National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership

We are now taking registrations of interest for autumn 2024.

Due to new funding guidelines, there are now limited places per NPQ and so we recommend submitting your application as soon as possible, once applications open. Applications will be checked carefully and will be accepted based on eligibility and suitability criteria and the application. We are unable to guarantee any places at this stage and schools and candidates should be aware that even if they are eligible for funding, they may not get a place.

This course is designed for leaders of early years education. This includes teachers, EYFS
and senior leaders in schools, leaders in nurseries and childminders with leadership

Become an early years expert and help to give all children up to the age of five the best
possible start in life.

  • A new 18-month Early Years Leadership accreditation
  • Designed for early years leaders
  • Flexible learning to suit your timetable
  • Fully funded for disadvantaged settings

Note: programme content is subject to change.

  • Early Years / KS1 Phase Leader
  • Assistant / Deputy Head
  • Assistant / Deputy / Vice Principal
  • Headteacher / Principal
  • Class teachers aspiring to and close to leadership

Early Years Practitioners such as:

  • Childminders responsible for one or more staff
  • Room Leader
  • Deputy Manager
  • Assistant Manager
  • Nursery Officer
  • Lead Practitioner
  • Senior Practitioner
  • After school club manager
  • Childcare manager
  • Play leader

This course follows the Department for Education’s National Professional Qualification: Early Years Leadership Framework.
You will learn how to:

  • Set a strategic direction for your early years setting and apply ambitious standards for all children
  • Champion evidence-based practice
  • Plan and deliver care and a high-quality curriculum to support children’s development
  • Establish communication, language and literacy approaches to support children’s learning
  • Make sure all children experience success
  • Identify children who need support and make appropriate referrals
  • Create an environment for all children and colleagues where everyone feels welcome and safe

Our NPQEYL is designed so you can engage in live, facilitated sessions alongside modules you can complete at any time.
Over 18 months, our NPQEYL includes:

  • Two live conferences (6hrs each)
  • Nine courses (each course lasts about six weeks and loosely aligns with a school half term)
  • Each course includes six modules
  • 54 insight and practice modules (completed at a time that suits you)
  • Six two-hour online clinics (facilitated sessions)
  • One two-hour assessment clinic
  • Five online communities (1hr15mins group sessions)
    The content is delivered through blended learning. This includes in-person delivery, a mix of real-time, interactive online sessions and self-guided modules you complete in your own time.
    The programme includes facilitator-led sessions with your peer group that focus on decision making. The programme starts with a one-day live conference.
    Note: programme content is subject to change
  • Thrive as a leader – This course is designed specifically for leaders of early years education. Through evidence-based professional development, you’ll learn what great early years learning looks like and how to lead others in your setting. You’ll also look at what others can learn from you
  • Close the gap – Evidence* shows that high quality care and education in early years is fundamental for a child’s development, preparing them for school and later life*. We’ll help you to develop the knowledge to deliver this to the children you support
  • Designed by early years experts – Benefit from a programme which is designed and delivered by early years specialists and experts from across the sector
  • Tailor your training – The programme allows you to apply the theory to your early years’ setting. You’ll be able to bring your own persistent problems and solve them with the support of expert facilitators and network peers
  • Invest in your future – Ongoing professional development helps you to grow and thrive as an early years practitioner. You will follow an evidence-informed framework and gain a professional accreditation at the end of the programme.
  • Learn at your pace – This programme is designed to fit around your busy teaching role. Much of the work can be completed in short bursts around your existing schedule
  • Connect with your peers – You’ll train alongside other early years practitioners from similar. You’ll share your experiences and building a strong support network
  • *Sources: Barnett, W. S. (1995). “Long-term effects of early childhood programs on cognitive and school outcomes”. The Future of Children, 25-50.
  • Heckman, J., Pinto, R. and Savelyev, P. (2013). “Understanding the mechanisms through which an influential early childhood program boosted adult outcomes”. American Economic Review 103(6), 2052-2086*Sources: Barnett, W. S. (1995). “Long-term effects of early childhood programs on cognitive and school outcomes”. The Future of Children, 25-50.
  • Give young people the best start – Equipping your leaders with evidence-based training on what good education and care looks like will help to create a level playing field for children in the early stages of life
  • Benefit from tailored training – This is the first NPQ that is designed specifically for early years practitioners. It will develop expertise that can be applied to identifying and addressing persistent and common challenges in early years leadership
  • Invest in high-quality professional development – Participants will learn how to unpack and apply learning across all aspects of the early years – and support their colleagues to develop in these areas too
  • Create a ‘golden thread’ – The NPQs are all aligned. So, no matter what career stage your teachers are at, by joining this programme, they will benefit from an evidence-based framework. They will also share a common language with other NPQ participants that they can pass on to colleagues
  • Tap into a network – Your leaders will train alongside peers from other early years settings, supported by expert facilitators who fully understand their needs

Our NPQ courses no longer include a large project at the end. Instead, you’ll sit an ‘open book’ style assessment in which you respond to a short case study.

The assessment window starts at the end of the 18-month programme and runs for three months. During this time, you’ll be given an eight-day window to complete the case study.

There are two assessment windows every year, and participants can sit the assessment two times, if they need to.

You need to complete the course to qualify for the NPQ accreditation.

We will offer a webinar and live clinic in advance of the assessment window to support you.

New for autumn 2024! DfE-funded scholarships for this NPQ will target those teachers and leaders who work in the most challenging schools or educational settings, serving more disadvantaged communities.
For the NPQ in Early Years Leadership, funded scholarships will be available for those who meet the following criteria:

  • Be an early years practitioner who is qualified to at least level three, with a full and relevant early years or teaching qualification
  • Work in the 50% of schools with the highest proportion of students who attract pupil premium funding
  • Highly disadvantaged early years settings will also be eligible

We expect more eligibility information and including which schools and settings will be able to access this funding, to be provided by the Department for Education in the summer term.
If you do not work in an eligible school, the NPQ in Early Years Leadership costs £1,139 plus VAT.

How to apply

Applications for autumn 2024 are yet to open, but we are currently taking registrations of interests.

Fill out this form, to be added onto our waiting list and be the first to know when applications open!

Programme dates