Early years teacher training

The early years are critical in children’s development. As an early years teacher you’ll work with young children up to the age of 5. You’ll use your knowledge and skills to help young children enjoy high standards of teaching and open their minds to new ideas every day.

You’ll need to do early years initial teacher training (EYITT) to achieve early years teacher status (EYTS). This will allow you to work in a nursery or early years setting.

If you want to teach in a primary school, including in a reception class, or secondary school then you will need to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). Find out more about training to teach primary and secondary pupils.

What you need to become an early years teacher

There are 2 ways to train to become an early years teacher, either as a postgraduate if you already have a degree, or as part of an undergraduate degree.

To do postgraduate training, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent, for example, a vocational, professional, or overseas qualification.

To start early years teacher training, you’ll need these GCSE qualifications (or a vocational, professional, or overseas qualification to the same standard):

  • maths grade 4 (C)
  • English grade 4 (C)
  • science grade 4 (C)

If you're a non-UK candidate, you can apply for early years initial teacher training, if you meet all the academic entry criteria and immigration permissions for non-UK candidates(opens in new window).

Routes to early years teacher status

Postgraduate training

This route is designed for people who have an undergraduate degree and want to continue full-time study to achieve early years teacher status.

Cost
Your course fees of up to £7,000 are covered by the Department for Education and are paid directly to the training provider. You do not need to do anything to access this funding.
Salary
No
Length of training
Typically 1 academic year
Qualification
Early years teacher status

Bursaries are only available for this route as follows:

  • £5,000 if you have a first class degree
  • £4,000 if you have a 2:1 degree
  • £2,000 if you have a 2:2 degree

You are not eligible for a bursary if you do not have these qualifications or if you’re completing any other EYITT routes.

You do not need to do anything to access this funding. You can learn more about early years initial teacher training funding(opens in new window).

Postgraduate employment-based training

This route is for graduates working in an early years setting who want to achieve early years teacher status.

Cost
Your course fees of up to £7,000 are covered by the Department for Education and are paid directly to the training provider. You do not need to do anything to access this funding.
Salary
Provided by employer
Length of training
Typically 1 academic year
Qualification
Early years teacher status

Undergraduate training

This route is for people who want to study for a full-time bachelor’s degree in an early-childhood related subject leading to EYTS.

Cost
Up to £9,250
Salary
No
Length of training
3 or 4 years
Qualification
Early years teacher status

Undergraduate tuition fee loans are available from Student Finance England (SFE)(opens in new window).

Postgraduate assessment only training

This self-funded route is ideal for graduates with early years experience. If you already meet the early years teachers’ standards(opens in new window) you may be able to gain EYTS without the need for further training.

Cost
This could be around £2,500 or £3,000 depending on the provider
Salary
No
Length of training
3 months
Qualification
Early years teacher status

How to apply for early years teacher training

Contact accredited early years training providers directly to apply for a place.

Find early years training providers