Early Years Lead Practitioner (L5) | Pearson qualifications

Early Years Lead Practitioner (L5)

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About this role

This apprenticeship standard is designed as an 24 month programme and is for apprentices who wish to gain the skills, knowledge and behavioural competences required to work in a early years lead practitioner role.

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As an Early Years Lead Practitioner in a day nursery, playgroup, nursery school, pre-school, primary school or working in health and social care settings, you will work as a proactive and influential practitioner, working directly with children, skillfully leading day to day practice at an operational level.

You will be working as a highly skilled professional who takes an operational lead for the care, learning and development of all young children within your care, adapting to individual needs providing inclusive and holistic provision. You will also engage with sector developments both locally and nationally, with a commitment to developing your own professional and educational competencies.

  • Promote the health and well-being of all children, self-regulation and resilience
  • Provide playful, sensitive interaction opportunities that reflect children's needs, interests and motivations in order to facilitate and extend deep level learning
  • Participate in and lead daily routines and practices
  • Be an effective key person and advocate for the child
  • Take the lead and provide support in disseminating best practice in the use of observation, assessments and planning to meet children's needs
  • Promote, demonstrate and facilitate a clear understanding of diversity and equality to support all children
  • Ensure full compliance with all safeguarding legislation, policies and strategies at a national, local and setting based level are promoted, implemented and embedded respectfully within practice
  • Demonstrate leaderful practice through the effective deployment of resources and practitioners keeping the child’s voice and needs central to practice
  • Reflect and build on practice through ongoing professional enquiry and action research to contribute to the pedagogical approach of their setting
  • Establish engaging, inclusive and collaborative relationships and participate in multiagency meetings
  • Commit to becoming a reflective practitioner, enhancing skills and knowledge to improve pedagogical practice. Guide and support the development of the reflective practice of others
  • Initiate continuing professional development opportunities in response to identification of strengths and weaknesses both personally and within your team
  • Ensure compliance with all Health and Safety legislation, policies and strategies at a national, local and setting based level
  • Maintain effective administrative systems within the setting
  • Work in collaborative partnership with parents and carers
  • Lead and manage across the area, aspect or environment for which they are responsible for.



We provide a clear learning programme to take apprentices from entry through to the gateway for end-point assessment.

You can use our on-programme offer, regardless of whether you are using Pearson as your end-point assessment provider.


Apprentices must have achieved English and mathematics Level 2.

For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeship’s English and mathematics minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications are an alternative to English qualifications for those who have BSL as their primary language.

There is an optional professional qualification for this standard.

Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care*

*Mapping being done currently. It will support the apprenticeship delivery.

As both a vocational and academic awarding organisation, we can offer a wide range of English and maths qualifications in line with your standards’ requirements from Functional Skills through to GCSEs.


English and maths resources
We have a wide range of resources and useful tools to complement your programme, including assessment tools, podcasts and training events.

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End-point assessment

End-point assessment

As an ESFA-approved Assessment Organisation, we provide a full range of assessment services, resources and support from our experienced EPA team to equip you and your learners with the diverse requirements of the apprenticeship standards.

You can use Pearson as your end-point assessment organisation, regardless of whether you choose to use our on-programme offer or not.

EPA specification:

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The EPA has three assessment methods:

1: Observation with questioning

2: Professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio of evidence

3: Case study with report and presentation and questioning

Observation with questioning: (Face to Face) 90 mins

This will include:

  • Observation of the opportunities and experiences outlined in the session plan. (60 minutes)
  • Questioning, to allow the independent assessor to understand the reasons behind the apprentice’s actions and to provide opportunity to draw out further detail regarding the KSBs mapped to the assessment method. (30 minutes)
  • Grading: • fail • pass • distinction
  • The observation must be in an Early Years setting working with children. The following activities must be observed during the observation:
    • The apprentice interacting with a group of children through an opportunity or experience for learning based on the session plan.
    • The apprentice leading/supervising colleagues during this session.
    • The apprentice communicating with parents/carers/guardians of the children under their supervision.
  • The apprentice must prepare a session plan (no more than two sides of A4 in size 12 font), including relevant risk assessments prior to the observation outlining the following:
    • “what” opportunities and experiences will be supported (outline of learning focus)
    • “who” is involved (i.e., number of children/children’s profiles/parents/guardians/colleagues)
    • “when” it will occur (i.e., scheduled date/time)
    • “how” the session will be supported (i.e., how it provides the apprentie the opportunity to provide coverage of the KSB's) 
    • why” these areas of focus for learning have been selected (i.e., the probable skills and approaches that the apprentice will use to support and extend the children’s learning)
    • “where” it will begin (i.e., indoors/outdoors)

Professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio of evidence: 60 mins

Apprentices must be given at least two weeks’ notice ahead of the professional discussion.

The professional discussion is underpinned by the portfolio which is submitted as a gateway requirement. The independent assessor has a minimum of 5 days to review the portfolio and can use the contents of the portfolio to identify discussion topics for the professional discussion.

Independent assessors will use the question bank as a source for questioning and are expected to use their professional judgement to tailor those questions appropriately. Independent assessors will ask a minimum of 6 questions and may ask follow-up questions for clarification purposes.

Professional discussion can be conducted face to face or via video conferencing.

Grading: fail • pass • distinction

Case study with report and presentation and questioning

This assessment method has two components

Component 1: Case study report

Apprentices will conduct a case study and produce a case study report either paper based or electronically.

Before the apprentice begins writing up their case study, the case study title and scope must be signed off by the EPAO to ensure its suitability and sufficient coverage of the assigned KSBs. The case study, report and presentation should be designed to allow the relevant KSBs to be assessed for the EPA.

The case study starts after the apprentice has gone through the gateway. The typical duration of the case study should be 12 weeks. For the case study, the apprentice will conduct a series of observations of a child or group of children over a period of typically six weeks and produce a case study report. The case study needs to be 4,000 words (+/- 10% at the apprentice’s discretion). The case study must include, in addition to the word count, an annex showing how the case study maps to all of the KSBs that are being assessed by this method

The case study report must be submitted 12 weeks after the gateway. The independent assessor will review and assess the case study report holistically together with the other components of this assessment method.

Component 2: Presentation and questioning: 40 mins

The presentation content will be completed and submitted 12 weeks after the gateway at the same time as the case study report. The independent assessor must have at least 2 weeks in advance of the assessment to review the report and presentation and prepare questions

The case study report and presentation will be presented to an independent assessor, either face-to-face or via online video conferencing.

The apprentice must also be given two weeks’ notice of the presentation date. There will be a 40-minute presentation and questioning, split into typically 20 minutes for the presentation and typically 20 minutes questioning.

The independent assessor will ask a minimum of 4 questions at the end of the presentation.

Grading: fail • pass • distinction

Our range of EPA resources such as EPA specification, additional resources document and practice knowledge test are designed to enhance learners’ knowledge and/or hone essential skills required.

They are available to our customers who have signed up to Pearson EPA and include information on:

  • Structure
  • Grading
  • Gateway requirements
  • Assessment content
  • Evidence requirement for each component

We have designed a step-by-step guide, with signposts to our key supporting information, resources and services available at every stage of the process.

End-point assessment - Childcare and Education

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Become and independent end-point assessor

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