Early Years Educator Level 3 ST0135

Early Years Educator

Early Years Educators, and other job roles such as nursery nurses and childminders, are highly trained professionals who play a key role in ensuring that young children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. They work in a range of settings including full day care, children’s centres, pre-schools, reception classes and as childminders. They may either be working on their own or supervising others to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirements set by Government for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.

An Early Years Educator: Plans and supervises child-initiated and adult-led activities which are based on the needs and interests of each individual child. Supports children to develop numeracy and language skills through games and play. Has key personal responsibility to help ensure each child feels safe and secure. Observes each child and shapes their learning experience to reflect their observations. Meets the care needs of the individual child such as feeding, changing nappies and administration of medicine. Works in partnership with other colleagues, parents and/or carers or other professionals to meet the individual needs of each child. With additional experience, an Early Years Educator can become the manager of an early years setting. Individuals will undergo all the checks as per the EYFS requirements to ensure suitability to work with children.

Gateway Requirements

The decision to take an apprentice through Gateway is made between the employer, training provider and apprentice, typically after 12-18 months on-programme. 

The apprentice must have completed all on-programme elements before they enter Gateway, including completion of the Level 3 Award in Paediatric First Aid. (RQF) or Level 3 Award in Emergency Paediatric First Aid (RQF) Or complete a first aid course delivered by one of the following types of organisations:- Voluntary aid society, member of a trade body with an approval and monitoring system, or acknowledged by the Health and Safety Executive. Also required successful completion of Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification and Level 2 in English and Maths.

End-point Assessment (EPA)

EPA consists of two discrete assessment methods. These can be delivered in any order – via remote assessment – and are weighted equally in their contribution to the overall EPA grade.

Assessment MethodWeightingDurationPassDistinction
Knowledge Test50%Maximum 60 minutesMinimum 23/35
and all 5 questions relating to safeguarding (K15) must be correct
Professional Discussion underpinned by the Portfolio50%90 minutes. (Up to 10% discretionary extension to allow the apprentice to complete the last answer) 100%All pass criteria AND a minimum of 10 of the distinction criteria

The assessment methods can be delivered in either order.

Knowledge Test

The test will be computer-based and will consist of 35 questions, comprising closed-response questions (i.e., multiple-choice questions). The apprentice must answer correctly a minimum of 23 questions to achieve a Pass. Of the 23 questions answered correctly, these must include all five questions relating to Safeguarding (K15).  Apprentices will have a maximum of 60 minutes to complete the test; this is pre-set within the testing platform.

Professional Discussion

Prior to the professional discussion, the IEA will have reviewed the apprentice’s portfolio in preparation for this assessment.

Apprentices will take part in a professional discussion based on the standard outcomes and are designed to draw out evidence against the grade criteria. The questions will include those generated by the IEA that target specific elements of the apprentice’s portfolio.  The professional discussion will be conducted against the KSBs assigned to this assessment method and will involve questions that will focus on coverage of prior learning or activity.


The IEA will not provide the apprentice (or their manager) with a preliminary grade, as it will be subject to Skillsfirst internal quality assurance processes. Skillsfirst will aim to confirm the apprentice’s final and overall grade approximately 10 working days after the last assessment.


Once moderation is complete and the apprentice has successfully completed all EPA methods, Skillsfirst will activate certification through the Apprenticeship assessment service. Certificates will be sent directly to the employer.

You can download a copy of the information on this page here

A link to the Early Years Educator standards page can be found here