HNC Childhood Practice

The HNC Award in Childhood Practice at SCQF level 7 will equip candidates to work effectively in a range of care settings with a variety of service users. Learners will gain an understanding of the values and principles of social care and will learn how to integrate those values with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Areas covered include: care in contemporary society; leadership, health wellbeing and safeguarding; lifespan development theoretical approaches; promoting effective communication; promoting health, safety and security in the work setting; and developing your practice through reflection and learning.

The following optional guidance can be used to support delivery and assessment as an alternative to the approaches outlined in the Group Award / Unit specification.

Optional assessment guidance 2023-24

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The HNC in Childhood Practice at SCQF level 7 offers wide choice of optional Units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

Units can also be used on a stand-alone basis to satisfy continuous

professional development (CPD) requirements.

The Unit-based structure supports flexibility. A Unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression). 

The HNC Childhood Practice Award at SCQF level 7 is suitable for:

  • S3-S6 pupils
  • school leavers
  • college students
  • adult returners to education
  • anyone in a caring volunteering role
  • individuals involved in voluntary activities in a care setting
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • appropriate groupings of National Units
  • any two National Qualifications at Higher
  • an SVQ at Level 2 or 3 in a relevant area
  • relevant work experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

Learners may have the opportunity to progress to the PDA in Childcare and Education at SCQF level 8, the PDA Childhood Practice at level 9 or could gain access to year two of the current BA Early Years Childhood Studies.

Learners who achieve an HNC Childhood Practice at SCQF level 7 can progress to the PDA Childhood Practice at level 9 or could gain access to year two of the current BA Early Years Childhood Studies.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have 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 Guide to Approval.

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply. 

Group Award code: GK9T 15 (min. 96 SCQF credit points)

The Award in Childhood Practice at SCQF level 7 consists of eight mandatory Units (68 SCQF credit points) one mandatory optional Unit and three optional Units (24 SCQF credit points).