National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)

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 responsibilities.

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

  • An 18-month Early Years Leadership accreditation.
  • Flexible learning to suit your timetable
  • Designed for early years leaders
  • Fully funded for disadvantaged settings
#encodeForHtmlAttribute( photo.alt )#

Why us?

Choose our NPQ for Early Years Leadership and you’ll be joining over 29,000 teachers, school leaders and early years practitioners (as of March 2024), who have decided on an Ambition NPQ since they launched in 2021.

Evidence informed curriculum
Our carefully sequenced and evidence informed NPQ is designed around the key problems you face. You’ll develop your knowledge and understanding of what high-quality, early years education and care looks like.

Access the latest early years research
Our NPQ for Early Years Leadership includes core research areas like how early years leaders can deliver and sustain change, factors affecting child development and the importance of a positive culture to improve outcomes.

Train to your timetable

Our ‘little and often’ approach means you can engage with our NPQs around your busy timetable, with minimal time needed out of school. On average just one hour per week to engage in our NPQEYL.

No large project
Plus, on our NPQs there’s no large project at the end. Instead, you’ll sit an ‘open book’ assessment with support via two on-demand webinars and a dedicated, live assessment preparation clinic to help you get the most from your NPQEYL.

Benefits for you

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.

Benefits for your early years setting

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.

Frequently asked questions

Who is the NPQEYL programme for?
The NPQ for Early Years Leadership is designed for early years practitioners who are qualified to at least level three, with a full and relevant early years or teaching qualification.

You will be, or will be aspiring to be:

  • A manager of a private, voluntary or independent early years setting
  • A headteacher of a school-based or maintained early years setting
  • An early years foundation stage leader in a state funded school (roles could include early years/KS1 phase leader, assistant or deputy headteacher, or class teachers aspiring to leadership)
  • A childminder with leadership responsibilities.

How long does the NPQEYL programme last?
The NPQ for Early Years Leadership is a twelve-month programme, with a mixture of live, facilitated sessions and self-directed learning.

How does the NPQEYL programme accommodate busy schedules?
The NPQ for Early Years Leadership is designed to fit around your schedule with a 'little and often' approach that aligns with insights from the science of learning.

What does the NPQEYL cost?
The NPQ for Early Years Leadership is DfE-funded for teachers and school leaders who work in the most challenging schools or educational settings, serving more disadvantaged communities in England. Find out more about the eligibility criteria in the 'Funding' tab.

Are there any specific requirements to enrol on the NPQEYL programme?
To be eligible for the NPQ for Early Years Leadership, you must be a serving teacher or early years practitioners in a school or eligible setting in England.

Curriculum

Our NPQ for Early Years Leadership 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.

Note: programme content is subject to change.

How you'll learn

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 (each lasting six hours)
  • 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 12 hours of in-person delivery (via 2 full day conferences and in-person twilight sessions),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.

Locations

Join a local cohort with one of our regional partners and benefit from our expert curriculum design along with a tailored experience linked to your local context.

If you are unable to find a local cohort, you can join Ambition’s national cohort and gain a national network of peers. Either way, we work to give you the best possible experience.

Find a cohort that’s local to you in our list of partners here.

What our partners can do for you

Ambition Institute provides high-quality content and materials, built on our experience in schools and other learning environments, and our deep knowledge of evidence and practice.

Our partner in your region will put this knowledge into context and manage your experience on the programme, from facilitation to day-to-day support.

The timings and methods of activity, sizes of cohorts and the cost of the programme may vary across delivery partners.

Assessment

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.

Testimonials

Funding

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.

If you're unsure whether you will qualify for this 'pupil premium' based on funding, please use our online eligibility check tool.

Scholarship-funded places are very limited, so access to funding will be subject to availability. To have the best chance of claiming a funded place, please apply as soon as possible once applications open.

*Currently nurseries are not available yet on the tool. If you work in a nursery, please contact us directly at [email protected]

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.

Get in touch to find out more.

Apply

Applications have now closed for our spring 2024 NPQ cohorts. We expect to be delivering NPQs in autumn 2024.

Register your interest now to hear about future NPQ cohorts.

To apply, you need to be an early years practitioner who is qualified to at least level three, with a full and relevant early years or teaching qualification.

NPQs are not suitable for active Early Career Teachers.

You will be, or will be aspiring to be:

  • A manager of a private, voluntary or independent early years setting
  • A headteacher of a school-based or maintained early years setting
  • An early years foundation stage leader in a state funded school (roles could include early years/KS1 phase leader, assistant or deputy headteacher, or class teachers aspiring to leadership)
  • A childminder with leadership responsibilities.

Childminders
Please complete our enquiry form here and provide us with the name of your setting and your postcode.

Teacher Reference Number
To apply for an NPQ, you will need a Teacher Reference Number (TRN). If you do not have a TRN, you can request a temporary one. You can find out how to do that here.

If you have any questions, email [email protected] and a member of our team will be in touch with next steps.

Interested in the programme?