Early Years Lead Practitioner

24 Months
Level 5
Course Overview:


The occupation of an Early Years Lead Practitioner can be found in various settings, such as day nurseries, playgroups, and hospitals, among others. They interact with children aged from birth to eight years, families, other professionals, and appropriate agencies in their daily work, both locally and nationally. The primary purpose of this occupation is to be a proactive and influential practitioner who works directly with children, skilfully leading day-to-day operations. These practitioners serve as effective role models of play-based learning, supporting others to develop their own practice. 

In addition, an Early Years Lead Practitioner is responsible for supporting the quality of learning and development in their setting, leading on the operational aspects of this provision, and typically leading other practitioners in areas such as Communication and Language, Planning and Assessment, Forest School, Physical Activity, and Nutrition. They usually report directly to the head of the setting, such as the Manager, the Leader, or the Director.


Why choose an apprenticeship with ART Skills Centre?

ART Skills Centre is revolutionising the delivery of apprenticeships. Leveraging our extensive experience in providing quality blended learning to all our learners annually, using our unique blended delivery model that prioritises flexibility and efficiency for both apprentices and employers.

Our focus on high-quality learning resources and approach now extends to the apprenticeship sector, ensuring that more individuals receive personalised training and robust career guidance.

At the ART Skills Centre, we are committed to the personal and professional growth of our learners. Our individualised programme of learning is designed to help learners develop as individuals and employees, and to facilitate their progress at every stage of the learning journey.


Entry Requirements:

  • Desirable to have achieved a level 2 in maths and English (equivalent to GCSE Grade C or above)
  • Must undertake the Disclosure and Barring Service process and provide the result
  • Essential to have access to a lead practitioner role within an early years setting
  • Must be aged 21 years and over

Benefits for Your Employees:

  • Gain a nationally recognized and accredited qualification
  • Access high-quality learning and assessment materials for your employees
  • Receive bespoke support for high-quality “off the job” learning
  • Access support from a qualified assessor / tutor and a Learner Support Advisor (LSA) during scheduled check-ins throughout the apprenticeship


Benefits for Your Organization:

  • Improve staff retention
  • Work in partnership with a reputable training provider
  • See rapid improvements in employee performance, productivity, and behaviours that will benefit your organisation


The following is a list of summarised contents (but not limited to) that a EARLY YEARS LEAD PRACTITIONER must know and understand upon completion of this programme:

  • Ethical and rights-based approaches for supporting the child’s individual journey and advocating for them.
  • Understanding typical and atypical development from conception to 8 years and their impact on the child’s future.
  • Awareness of factors affecting children’s health, well-being, and early learning.
  • Respectful and nurturing personal care based on contemporary schools of thought.
  • Knowledge of child protection and safeguarding policies, identifying risks and taking action to protect the child.
  • Understanding of self-regulation, resilience, well-being, and early childhood experiences.
  • Familiarity with attachment theories and key person approach to promote effective relationships.
  • Importance of the social and cultural context and the influence of parents, families, and carers on the child’s learning and development.
  • Strategies to promote play and creativity for enquiry-based active learning.
  • Awareness of underpinning theories, planning cycles, literacy and numeracy skills, transitions, environments, inclusion, equality, diversity, leadership, reflection, communication, and policy and legal requirements.


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The following is a list of  summarised contents (but not limited to) that a EARLY YEARS LEAD PRACTITIONER must be able to do upon completion of this programme:

  • Analysing and articulating the impact of children’s individual developmental capabilities, characteristics, and circumstances on their learning.
  • Promoting equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practices.
  • Observing, assessing, planning, facilitating, and participating in play opportunities that align with curriculum requirements.
  • Ensuring plans reflect the individual development needs and circumstances of children and responding quickly to their needs.
  • Providing a dynamic, enabling environment that reflects the current interests and play of individuals and groups of children.
  • Encouraging all children’s participation and facilitating play opportunities with a sensitive, respectful, and effective balance between adults and children.
  • Engaging in effective strategies to develop and extend children’s learning and thinking, including sustained shared thinking.
  • Supporting and promoting children’s speech, language, and communication development and adapting appropriate responses and interventions.
  • Supporting children’s engagement in learning contexts and enhancing confidence in social experiences.
  • Ensuring effective staff deployment to enhance the learning environment, prioritise safety and wellbeing, and advocate for children.


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The following is a list of  summarised contents (but not limited to) on how a EARLY YEARS LEAD PRACTITIONER must behave or demonstrate upon completion of this programme:

  • Practising ethics, fairness, consistency, and impartiality while valuing equality and diversity within professional boundaries.
  • Modelling innovative and aspirational practices to colleagues, leading and motivating them.
  • Being person-centred, friendly, and approachable, while demonstrating caring, empathetic, and respectful qualities.
  • Demonstrating authenticity and fun by playing animatedly, expressing oneself and interacting positively with children.
  • Being a positive and proactive team member, exercising diplomacy and assertiveness.
  • Practising reflection regularly.
  • Demonstrating creativity and imagination, being curious and inquisitive to resourcefully solve problems and engage in play.
  • Responding to children’s spontaneous activities, being flexible and adaptable.
  • Being receptive and open to constructive criticism and challenges.
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