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Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)

Early years teachers work with children aged from birth to 5 years old. Early years teachers tend to work in nurseries and are responsible for children’s early development.

  • It is vitally important that a child receives the best education possible at this young age. Good development early on makes it far more likely that they will achieve later in life. In fact 94% of children who do well at age 5 achieve the expected standard for reading at Key Stage 1.
  • Trainees seeking a career in early years teaching in England or Wales may choose to gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). In this section we outline the different ways in which this can be achieved*.

*Note that EYTS qualifies you to teach children up to 5 years of age and no older, so trainees should only go down this route if they are absolutely sure they wish to teach early years.

Undergraduate

  • Many universities throughout the UK offer 3 or 4 year full-time undergraduate courses in early childhood development-related subjects. Students can gain EYTS alongside their degree.
  • Applications for undergraduate courses are made via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Use our Course Chooser to find an appropriate course.
  • Entry requirements are dependent on the course and university.
  • Candidates are subject to Disclosure and Barring Services Checks (DBS) as part of the admissions process.
  • Students are entitled to the same funding as other undergraduates.

Kindergärtnerin liest Kindern Buch vor © Robert Kneschke Young woman playing with boy © micromonkey

Graduate entry

  • Similar to the PGCE, trainees will undertake one year of full-time postgraduate study leading to EYTS. Courses are longer if studied part-time.
  • Academic learning in universities will provide the theoretical knowledge required for early years teaching.
  • To develop professional practice whilst on the course students will ordinarily have block placements in at least two early years settings.
  • Applications are made directly to the university.
  • Applicants will need to have a good honours degree.
  • Candidates are subject to DBS as part of the admissions process.
  • Training is fully funded by the National College of Teaching and Leadership via a £7,000 grant. The following bursaries are also available: £5,000 for applicants with a first class degree; £4,000 for applicants with a 2:1; and £2,000 for applicants with a 2:2.

School Direct (Early Years)

  • A graduate entry route enabling students to train in a group of schools or nurseries with the guarantee of employment after EYTS is achieved.
  • Applications are made directly to providers.
  • Applicants will need to have a good honours degree.
  • Candidates are subject to DBS checks as part of the admissions process.
  • Training is fully funded by the National College of Teaching and Leadership via a £7,000 grant. The following bursaries are also available: £5,000 for applicants with a first class degree; £4,000 for applicants with a 2:1; and £2,000 for applicants with a 2:2.

Employment based

  • A one year part-time course for professionals already working in an early years setting. This is a perfect option for people who need a bit of extra training in order to fulfil and demonstrate the Teacher’s Standards (early years).
  • Applications are made directly to Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) providers.
  • Applicants must possess a good honours degree.
  • £14,000 in funding is available from the National College of Teaching and Leadership. £7,000 of which is to cover course fees and the other £7,000 to cover costs incurred by your employer.

Assessment only

  • A self-funded option taking place over three months. This option is ideal for graduates with extensive experience in an early years setting and who meet the Teacher’s Standards (early years).

Entry requirements

  • All practising and prospective early years teachers must have GCSEs (A–C) in Maths, English and Science.
  • EYITT providers will accept other academic equivalencies.
  • Trainees must demonstrate evidence of pre-entry work experience with children of a relevant age.
  • A respect, fondness, and empathy for children aged from birth to 5 are required.