National Progression Award Playwork and Childcare SCQF level 5

National Progression Award Playwork and Childcare SCQF level 5

National Progression Awards (NPAs) assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards. The NPA in Playwork and Childcare at SCQF level 5 introduces learners to techniques that are important in the playwork, early learning and child care sector.

This NPA develops knowledge and understanding of child development and the role of play, children’s rights and inclusive practice, practical, technical and transferable skills; oral, written and evaluation abilities; resource management; problem solving and planning; and organisational and communication skills.

This qualification covers the following areas for children and young people: development and wellbeing, rights and protection, practice and process. It also includes supporting children and young people in a play setting, an out of school care setting, an early learning and childcare setting, as well as supporting children with additional support needs and providing play sessions in a sport environment.

This entry-level qualification provides some of the basic skills and knowledge required for progression to qualifications that can be recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) for registration.

The qualification is available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

NPAs are trusted because they are developed by practitioners from industry and are supported by the relevant sector skills council (SSC). Industry has recognised that the qualification fits the job.

The NPA in Playwork and Childcare at SCQF level 5 offers current, fit for purpose, bite-sized chunks of learning that are straightforward for centres to adopt and for learners to study. New skills can be gained quickly and in a cost-effective way.

The framework of mandatory and optional Units enables centres to tailor their offer to meet local needs, while the ‘bite’ size of Unit also supports flexibility — Units can slot into school timetables; and they are a more manageable size for employee training.    

NPAs provide opportunities for partnership delivery that can provide benefits for partners and increase options for learners.

NPAs can add value and breadth to a CV for a learner by developing vocational skills.

This NPA covers SCQF levels 5 allowing clear progression and development routes to:

  • higher level education
  • to employment

This NPA provides opportunities to develop:

  • Core Skills (which underpin all National Certificates)
  • transferable skills
  • employability skills           

The NPA could be offered in one of the following modes:

  • full-time (eg as a fast-track into full a NC or HN programme)
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • evening provision

Who does this qualification suit

The NPA is suitable for:

  • learners who are at school or who may have just left school
  • mature candidates who may have been out of education for a long period of time
  • individuals who are currently in employment and wish to obtain a formal qualification
  • learners who want to study at a pace and style that they determine
  • employees who want to develop their careers
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short continuing professional development courses


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, it is recommended for learners entering the level 5 award to have completed some training at level 4.


The level 5 award could provide progression to:

  • SCQF level 5 to level 5
  • an HNC Childhood Practice in or related area
  • an SVQ in Playwork
  • an SVQ in the Social Services (Children and Young People)
  • employment in the Early Learning and Childcare Settings sector, perhaps as a Support Playworker


Centres not already approved to deliver this qualification need to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Assessment of this award will be a combination of practical and knowledge assessments under closed- and open-book assessment conditions. It is recommended that centres refer to the assessment and Evidence Requirements for each Unit.

The delivery of the award is at the individual centre’s discretion.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification Structure

Group Award code: GL2Y 45 (48 SCQF credit points).

NPA Playwork and Childcare SCQF level (429 KB)

The NPA Playwork and Childcare at SCQF level 5 consists of 5 mandatory Units (42 SCQF credit points) and 1 Optional Unit (6 SQCF points).