Child Development

Key Stage 4 - Study Matrix 2021 – 2022


Studying Child Development provides our pupils with a plethora of life skills and specific learning, focussing on the development and care of children from birth to five years – the early years sector. In the UK, there are approximately 2 million childcare places for children aged under five and many different types of settings, ranging from childminders and nannies, to nurseries, crèches and preschools. This is reflected locally in the Darlington and surrounding areas. Essentially the syllabus is offering key life skills and aspirational yet achievable post 16 pathways. Knowledge of child development is also crucial in a variety of healthcare roles such as paediatricians, psychologists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.


The intent of the Child Development course is to introduce pupils to key child development skills and knowledge; developing possible pathways into post 16 education and ultimately jobs which exist in this sector. Pupils are provided with the opportunity to develop applied knowledge and understanding of child development and growth up to the age of five, how children learn through play and how meeting the needs of individual children will support their development, play and learning. At the conclusion of the course the aim is for pupils to have developed applied knowledge and understanding of child development in both a practical and theoretical context. This allows opportunities of progression to further Level 2 BTEC qualifications and Level 3 BTEC National Diplomas and apprenticeships and a solid foundation of acquired transferable skills that can be used within the sector and the wider environment.


The course has two internally assessed components, and a third that is externally assessed.

The curriculum provided offers the pupils 3 components which develop a range of different elements that explore and challenge pupils.

Components 1 and 2 are assessed through internal assessment. This has been designed to relate key skills through realistic tasks and activities. The intention being to promote deep learning by ensuring the connection between knowledge and practice. Practically pupils will have the opportunity to develop knowledge and technical skills in a variety of areas: the characteristics of children’s development from birth up to five years, factors that affect growth and development, the importance of play, how play promotes children’s learning and development, reasons why children may need support, child-friendly environments to support play, learning and development in children from birth to five years old, supporting all children to learn and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially, and adapting activities to support children’s play, learning and development.

Component 3 is assessed through a single external assessment. It is designed to build directly on Components 1 and 2 and enables learning to be brought together and applied to realistic contexts.


The course aims to be successful in building skills and motivating learners to engage fully with challenging study. The skills acquired are applicable to a range of post-16 study options. Study of the qualification as part of Key Stage 4 learning will help learners to make more informed choices for further learning either generally or in this sector. Pupils who generally achieve at Level 2 across their Key Stage 4 learning might consider progression to:

A Levels as preparation for entry to higher education in a range of subjects, study of a vocational qualification at Level 3, such as a BTEC Level 3 National in Children’s Care, Learning and Development or a vocational qualification in a related sector such as a BTEC Level 3 National in Health and Social Care. These qualifications prepare our pupils to enter employment or apprenticeships, or for a move to higher education to study a degree in the early childhood or childhood and youth areas or in related sectors such as nursing and social care.