How to become a Early Years Practitioner

Our career advice page will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a Early Years Practitioner.

Table of Contents

Job Overview

A Early Years Practitioner is responsible for helping the teacher with activities and duties. This may include helping prepare and set up the classroom for lessons, helping children with reading, writing and learning and reporting progress of children to the teacher and their parents and/or guardians. The children are typically aged up to 5 years old.

What qualifications do I need to become a Early Years Practitioner?

  • For a Level 2 Early Years Practitioner course, you may need 2 GCSEs at 9-3 (A*-D)
  • For a Level 3 Early Years Practitioner course, you may need 4 GCSEs at 9-4 (A*-C)
  • For an apprenticeship, you may need 5 GCSEs at 9-3 (A*-C)

Work Hours

32-40 hours a week subject to term times. Some staff work all year round while some take term holidays.

Income

Income varies from £12,000 to £23,000, depending on experience and whether the role is part-time or full-time.

General Duties

Feeding and changing babies. Following safeguarding protocol. Observe and support children. Creating fun and engaging activities for learning.

Term

Holiday

April to mid-July

The summer term stretches from the end of the Easter break to mid-July.

It includes a half term week long holiday in late May.

This is usually the busiest time, with later students sitting their GCSE’s.

September to December

The academic school year starts in early September, with the term stretching till Christmas.

The winter term is a half term holiday, usually a week long at the end of October.

Most schools have a 2 week end of term holiday stretching over New Year and Christmas.

January to March/April

This is the spring term and stretches from early January to Easter.

Easter usually falls on a different weekend each year, so the end of term two-week break can be either early April or late March.

This term also included a week-long half term break, usually in mid-February.

Work experience for a Early Years Practitioner

You can gain relevant Early Years Practitioner work experience through working with children, examples of this are:

  • Community Activities- Such as brownies, scouts, football coach.
  • Volunteering- Helping out at summer camps, day trips and after-school activities.
  • Work Experience Placement- Depending on your education level, you may be able to gain a work experience placement as a classroom assistant.
  • Tutoring/Mentoring- Providing help and/or coaching in a sport or subject.
  • Looking after younger siblings/babysitting

Please note you may require a DBS check.

Tip: Make sure the experience is with a similar age group as the children you would be working with as a classroom assistant.

What skills does a Early Years Practitioner need?

You’ll need a range of skills for a teaching assistant role. These include:

  • Excellent communication and listening
  • Ability to remain calm
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Ability to be able to build relationships
  • Be able to adapt to work on different activities
  • Sensitivity and understanding
  • Creativity