CERTSEY: Level 3 Certificate for SENCOs in Early Years (PVI sector)

A Department for Education (DfE) recognised qualification

The Eastern Partnership UK (SEND) is proud to have been an integral part of the development of this accredited course, working with colleagues from the DfE.

This is a nationally recognised qualification which is accessed via a virtual learning route and in partnership with local early years teams, depending on the location of your setting.

On successful completion you will gain a level 3 certificate for SENCOs in the Early Years Private Voluntary Independent (PVI) sector and 13 level 3 credits from Gateway Qualifications.

It is suitable for SENCOs in the Early Years PVI sector as well as for childminders.

Course Delivery

This is an online course accessed by laptop/tablet/phone. The expected duration of this course is nine months, and it runs twice every year with a Spring and Autumn start. If you are a childminder or your setting is located in one of our partner Local Authorities/Boroughs you will take a blended learning pathway. This consists of access to online course materials and additional teaching/workshop sessions delivered by your local Early Years team to support your learning and assessment tasks.

If you are a childminder or your setting is within a Local Authority/Borough who is not currently partnered with us you will take a fully online learning pathway. You will be supported by an online tutor/learning outcomes assessor.

Course Content

The expected duration of this course is nine months. The course is divided into ten chapters:


  • Chapter 1: Pre Course – The role of the SENCO
  • Chapter 2: The Law, Regulations and Statutory Guidance
  • Chapter 3: Working in a Person-Centered Way
  • Chapter 4: High Quality Practice
  • Chapter 5: Early Identification
  • Chapter 6: SEN Support and the Graduated Approach
  • Chapter 7: Outcomes
  • Chapter 8: Local Offer & Support from Specialists
  • Chapter 9: Moving On (Transition)
  • Chapter 10: Developing Expertise in SEND


You will be able to access guidance from an experienced tutor/learning-outcomes assessor to help you complete your portfolio and gain the right level of knowledge and practical skills from the course.

To achieve the learning outcomes for the course, you will submit 10 assessment tasks and submit a learning journal using the assessment platform. Access will be given to an online tutor/learning outcomes assessor to support your journey.

Benefits to you and your organisation

  • Successful completion of the course will ensure your setting is compliant with the requirement of the SEND Code of Practice (DfE 2015)
  • Having a qualified SENCO within your setting will improve practice overall and strengthen your discussions during inspection.
  • Staff working within your setting will benefit from your leadership of SEND and become more confident about their own practice in working with children with SEND and in engaging with their families.
  • Childminders will gain a high level of knowledge and understanding to help inform day to day work.

Entry Requirements

The course is open to those who are:


  • Working in the PVI sector, including childminders.
  • Currently in role as SENCO.
  • Intending to take up the role of SENCO.
  • Have an interest in aspiring to be a SENCO in the Early Years PVI sector in the future.
  • Aged 19 or over at the start of the course.

In order to deliver this qualification, we currently work in partnership with the following organisations: