Who are the National Occupational Standards in Childcare or Playwork for?

Standards identify best practice in the sector, indicate acceptable levels of service and are therefore important for:

  • Users of services i.e. children and families
  • Everyone who works in the sector, both paid and unpaid, and at all levels from owners of services, board members, managers, right through to new entrants to the occupational field

Not only do the standards set a benchmark of good practice, but they make clear the extensive scope and depth of competence required for this workforce. This is essential in an environment where the full range of competence required is not always recognised.

The standards are for people who work with children from 0 to 16 years (and their families) in settings or services.

The settings are diverse and it is not possible to list them all, but the following are examples:

  • Day-care
  • Crèches
  • Childminder’s
  • Nannies or home child carers in the child’s own home
  • Schools
  • Pre-schools/ playgroups
  • Afterschool centres
  • Children’s centres
  • Extended schools
  • Hospitals
  • Primary care
  • Community based services
  • Sure Start programmes

It is important to note that the standards at Levels 2 and 3 are designed primarily for those engaged in face-to-face work with children and families. However some units at level 3 and many at level 4 are suitable for those in supervisory, management, support or peripatetic roles.