Stage 2 Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care with Special Needs (Level 6)


QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Early Years – 6M21471.

This is Stage Two of a Two-Stage Programme.

The overall aim of the two-stage programme is to enable learners to develop the knowledge, skills, and competence to work as autonomous practitioners, subject to practice supervision, promoting and supporting the holistic needs of children from 0 to six years, and/or to take responsibility for a room or area in an ELC setting.

This award also provides the learner with the opportunity to transfer and progress into further and higher education and training.

The current qualification requirement for room leaders is Level 6 (DCEDIY, register of recognised Early Years qualifications.) Qualifications for different roles in ELC may be subject to change in line with evolving national policy.

The programme leads to a new award, the Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care 6M21471.

 It is important to note that the 6 mandatory Programme Modules are not accredited Awards in their own right. The Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care will only be awarded on successful completion of Stage One of the Programme and all of the 6 mandatory Programme Modules in Stage Two.

Award QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care – 6M21471.
Format Full-time. September 2023 to May 2024.
Location Onsite at Mallow Campus.
Timetable Hours between Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 15:30.
Requirements No CAO required (Leaving Cert./LCA/equivalent for under 23s). Application review discussion.
Starting Classes start the week of Monday the 11th of September 2023.
Fees €330 (SUSI/BTEA €330, Medical Card €250, VTOS €0).
Applications Applications open. Places available. No deposit required to start your application.

Contact us at for help and more information.

Career Prospects

  • Crèche leader. +
  • Nursery supervisor. +
  • Playgroup leader. +
  • Pre-school leader. +
  • Special needs assistant. +

Course Contents

Advanced Professional Practice Placement in Early Learning and Care 6C21517
Sociology and Social Policy in Early Learning and Care 6C21518
The Developing Child 6C21519
Curriculum and Pedagogy 6C21520
Inclusive Early Learning and Care 6C21521
Supervision and Administration in Early Learning and Care 6C21522
Special Needs Assisting 6N1957

Courses are continually developed – content and specific award components are subject to change. See disclaimer.


One year. Full-time. Class timetables to follow in September, and subject to change. See calendar for term holidays.


50 full-time day students will travel, fully-funded, with Erasmus+ to another European country for 2 weeks. Find out more and apply.

Entry Requirements

Education: Learners will be expected to have completed Stage One of this programme or equivalent. A minimum English language and literacy competency of B2 in writing, reading, listening and speaking on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) is required at entry to the programme for speakers of English as a second or other language.

All applicants will be required to attend an application review and Garda vetted. Police clearance is required for non-Irish nationals. Minimum English language and literacy competence at entry to the programme for speakers of English as a second language would be B2 in writing, reading, listening and speaking.

An offer of a place on this course is contingent on the applicant meeting the minimum entry requirements set out here, and satisfactory presentation at an application review.


  • QQI Advanced Certificate in Early Learning and Care, Level 6 – 6M21471

Garda Vetting

This course requires participants to be Garda vetted. Continued participation on the course and work placement is dependent on the successful completion of this process.

Work Experience

Students will undertake 150 hours of Professional Practice in a minimum of 2 early Years of Early Years settings per annum. The settings will include birth -2 yrs 8 months, and 2 yrs 8 months to 6 years. All Professional Practice placements must be carried out with an ELC provider currently registered with TUSLA. Learners must be garda vetted before going on the placement. Learners must complete the current Children First E-Learning programme before going on placement.


. Use your full QQI award to progress to degrees in Early Childhood Education, Montessori Education, Social Care, Community Development, and Arts. 

  • UCC: Early Years and Childhood Studies (CK111) Year One
  • MTU Cork: Early Childhood Education and Care (MT572) Year Two
  • WIT: Early Childhood Education and Care (WD149) Year Two


For more links and detailed information on how to use your Mallow Campus qualification go to

A full QQI award achieves a maximum of 390 points for CAO.


  • Full Fees (EU/EEA Citizens): €330
  • Medical Card Holders: €250
  • Student Grant Recipients (SUSI): €330
  • Back to Education Allowance (BTEA): €330
  • Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS): €0
    • €50 Deposit (refundable) per year.
    • Retain Social Welfare benefits. Additional weekly allowances for meals, travel and childcare are also available.

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