Early years lead practitioner apprenticeship

The early years lead practitioner programme will develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours of early years practitioners to be proactive and influential, skilfully leading day-to-day practice at an operational level.

teacher working with children
Course overview

At a glance




18 months



About the course

The early years lead practitioner apprenticeship will promote the health and well-being of all children, participating in and leading daily routines, whilst ensuring compliance with legislation, policies and strategies at national, local and setting based level.

They will be an active and effective key worker, advocating on behalf of the children as well as disseminating best practice and demonstrating leadership qualities.

Is this course right for you?

The early years lead practitioner apprenticeship is ideal for practitioners who aspire to be a leader within their early years setting.

Typical job titles could include room leader, deputy manager, assistant manager, senior practitioner, early years coordinator, play leader, key worker and nursery officer.

In their day-to-day work, the early years lead practitioner will interact with children, families, practitioners and other professionals or appropriate agencies. They will also have responsibility for supporting the quality of learning and development, leading on operational aspects of the provision.

Typically, the early years lead practitioner will have responsibility for leading other practitioners, as well as responsibility for an aspect or environment such as communication and language, planning and assessment, forest school or physical activity and nutrition.

They will usually report directly to the head of the setting.

As a “mature” practitioner, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Realise. I have gained so much from doing the course!

Vicky Felstead, Mulberry Day Nursery

Kayleigh Smith

My trainer is very understanding and supported me when I asked any questions about my tasks and assessments.

Kayleigh Smith, Waverton Cottege Day Nursery

What you’ll learn

Undertaking this apprenticeship will develop the practitioner’s ability to reflect and build on practice through on-going professional enquiries and action research.

Learning phases include:

  • Leadership and management
  • Child development and theory
  • Pedagogy
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Health and safety
  • Equality, diversity, inclusion and SEN
  • Safeguarding
  • Partnership working

As part of your continued professional development you will also learn reflective practices.


Need more information?

No problem. It doesn’t matter if your query is big or small, our teams are here to help.

How you’ll learn

Our sector expert staff will support you to achieve the apprenticeship. We have highly skilled and knowledgeable staff with significant experience of working in the industry who will be able to share their experiences and support you.

We deliver the programme throughout the year providing you with the flexibility to start the apprenticeship when it meets your needs. All learning is either on a 1-2-1 basis or online tutorials so you have the best experience possible with sector experts.

Our delivery model includes:

  • Online learning sessions
  • Online tutorials
  • Remote support
  • Independent learning
  • Ongoing mentoring, coaching, advice and guidance
  • Specialist English/maths support (if needed)
  • Impartial Information, Advice & Guidance

You will also record and track your learning progress through the OneFile e-portfolio, helping to support and evidence your journey. OneFile is an industry leading and award-winning online service which can be accessed 24/7 anywhere and through any device. Even if you’re offline and have no signal.

Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible for the level 5 early years practitioner apprenticeship?

This qualification is aimed at those with responsibility within the setting such as room leader, deputy manager, assistant manager, senior practitioner, early years coordinator, play leader, key worker and nursery officer.

How much does this qualification cost?

The level 5 early years practitioner course is employer funded, which means that learners will never be expected to pay towards their qualifications. The course can be 95% funded by the government or paid through the apprenticeship levy.

Ready to take the next step?

Let’s talk. You’re only a few clicks away from enquiring about this course. Don’t delay, get in touch and start something exciting today!