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National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership

Join our information webinar on the 7th July, 3.45pm 

book a place here

Is the NPQEYL programme for me?

The National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL) is primarily aimed at leaders qualified to at least level 3 with a *full and relevant qualification who are, or are aspiring to be:

  • managers of private, voluntary and independent nurseries
  • headteachers of school-based or maintained nurseries
  • childminders with leadership responsibilities

Reception teachers

As a reception teacher with an interest in progression in the Early Years the NPQEYL may also be relevant to you. We would suggest firstly looking at the content framework here. This content framework underpins the NPQEYL and sets out what participants should know and be able to do after completing the course. Providers will use this framework to design their courses.

*‘Full and relevant qualifications’ are defined as qualifications that demonstrate depth and level of learning appropriate to specified outcomes of full early years, childcare or playwork qualifications. The qualification should have valid, reliable assessment and awarding procedures and must include an element of assessed performance evidence.

How does the NPQEYL work?

This 18-month programme consists of a series of seven modules based on the DfE’s Early Years Leadership NPQ framework. Each module cycle features evidence-based online content, a short formative assessment task to support your learning and a face-to-face seminar with a group of peers, facilitated by a local serving school leader.

Programme Modules

  • Culture
  • Child Development, Curriculum & Assessment
  • Additional and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Professional Development
  • Organisational Management
  • Implementation
  • Working in Partnership

The module focused specifically on effective implementation will provide an opportunity to plan a strategic improvement, focused on your context.

What will I learn?

You’ll develop expertise in the knowledge, skills and concepts for leading an Early Years setting. These include best practice around child development and additional and specialist educational needs, as well as culture, organisational management and partnerships you may make as the leader of an Early Years setting.

Our content is informed by the best and most recent evidence and developed with input from serving leaders and subject matter experts.

What are the training commitments?

The programme is designed to fit around your current work commitments. Over the course of the whole programme (spread over five terms), you’ll undertake approximately 77 hours of learning. This includes a combination of online seminars, online learning modules, two face-to-face conferences and a practical implementation cycle of 5 hours in which you plan the implementation of an improvement to your setting.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment process for all NPQs has been refreshed to reduce the workload burden on participants.

To pass the programme, you’ll need to engage with at least 90% of the course and pass one summative assessment. This assessment will take the form of a case study ( given to you) which is a minimum of 2000 words in length and will cover content referred to in the relevant NPQ Content Framework. It will represent a likely situation to be faced by an Early Years Leader and will offer you an opportunity to demonstrate that you can successfully apply your learning from the programme.

You will have an eight-day window to provide a written response of a maximum of 1500 words for the case study (unless adjustments are required on an individual basis) in an ‘open book’ setting.


Scholarship funding for NPQs to continue for:

  • All teachers and leaders employed in state-funded schools (all phases) and state-funded organisations that offer 16 to 19 places in England can access a fully funded NPQ, for a further two years covering academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24

There will be an expansion of the scholarship criteria from Autumn 2022, to 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

Local authority employed supply teachers will also be able to access scholarships.

Applicants from these organisations who feel they should be eligible for funding should contact for more information

Scholarship funding extended for another two years.

NPQ scholarship funding will continue for the next two years, covering academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24.

Targeted Support Fund - is your setting eligible for additional funding?

For small primary, secondary and 16-18 institutions including additional funding for schools of £200 per participant to settings with 1-600 pupils.

Find out more here.

The DfE announced 26.5.22 that the NPQEYL scholarship funding would be extended to Early years practitioners and leaders working in the following settings in England will be eligible for scholarship funding from the DfE for the NPQEYL only:

  • childcare providers registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register, providing childcare on non-domestic premises.
  • childcare providers registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register, providing childcare on domestic premises.
  • childminders registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register.
  • childminders registered with an Ofsted-registered childminder agency, caring for early years children.  
Join an Information webinar to find out more

We are holding a series of NPQ webinars. You can book a place here.



The application window for NPQEYL will officially open on Monday 6th June 2022, however LSSW are happy to receive applications from now, and you are welcome to complete the application process via the link below. 


It is important to collect together the information that you will require prior to starting the application form. The attached application guidance form below will help you to do this.

Once you have completed the guidance document you can proceed to the Application form here -  LSSW NPQ Application Form Autumn 2022

Teacher Reference Number (TRN)

In order to apply for an NPQ you will need to have a TRN. If you already have one but have forgotten it or you do not have a TRN, you will need to contact the DfE for clarification. You are able to request a TRN even if you do not hold QTS. We have attached a guidance sheet below which will take you through this process.