Changes to the early years educator level 3 criteria

Closed 23 Jan 2023

Opened 28 Nov 2022

Feedback updated 19 Jul 2023

We asked

We asked for views about the suitability of the proposed revisions to the Early Years Educator (EYE) Level 3 qualifications criteria and any cost implications of changing the criteria on businesses. In total the consultation received 105 responses.

You said

Overall, there was a positive response to the proposed criteria. Most respondents welcomed the commitment to updating the criteria. There were some broad themes identified with regards to ensuring the criteria was clear and concise for settings, awarding organisations, practitioners, and students. These themes included, but were not limited to:

  • Reducing repetition across the criteria;
  • Unclear expectations within some of the criteria;
  • Unclear and /or misleading language within some of the criteria, making it difficult to understand and interpret;
  • Consensus on separating curriculum/knowledge and pedagogy/skills to make assessment against the criteria easier;
  • A need for greater understanding of statutory and non-statutory guidance, as well as the role of Ofsted and its framework;
  • Awareness of procedures, practices, strategies and services available locally;
  • Request for specific detail for some criteria.

We did

You can read the Government’s response to the consultation in full on the Changes to the early years educator level 3 criteria - GOV.UK ( webpage.

For background, the criteria sets out the minimum essential knowledge and skills a Level 3 qualified Early Years Educator is required to have to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) effectively.

Based on feedback received, we revised the criteria and published a final version within the consultation response (linked above). As part of the process, we  considered how best to present the criteria so that they are clear and concise, and looked at how to reduce repetition and overlap between the individual criteria. We employed a ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ format to make it clearer what skills and knowledge a level 3 early years educator (EYE) should have and how they should evidence this. This also brings the EYE in line with other professional standards, such as the Early Career Framework. In addition, we aligned the language used with the EYFS statutory framework and Development Matters guidance and added statutory and non-statutory guidance links throughout the criteria, as well as reflecting how early years educators should be aware of their local procedures and policies as required.

The criteria are not intended to be a detailed course curriculum. We have therefore not included specific detail within the criteria which sets out minimum requirements within individual criterion.


We are seeking views on proposed revisions to the criteria that underpin the early years educator level 3 criteria.

Why your views matter

We are proposing revisions to the criteria for early years educator (EYE) level 3 qualifications.

We commissioned NCFE to review the EYE level 3 criteria and recommend revisions. We are consulting on the suitability of the revised criteria for qualifications in early education and childcare.

You should read the EYE level 3 criteria consultation document and the NCFE written report before completing the online survey.


  • Early learning and childcare providers
  • Training providers


  • Early learning and childcare
  • Early years foundation stage
  • Keeping children safe in education and other settings
  • SEND code of practice