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Choosing what to study

Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)

If you want to work in nurseries or schools with young children, discover how Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) can get you there.

Early years teacher teaching kindergarten children


  1. What’s Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)?

  2. How do you get Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)?

  3. Undergraduate routes to EYTS

  4. Postgraduate routes to EYTS

  5. School Direct (Early Years)

  6. Employment-based

  7. Assessment-only

  8. Entry requirements

What’s Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)?

Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) offers pathway programmes for working with children from birth to five years old. Early years teachers tend to be employed in nurseries. They’re largely responsible for early child development, so they must be skilled, competent and passionate.

How do you get Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)?

If you want a career in early years teaching in England or Wales, you can choose to gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS).

EYTS qualifies you to teach children up to five years of age, so only go down this route if you’re sure this is the age group you want to teach. To study primary education, you’ll need to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which you can gain as a graduate.

Undergraduate routes to EYTS

Many UK universities offer three- or four-year full-time undergraduate courses in early childhood development-related subjects. You can gain EYTS alongside your degree.

Applications for undergraduate courses are made via UCAS. You’re entitled to the same funding as other undergraduate students.

Postgraduate routes to EYTS

Similar to the PGCE, you can do one year of full-time postgraduate study that leads to EYTS. Courses are longer if studied part-time.

At university, you’ll be taught the theoretical knowledge needed for early years teaching.

To develop professional practice while on the course, you’ll have work placements in a minimum of two early years environments.

Applications are made directly to the university. Training is fully funded with a £7,000 grant from the National College of Teaching and Leadership. 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.

Child's hands painted with smiley faces

School Direct (Early Years)

This is a graduate-entry route where you train in a group of schools or nurseries. You’re guaranteed employment after achieving EYTS.

Applications are made directly to providers. Training is fully funded with a £7,000 grant from the National College of Teaching and Leadership. The following bursaries are also available: £5,000 if you have a first-class degree, £4,000 if you have a 2:1 and £2,000 if you have a 2:2.


One-year, part-time courses are available for professionals already working in early years settings. This is a good option if you need a bit of extra training to fulfil and demonstrate the Teacher’s Standards (early years).

Applications are made directly to Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) providers. In terms of funding, £14,000 is available from the National College of Teaching and Leadership. £7,000 covers course fees and the other £7,000 covers costs incurred by your employer.


This is a self-funded option that takes place over three months. It’s ideal for graduates with extensive experience in an early years setting who can meet the Teachers’ Standards (early years) and don’t need any extra training.

Entry requirements

  • All practising and prospective early years teachers must have GCSEs AC (or equivalent) in Maths, English and Science
  • For undergraduate entry, requirements depend on the university or college
  • For graduate entry, you must possess a good honours degree
  • You’ll have to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy
  • You must demonstrate evidence of pre-entry work experience with children of a relevant age
  • Respect, fondness, and empathy for children aged from birth to five are key
  • You’re subject to a DBS check as part of the admissions process

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