EY Info
TNL Jobs
Content FilterS
Reset Filters
The latest and best ideas in early years
Early Years Info
All about the sector, from A - Z
Tools, plans and resources to use everyday
Activity Plans
Filter by EYFS area & children's ages
Hear from interesting sector colleagues
Up-skill, gain knowledge and develop
New Year
New Year's Content
Policy Packs
Section for downloadable and updating TNL policies
New Year, New Career!

The first of January is when we start new things: diets, gym routines, that ‘Learn to Crochet’ pack you bought four years ago and haven’t looked at since. But what if you fancy changing something bigger?

Starting a new career in Early Years is such an exciting idea, but you might not know quite where to start. Thankfully, That Nursery Life have put together a handy guide to help you begin your Early Years journey!

First-off, you need to check your qualifications. To start training as an Early Years teaching assistant you’ll need, at least, GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or equivalent. Depending on the route you take, more qualifications may be needed.

To start training as an Early Years teacher you’ll need at least C-grade GCSEs (or equivalent) in maths, English and science, and then to complete EYITT (Early Years Initial Teacher Training) and demonstrate that you meet the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years).

Side view of a female kindergarten teacher sitting on a chair showing a book to children in a classroom
Practitioner Reading

Four options for starting your Early Years teaching assistant training:

  1. College route – you can study for a Level 2 or 3 certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, a Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education or a T Level in Education and Childcare. Qualifications required for enrolment range from two GCSEs, or equivalent, at grades 9-3 (A* to D) to five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths.
  2. Apprenticeship route – you’ll likely need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. For more information on apprenticeships, visit the National Career Service.
  3. Volunteering – volunteering at local community organisations, nurseries or schools can give you much-needed experience and can sometimes lead to training opportunities or paid work.
  4. Direct application – depending on your experience, you may be able to apply to nurseries directly. You will need to demonstrate that you can work well with the children, other teachers and teaching assistants and parents.
Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Four options for starting your Early Years teacher training:

  1. Undergraduate route – this consists of studying a degree in an Early Years-related subject, full time for three-four years. You can apply for student loans from Student Finance England to help with your tuition fees.
  2. Graduate route – if you already have a degree, this is usually a year of full-time study. You can get an up to £7,000 grant for tuition fees, as well as bursaries ranging from £2,000-£5,000 (depending on your degree grade).
  3. Graduate route, employment-based – for graduates already in an EY setting who need further training to demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years), this is a part-time course that spans one year. You can apply for funding up to £14,000, which covers your £7,000 course fees and £7,000 of costs to your employer (e.g. salary enhancement or supply cover while you’re studying).
  4. ‘Assessment Only’ route – this is a three-month, self-funded course for graduates with experience across Early Years who already meet the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) and don’t need any more training, such as an Early Years teacher from abroad.
Photographer: Element5 Digital | Source: Unsplash

No matter which path you take, at the end of your training journey TNL jobs will be here to help you find your perfect role!