PDA Early Learning and Childcare: Policy and Provision in Scotland SCQF level 7

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA in Early Learning and Childcare: Policy and Provision in Scotland at SCQF level 7 covers the following specialist skills/high-level transferable skills:

  • develop an understanding of regulation and professional learning in early learning and childcare
  • develop professional practice
  • develop an understanding of theoretical concepts and pedagogy in early learning and childcare with a specific focus on babies and children under three
  • develop an understanding of transitions in early years
  • develop an understanding of approaches to transitions for babies and young children, including eligible two-year olds
  • develop an understanding of the effect transitions can have for children and families and on the attainment gap

This qualification covers areas such as Regulation and Professional Learning in Early Learning and Childcare and Transitions: Babies and Young Children.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some employers. It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of workshops and self-directed study.

The PDA in Early Learning and Childcare: Policy and Provision in Scotland at SCQF level 7 has been developed in partnership with employers and industry, so it is suitable for the current sector.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff, while learners will gain the knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

It can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

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

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. Learners should have effective communication skills at SCQF level 6. It would be beneficial if learners have work experience with children, especially with babies and children under three years of age, although this is not essential.

Candidates who have already qualified at practitioner level, or those looking to expand their knowledge, or increase their SCQF level 7 credits, will find this award invaluable. Learning will be enhanced if candidates can arrange to undertake work experience in a setting with babies and children under three years of age.

The PDA is designed to provide additional credits to allow learners to progress, for example, to the HND Childhood Practice or use the credits towards entry to the BA Childhood Practice or PDA Childhood Practice at SCQF level 9. These qualifications are the SSSC registration requirements for manager/lead practitioner.

Centres interested in offering this qualification will 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. The specific delivery requirements are set out in the group award specification (arrangements document).

Each unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for the unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Each unit is assessed separately.

Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice. The use of reports and projects is crucial to this.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

Group award code: GT0L 47 (32 SCQF credit points)

The PDA in Early Learning and Childcare: Policy and Provision in Scotland at SCQF level 7 consists of two mandatory units.