expected that as an Early Years Teacher you will gain the recognition you deserve and have the satisfaction of knowing that others understand your level of knowledge and understanding. You will also significantly enhance your career development prospects as Early Years Teachers may open the door to diverse opportunities for leadership and management in a range of early years settings.



What is the assessment process?

Following your initial assessment and choice of pathway you will have an opportunity to develop your understanding and skills relevant to the standards required of an Early Years Teacher, to the point where you are eligible to progress towards achievement.

Regardless of which pathway you choose, all candidates will go through the same assessment process:

•  On-going review of your teaching skills.

•  Completion of academic modules.

•  Completion of a practice portfolio.

•  Assessment visits in your early years setting at the end of each teaching phase.

Useful links

Useful links

Department for Education
Early Years Foundation Stage pages.

More Great Childcare

Foundation Stage Forum
This site provides lots of information relating to all aspects of working within the early years.

Babcock Prime
Babcock Prime deliver support services to Worcestershire schools and settings.

Hereford Early Years Development & Childcare Partnership
Herefordshire Early Years and Extended Services is committed to making life better for children, parents and communities by bringing together. We aim to create a working partnership between various providers and users of early years care and education. It brings together people from all private, voluntary and independent sectors, relevant agencies and the local authority.

Sandwell Children’s Services Directory
The directory helps match people to the services they need and supports professionals in making appropriate referrals.

Warwickshire Children, Young People and Families Directorate
Warwickshire Children, Young People and Families Directorate supports education for early years, school children and adults. As part of the County Council, we are 'a learning county committed to excellence'.

Solihull Children & Young People's Trust
Solihull One Voice is the official website of Solihull Children and Young People’s Trust and is a way of communicating news and accessing information on a range of services and resources for parents, carers and professionals in Solihull.

Shropshire Early Years and Childcare
You can find out about the work of Early Years and Childcare Team. There are many aspects covered by the team including training, development and support for existing and potential childcare providers, as well as Shropshire Children's Information Service for those looking for childcare and children and young people's services. Please use the menu to find out more about the various services.

Birmingham Children’s Young People and Families – Foundation Stage
Here you will find links from all over the bgfl Portal. You can browse through the links or you can search for something in particular: simply enter your key words and click ‘Search’.

Dudley Children’s services
The directorate of children’s services is the part of the Council with lead responsibility for services to children and young people. The directorate is focused on improving the outcomes for all children and young people in Dudley. Our work is based on the framework within the Children’s Act 2004 and Every Child Matters – Change for Children incorporating five key outcomes.

Gloucestershire Early Years
The Children and Young People's Directorate is responsible for all services relating to children, young people and their families, and replaces the former Education Directorate and the Children's Services aspects of Social Services. We are part of Gloucestershire County Council, and our main office is at Shire Hall in Gloucester.

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