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Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice – University of Reading

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  • "Trainees benefit from carefully managed placements..."

    "... in socio-economically and culturally diverse areas." Ofsted inspection report, 2016

  • Transforming lives through education

    Become an outstanding educational practitioner

Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice

Register here for more information about our postgraduate teacher training programmes

Learn from a diverse and experienced community, benefit from outstanding facilities and well-managed placements, and develop as an early years leader at one of the country's leading providers of teacher training.

Do you want to specialise in working with babies and young children? Are you looking for a qualification where you can gain experience in a wide range of settings across the children's workforce?

At the University of Reading's Institute of Education, our PGCert Early Years Practice will give you the range of skills, experience and knowledge you need to become a specialist in early childhood development.

Once you graduate, you will be qualified to work in a wide range of settings, including daycare, nurseries and preschools, academies and free schools, out of school settings and children's centres as well as home based childcare such as childminding.  


Looking for 2022/23 courses?

If you would like to start studying Education at the University of Reading in 2022, please view our 2022/23 postgraduate courses.

Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

You will undertake your PGCert alongside Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). EYTS is awarded to graduates who have been judged to have met all of the Teachers' Standards (Early Years) in practice from birth to five years old. The Teachers' Standards (Early Years) support the training, assessment and award of EYTS .

EYTS is the only graduate accreditation for the early years workforce.

Early Years pathways

There are two pathways into Early Years teacher training available from the Institute of Education:

Graduate Entry Pathway

Designed for new graduates with little to no experience of working with young children. Trainees 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).

How you'll learn

We have a breadth of experience at the Institute of Education and you will benefit from the broad range of subjects in which our academics specialise. Their knowledge of different types of settings and learning environments, including Early Years, special needs schools, and social care, will feed into your learning.

You will learn through interactive, discussion-based techniques, encouraging you to engage, reflect and challenge.

Your training will focus on topics such as child development and attachment theory, the importance of safeguarding and how this relates to settings, to individual children and to themselves. You will learn how to build warm and productive relationships with children and show high levels of care.

You will develop a toolkit of knowledge and skills which will ensure you are well prepared to tackle challenges and opportunities throughout your training and your career.

“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 – September 2016


At the Institute of Education, we have created an open and inclusive environment, one which promotes a sense of wellbeing and belonging. A community where we recognise and treat all our students as individuals.

You will enjoy high levels of personal attention and strong support throughout your studies - as recognised by Ofsted - training you to become a confident, resilient and resourceful teacher. 

Your tutors are on hand to offer regular guidance and support, ensuring any potential issues are addressed as early as possible. In addition to academic support, our Student Support team are able to offer counselling services and wellbeing information.

To help build individual confidence and peer respect, we encourage you to share experiences and expertise with other trainees, enabling open discussion and group support.

Whilst in the University, our world-class academics will support you, and whilst you are on a placement, you will be fully supported by University-trained subject mentors. During your placement your progress is also closely monitored by your University tutors and you will be visited by a member of the academic staff.

Our relationship with you doesn't end when you graduate; we recognise the demands placed on new Early Career Teachers and therefore continue to support you throughout the transition.

Facilities and resources

Our location in Reading gives you the benefits of a vibrant town with the convenience of excellent transport connections both nationally and internationally.

The Institute of Education is based at our historic London Road campus, which has undergone a £30 million refurbishment of the classical Oxford-cloistered quadrangle to create a dedicated world-class education centre.

We have created custom-built spaces for the teaching of specialist subjects such as music, PE, drama, the sciences, ICT, and art, including:

  • modern laboratories
  • musical studios, including an electronic drum kit room and a recording studio
  • well-equipped art studios and facilities for the practise of work in drawing, painting, sculpture and mixed media
  • studios for wet photography and printmaking, including silk-screen.

Alongside these fantastic facilities you will also find places to eat and drink as well as plenty of green space to relax in.

The Learning Hub

We have an incredible collection of teaching resources housed in the Learning Hub. A treasure trove for teachers, the Learning Hub contains every type of teaching aid imaginable for loan or for reference, from big books to puppets. A printing and binding facility, and technical equipment library are also available for your use.

As well as those at the London Road campus, further facilities are available just a 15-minute walk away at our award-wining Whiteknights campus.


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

On the PGCEYP we ensure that your placements meet your needs and complement your previous experience. You will gain invaluable experience in a number of different settings, one of which could be a Children's Centre. This variety of placement will strengthen your knowledge and help develop your practical skills in real-life situations.

Placements also provide you with the perfect opportunity to connect with potential employers and build your professional network.

“Early Years trainees benefit from carefully managed placements to ensure that they experience teaching different age groups of pupils, including key stage 1, and various types of good-quality settings in socio-economically and culturally diverse areas.”

Ofsted, Initial teacher education inspection report – September 2016


Successful completion of an early years teacher training course leads to the award of EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status). This award is different to the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and is designed for those who wish to specialise in work with babies and young children from birth to five years.

Through the PGCEYP (Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice) we train you to become a graduate leader responsible for organising and leading high quality practice in early years settings. The placements you carry out, alongside your academic training, ensure you are highly attractive to employers. In fact, our trainee teachers are so sought after than most have jobs before they finish their course

“Highly professional trainees who understand and develop their leadership skills very well ...”

Ofsted, Initial teacher education inspection report – September 2016

Fully funded places available

Early Years teacher training is offered by the Institute of Education with the Department for Education (DfE) and 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.

Further details on funding can be found here




For more information please contact the University of Reading EYTS administration team.

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