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Child Development

Subject Overview

Child Development is studied at both Key Stage 4 and 5. It is an enjoyable subject that at Key Stage 4 focuses on the development of the child up to age 8 and how Early Years workers can support this development. At Key Stage 5 the care of children is studied more holistically, examining factors such as communication, relationships and safety. This subject at key Stage 5 allows pupils to gain experience in an Early Years setting, helping them to make considered career choices.

Key Stage 4

Why Study the Subject

The BTEC First Level 2 Certificate in Children’s Play, Learning and Development gives learners the opportunity to gain a broad knowledge of Child Development issues and an understanding of the Early Years Sector. It will also prepare learners by helping them develop the skills necessary for employment in the Early Years Sector. The BTEC First will also support progression towards the further study of Child Development or Health and Social Care.

Assessment Structure

25 % examination

75 % coursework

One exam in Year 11 and one in year 12

Head of Department

Miss C Digney

Children in Playground

Year 11/12 - Topics Studied

BTEC Level 2 First Certificate in Children’s Play, Learning and Development is a two year course where students study the following topics:

  • Unit 1      Patterns of Child Development.

  • Unit 2      Promoting Development through Play.

  • Unit 3      Principles of Early Years Practice

  • Unit 4      Promoting Children's Positive Behaviour

  • Unit 5      Health & Safety in Early Years Settings.

  • Unit 7      Making Healthy Food Choices

  • Unit 8      Working in the Early Years Sector.

Employability/job opportunities/further study


  • Crèche / Nursery Assistant

  • Early Years Teacher

  • Teaching Assistant

  • Social Worker

  • Children's Nurse

  • Counsellor

  • Support Worker

  • Play Specialist

  • Childminder

  • Nursery Manager

Key Stage 4 Extra Curricular Activities/Trips/Industry links


Students visit local Playgroups and nurseries. In year 12 the department hosts an annual Mother and Toddler morning in school to provide opportunities to interact with and support children in play.

Post 16


Why Study the Subject

The Level 3 BTEC National Award in Children’s Care, Learning and Development is a specialist programme of study which equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare them for a career in the Childcare profession or to progress to higher and further education. This is a practical based course where students are engaged in a study of the Early Years Sector by undertaking work placement in Year 13.  Throughout the two years there will be opportunities for students to participate in educational visits and listen to a range of guest speakers from the Early Years profession together with completing a certificate in Paediatric First Aid.

Assessment Structure

Students complete 5 units all of which are internally assessed.

Year 13 Unit 1  | Positive Relationships for Children’s Care, Learning and Development

Year 13 Unit 2  | Positive Environments for Children’s Care, Learning and Development

Year 13 Unit 38 | Reflecting on Practice (60 hours work placement)

Year 14 Unit 3  | Promoting Children’s Development 

Year 14 Unit 5  | Safeguarding Children

Year 13 - Topics Studied

Unit 1 - Positive Relationships for Children’s Care, Learning and Development

In this unit students investigate how adults develop positive relationships with children and examine the importance of effective communication in relationships.

Unit 2 - Positive Environments for Children’s Care, Learning and Development

In this unit students explore how to establish and maintain a healthy, safe and secure environment for children. Students will learn how to best supervise children and investigate how babies and children develop.  In this unit you will also be given the opportunity to gain a Paediatric First Aid qualification.

Unit 38 - Reflecting on Practice (work placement) 

Students complete work experience of 60 hours where they will develop their knowledge and skills of working with children in a variety of settings and how to respond to children's needs by creating a stimulating safe environment.

Year 14 - Topics Studied

Unit 3 - Promoting Children’s Development

Students learn the expected patterns of development from 0-16 years and how to promote development across these age ranges.  Students will also conduct a longitudinal child study observing and recording a child’s development closely over a 7-month period.

Unit 5 - Safeguarding Children  

Students learn the potential indicators of child abuse and the legal requirements for dealing with disclosure.  They will also understand strategies for supporting children and their families during times of need.

Employability/job opportunities/further study


  • Degree in Early Childhood Studies

  • Early Years Teacher

  • Classroom Assistant

  • Playgroup leader

  • Further and Higher Education courses in Early Years studies

  • Nursing/Midwifery

  • Social Worker

  • Support worker

  • Counselling

  • Occupational Therapy

Post 16 Extra Curricular Activities/Trips/Industry links


Pupils visit Rathore School in Newry to investigate how the additional needs of children are met. Pupils also complete a Paediatric First Aid Certificate.


St Mary's High School, Newry

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