Early Years

Overview Pathways Frequently asked questions Useful-contacts

Overview of the PG Certificate Early Years Practice

Welcome to the partnership page for the PG Certificate Early Years Practice at the Institute of Education.  

The purpose of these pages is to support educators who are working with our students in settings and learning environments, including Early Years, special needs schools, and social care. 

Working with partners

We have strong partnerships with hundreds of child-based settings and are renowned for our excellent relationships with these settings. When commenting on Early Years teacher training/ITE in 2016, Ofsted said: “Setting leaders comment on the positive contribution that (Institute of Education) students and former students make to raising the quality in their own organisation.”

The Early Years programme leader and other leaders are steeped in early years practice and provide vision, clarity, ambition and purpose.Ofsted, Initial teacher education inspection report 2016


There are two pathways into Early Years teacher training:

Graduate Entry Pathway
Designed for new graduates with little to no experience of working with young children. Students will undertake the PGCEYP (Post Graduate Certificate in Early Years Practice) alongside EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status).


Graduate Entry Employment Based Pathway
This pathway is designed for graduates who are currently employed in the sector but require further training and experience to demonstrate the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years). Students will undertake the PGCEYP (Post Graduate Certificate in Early Years Practice) alongside EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status). 

Find out more about the PG Certificate in Early Years Practice

Assessment Only

As an experienced teacher, it is possible to gain QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) or EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status) without additional training through the Assessment Only route. The route to QTS or EYTS is only available to teachers who have substantial experience in teaching in either the public or private sector but do not already have QTS or EYTS.

As many schools and settings are unfamiliar with Assessment Only, we are very happy to talk to school/setting leaders about the route and its process.

Find out more about the Assessment Only route

Early Years Mentoring 

The ability to reflect on their own practice and that of the school or setting and to relate this to what they have learnt will be vital to the successful completion of the programme for students on either pathway. The role of the setting and, more specifically, you as a mentor, will be to support the student and facilitate with them, opportunities to put their evolving knowledge into practice.

In the context of Early Years Teacher Status, a mentor needs to be someone who:

  • has been through the experience of training to work with babies, toddlers and young children
  • is available to talk through both complex and general issues in a knowledgeable, sympathetic and trustworthy way
  • has experience in delivering and leading practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • can support a trainee to become autonomous through dialogue and skilled questioning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find out about funding?

Fully funded places are available for graduate practitioners and graduates who wish to work in early education. An employer incentive payment is also available for employers with trainees on the graduate employment-based pathway. Visit the DfE Get into Teaching website for more information.

How does it work as an employer?

View the DfE (Department for Education) guidance for employers for more information

A prospective candidate does not have a degree yet – can they study alongside work?

We offer a Foundation Degree in Children’s Development and Learning in partnership with local FE colleges where candidates can study alongside work. The candidate will need to work in early years (birth-5 years) or educational (4-11 years) setting for at least 2.5 days a week. College attendance is required for one afternoon and evening per week.

There is then the opportunity to do a top-up year to gain BA Children’s Development and Learning. Once they have successful obtained their degree, the candidate can then progress on to one of our postgraduate Primary ITE programmes.

Useful contacts

Role   Name  Email  
Head of Early Years/ Director of Early Years Teacher Status Programmes Jo Elsey   j.h.elsey@reading.ac.uk 
Assessment Only Programme Director Assessment Only Team
Admissions Team    teachertraining@reading.ac.uk  
Programme Administration Team   eyts@reading.ac.uk