Jump directly to main content Jump directly to menu

Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard

The Early Years Lead Practitioner role is found in a range of settings which can include day nurseries, playgroups, nursery schools, pre-schools, kindergartens, primary schools, hospitals, social care settings, out of school environments and local authority provision. The broad purpose the apprenticeship is to support practitioners to be increasingly proactive and influential, working directly with children, skilfully leading day to day practice at an operational level.

This apprenticeship programme supports practitioners to become highly skilled professionals with an operational lead for the care, learning and development of all young children within their care, adapting to individual needs providing inclusive and holistic provision. As an Early Years Lead Practitioner apprentice, you will build on your daily work, interacting with children aged birth to eight years, families, practitioners, other professionals, and appropriate agencies. As an apprentice you will be responsible for supporting the quality of learning and development in your setting.

Apprentices will lead on the operational aspects of this provision and be responsible for leading other practitioners, in an aspect or environment such as; Communication and Language, Planning and Assessment, Forest School, Physical Activity and Nutrition.

Key Information

  • Course Level

    Level 5

  • Duration

    Typical duration 24 months

Enquire about this Apprenticeship

The aim of this apprenticeship is to provide a balance of intellectual and practical skills. Apprentices are becoming integral to the on-going development of the early years’ workforce, nationally, regionally, and locally.
Early Years Lead Practitioners will be advocates for babies, toddlers and young children and champion their rights. A central aspect of the programme is that students will gain the opportunity to examine various ways in which children play, childhood may be understood and conceptualised through an understanding of the philosophies, beliefs, and attitudes that champion children’s rights. They will also consider the challenges and intricacies of multi-agency and multi-professional practices and reflect on this within their own professional context.

Course Structure
2-year apprenticeship delivered through blended learning, 4 hours contact per week alongside extensive work based experience and on the job training.

Child Development
Observation and Assessment
Planning Effective learning Environments
Celebrating Difference
Reflective Practice
Emergent Literacy


Assessment Methods

Assessment method 1: Observation with questions

Assessment method 2: Professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio of evidence

Assessment method 3: Case study with report and presentation and questioning

Applicants would require experience of working within the Children’s Workforce, for example, leading an aspect of practice in a registered early year setting.

Additional Requirements
Undertake the Disclosure and Barring Service process and provide the result
A suitable DBS Enhanced Certificate is required

English & Maths
Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.

For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3.

A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL

This course enables you to build on your experience as an early year’s lead practitioner. Progression opportunities include Nursery Manager, Leader, Director Owner.

Successful completion of the apprenticeship programme will enable students to apply for progression onto academic programmes, such as the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (Top Up), using evidence of their studies and extensive experience.

Professional recognition
This standard aligns with the following professional recognition:
Criteria for Level 3 Early Years qualifications for Early Years Educator

Financial Support

Depending on your situation, you may be able to access a range of financial support available.

Course Fees


The maximum apprenticeship funding can be found with further details of the Standard at https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/early-years-lead-practitioner-v1-0

There may be some extra costs that you might need to make, or choose to pay, for example:
• Books (you’ll have access to books from your module reading lists in the HE library, but you may want to buy your own copies)
• Printing and photocopying
• Trips and enhancement opportunities

You may be required to pay for an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.


Enquire about this Apprenticeship

Please use the following links to make an enquiry about this course.

Make an enquiry Call 0800 358 7979

Information for EU Students

From January 2021, how you apply for a course will change. For more information, read the UK Government's guide for the UK points-based immigration system for EU students (pdf).

Visit our International pages for more information and contact details