Early Years Lead Practitioner (Sept 2024)

The broad purpose of the occupation is to be a proactive and influential practitioner, working directly with children, skilfully leading day to day practice at an operational level. As active practitioners they are effective role models of play based learning, supporting others to develop their own practice.

As active practitioners they are effective role models of play based learning, supporting others to develop their own practice. They are highly skilled professionals who take an operational lead for the care, learning and development of all young children within their care, adapting to individual needs providing inclusive and holistic provision. They engage with sector developments both locally and nationally, with a commitment to developing their own professional and educational competencies.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for supporting the quality of learning and development in their setting. They lead on the operational aspects of this provision and are typically responsible for leading other practitioners, an aspect or environment such as; Communication and Language, Planning and Assessment, Forest School, Physical Activity and Nutrition. They usually report directly to the head of the setting (The Manager, The Leader, The Director).

Typical job titles include; Assistant manager, Deputy manager, Early years coordinator, Early years officer, Early years support worker, Education welfare officer, Health play specialist, Hospital play worker, Lead practitioner, Pastoral care manager, Specialist practitioner in child development (health), community nursery nurse

Key FactsDuty AreasWhat could this qualification lead to?
  • Taught Blended Workshops
  • Named Assessor
  • Assessment of practice
  • Portfolio of evidence produced
  • Dedicated resources
  1. Promote the health and well-being of all children, self-regulation and resilience through learning rich environments, opportunities for challenging play and a healthy attitude towards risk taking.
  2. Provide playful, sensitive interaction opportunities that reflect children’s needs, interests and motivations in order to facilitate and extend deep level learning.
  3. Participate in and lead daily routines and practice, including childrens’ personal care, play and maintaining the physical environment.
  4. To be an effective key person and advocate for the child, supporting the child’s developmental, emotional and daily needs within a secure and caring relationship. To ensure the effectiveness of the key person approach across the aspect or environment for which they are responsible.
  5. To take the lead and provide support in disseminating best practice in the use of observation, assessments and planning to meet children’s needs and extend their holistic development within the aspect or environment for which they are responsible.
  6. Promote, demonstrate and facilitate a clear understanding of diversity and equality to support all children, including those with additional needs, those of high ability, those with English as an additional language and those with disabilities. To be able to use and evaluate distinctive approaches which engage and support inclusivity of all children within their social and cultural context.
  7. 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, providing appropriate support to colleagues as, or supporting, the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
  8. Demonstrate leaderful practice through the effective deployment of resources and practitioners keeping the child’s voice and needs central to practice.
  9. Reflect and build on practice through ongoing professional enquiry and action research to contribute to the pedagogical approach of their setting. To be accountable for day to day practice, longer term planning, management and training within the specific aspect or environment for which they are responsible.
  10. Establish engaging, inclusive and collaborative relationships and participate in multiagency meetings. Enable and facilitate practitioners to develop professional relationships with parents, carers and multi-agencies to meet the individual needs of the children.
  11. 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.
  12. Initiate continuing professional development opportunities in response to identification of strengths and weaknesses both personally and within your team. Provide constructive feedback on points of practice on an informal day to day basis and contribute to formal performance management as necessary.
  13. Ensure compliance with all Health and Safety legislation, policies and strategies at a national, local and setting based level.
  14. Maintain effective administrative systems including development records, assessment, report writing and record keeping, such as risk assessments and safeguarding concerns.
  15. Work in collaborative partnership with parents and carers in the planning, implementation and review of strategies in place to support children’s experience, holistic development, learning and progress.
  16. To lead and manage across the area, aspect or environment for which they are responsible for.

This qualification allows candidates to progress into employment or to the following apprenticeship standards:

  • Level 6 Teacher
  • Level 6 Early Years Teacher (In development)


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