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Guide to qualifications

Training advice for childcare providers.

Employing and deploying staff

All early years providers working with children from birth to 5 years old must follow the regulations set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Required qualifications

Providers must make sure staff have approved level qualifications to count in the ratios.

Paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate

You must have at least one person with a current PFA certificate on the premises and available at all times when children are present. They must accompany children on outings.

The certificate must be for a full course consistent with the criteria set out in Annex A of the EYFS.

Checking qualifications

Use the GOV.UK qualification finder page to check that:

  • if a staff member's qualifications are at the approved level for your early years setting
  • you can include them in staff to child ratios.

Overseas qualifications

Find out how to check overseas qualifications.

To count in the ratios at level 3, staff with overseas qualifications must also hold qualifications comparable to GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above.

Find out more about required qualifications

The National Careers Service (NCS) has information on the training required for different early-years jobs, including:

  • early years teacher
  • nursery manager
  • nursery worker
  • playworker
  • childminder
  • teaching assistant.

You can also find courses and information on apprenticeships on the NCS website.

If a staff member holds a ‘knowledge only pathway’ qualification introduced during the Covid-19 Pandemic, they cannot be counted in the ratios.


Funding from Oxfordshire County Council is no longer available for early years or childcare and playwork training. You can find funding advice on the National Careers Service (NCS). Search for the job you are training for in the explore careers section.

Level 3 Early Years Educator (EYE) qualifications are among around 400 fully funded courses for adults. However, funding is only available for adults without an existing Level 3 qualification, so staff who already have an A level or a Level 3 in some other area will not benefit.

Details of free Level 3 qualifications available to eligible adults and the colleges and training providers who are currently able to offer free places.

The Government Kick Start Scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

You can book high-quality CPD opportunities for early years providers through Oxfordshire Education Services.

Safeguarding training

You should book designated safeguarding lead and generalist level safeguarding training through OSCB.