Children's Play, Learning & Development

Course Overview 

Are you interested in pursuing a career working with children? Then Children’s Play, Learning and Development can give you that opportunity.

The Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate is equivalent to one A Level. It is a natural progression from BTEC Level 2 in Children’s Play Learning and Development or Health and Social Care and is designed to further develop you into an independent learner. You can still study at Children’s Play Learning and Development Level 3 if you have not studied it before.

Throughout the course you will study a variety of topics and build upon your knowledge and understanding of the world of Early Years. The nature of the course not only gives you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding but it also allows you to improve your research and application skills, organisational skills and time management. You will develop personal skills and attitudes essential for successful performance at university and in working life.

Examination Board:


Entry Requirements:

One exam and one piece of coursework per year weighted 66% exam – 33% coursework

Course Level:

BTEC – Level 3

Assessment Objectives

Units 1 and 2 are externally assessed units.

Unit 1 will be a written examination consisting of a 1.5 hours paper each. Unit 2 consists of a set task provided by the exam board.

The remaining two units are assessed through the completion of assignments. Each of these internally assessed units has a number of tasks to complete in order to fulfil the individual unit requirements. Within assignments, tasks will be completed to PASS, MERIT or DISTINCTION level.

Each individual assignment must be completed to at least a pass level in order to pass the whole unit.

On successful completion of a unit, points are awarded depending upon the level of completion and the size of the unit (GLH). At the end of the course, the points will be added from all eight units to make a combined total points score.

Overall PASS – Equivalent to E grade

Overall MERIT – Equivalent to C grade)

Overall DISTINCTION – Equivalent to A grade

Overall DISTINCTION* – Equivalent to A* grade

What skills will I develop?

Application of knowledge to unfamiliar contexts
Caring for a variety of service users
Communication and interpersonal skills
Independent study/learning

How will I be assessed?


The BTEC Level 3 in Children’s Play, Learning and Development is run over two years and content is broken down into four units, with two being externally assessed. The size of each unit is determined by how many guided learning hours (GLH) have been set for delivery and to successfully complete the course, you must complete a total of 360 GLH.

You must complete all of the units in order to fulfil the course requirements.

Units studied over the two years:

Unit 1: Children’s Development (120 GLH)

Unit 2: Development of Children’s Communication, Literacy and Numeracy Skills (120 GLH)

Unit 3: Play and Learning (60 GLH)

Unit 5: Keeping Children Safe (60 GLH)

Is there anything else I should know?

The qualification carries UCAS points and is recognised by higher education providers as contributing to meeting admission requirements to many relevant courses. It can be taken alongside, for example:

A Levels in Biology and Psychology, which could lead to a BSc (Hons) in Children’s Nursing or BTEC Health and Social Care and BTEC Applied Science, which could lead to a BSc (Hons) in Children’s Nursing.

A Levels in English and Psychology, which could lead to a BA (Hons) in Childhood Studies.

A Levels in English and History, which could lead to a BA (Hons) in Primary Education.

It is widely accepted by universities and during the UCAS application process, students will need to provide details on attainment/expected attainment within individual units.

Progression Routes

Many students who study Children’s Play, Learning and 

Development on to university to study Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Teaching. The Level 3 course is excellent preparation for entering university or going directly into Early Years employment via an Early Years Educator Apprenticeship.