National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)

In 18 months, you’ll become an expert in early years leadership, helping to give all children up to the age of five the best possible start in life.

  • Gain a NPQ for Early Years Leadership accreditation.
  • Flexible learning to suit your timetable
  • Become an expert in early years education
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Why us?

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.

Choose our NPQ in Early Years Leadership and you’ll be joining over 25,000 teachers, school leaders and early years practitioners (as of November 23), who have decided on an Ambition NPQ since they launched in 2021.

On our NPQEYL, you’ll benefit from our evidence-informed curriculum to help you develop your knowledge and understanding of what high-quality, early years education and care looks like.

Throughout the course, you’ll get access to the key research on areas including how early years leaders can deliver and sustain change, factors affecting child development and the importance of a positive culture to improve outcomes. Rather than spending your time sourcing the latest insights, you’ll instead focus on putting your learning into practice.

Our ‘little and often’ approach means you’ll need on average just one hour per week to engage in our NPQs, helping you to fit your NPQEYL around your timetable.

And with our growing network, you’ll train alongside fellow teachers and early years leaders with similar responsibilities, with content focusing on the key challenges you face in your role.

Plus, on our NPQs there’s no large project at the end. Instead, you’ll sit an ‘open book’ assessment with support via a live webinar and clinics available to help you get the most from your NPQ.

Benefits for you

Thrive as a leader

This programme 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 and 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.

Train to your timetable

This is a flexible programme, designed to fit around your existing work commitments. Most of the training can be completed at a time that suits you with minimal time spent away from your early years setting.

Connect with peers

You’ll train with people from early years settings, sharing your experiences and building a strong support network.

Tailor your training

The programme allows you to apply the theory to your early years’ setting.

*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 new NPQs are all aligned. Right from the start, your leaders will benefit from an evidence-based framework with a common language that they can pass onto colleagues.

Tap into a network

Your leaders will train alongside peers from other early years settings, supported by facilitators who fully understand their needs.

Frequently asked questions

Who is the NPQEYL programme for?

The NPQ in Leading Literacy 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 in 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 in 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.

Is the NPQEYL programme fully funded?

The NPQ in Early Years Leadership is fully funded for teachers and school leaders, at eligible schools and organisations in England, by the Department for Education. 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 in Early Years Leadership, you must be a serving teacher or early years practitioners in a school or eligible setting in England.

Curriculum

Our NPQ in 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 central cohort and gain a national network of peers or you can choose an NPQ cohort in your area with one of our regional partners with all the contextual benefits of your area.

With our regional partners, you’ll benefit from our expert curriculum design along with a more tailored experience linked to your local context. 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

The spring 2024 cohorts may be the last to be fully funded by the Department for Education.

Funding information for future cohorts will be announced shortly.

Register your interest now to hear about future NPQ cohorts.

The Department for Education scholarship funding was available to all state schools in England and independent schools that provide free early years entitlements places.

The NPQEYL is funded by the DfE for early settings registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register as one of the following organisations:

  • a maintained nursery school in England
  • a pre-school class or nursery that’s part of a maintained school in England
  • a pre-school class or nursery that’s part of an independent school in England providing free early years entitlements places
  • a nursery that is registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
  • a childminder and registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register, or with a registered Childminder Agency

Register your interest here to find out if you're eligible.

Extended eligibility.

Organisations now eligible to access scholarships include:

  • independent special schools.
  • virtual schools (Local Authority run organisations that support the education of children in care).
  • hospital schools not already included in other categories of eligible organisations.
  • young offender institutions.

If you do not work in an eligible school, the NPQ in Early Years Leadership costs £1,139 plus VAT.

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?