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National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)

NPQEYL - Early Years Leadership

NPQEYL: Early Years Leadership has been developed to underpin and increase early years-specific pedagogical leadership in early years settings, strengthen staff pedagogy, and support children whose development has been impacted by the pandemic. 

The qualification will investigate early education and child development, with a focus on communication, language, and physical development as well as personal, social and emotional growth, in line with the EYSF reforms. The setting of strategic direction and organisational culture, as well as pedagogical leadership, including evidence-based learning will also be explored.  

NPQ for Early Years Leadership is for 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

The NPQ in Early Years Leadership, will support leaders to develop expertise in leading high-quality education and care, as well as in effective staff and organisational management, working with and through their colleagues so that every child gets the best start in life. 


All NPQs are taught through a blended balance of online individual learning, online seminars and face-to-face meetings and a simplified end-of-course assessment. There are two cohorts annually, starting in Autumn and Spring.

This programme last for 18 months.


The assessment process has been refreshed to reduce the workload burden on teachers while still providing an opportunity for them to apply their knowledge.

To pass an NPQ, participants will need to engage with at least 90% of the course and complete a final assessment.


Scholarship funding to cover the full NPQ course cost will be available to teachers and leaders from: 

  • the 50% of schools with the highest proportion of students who attract pupil premium funding 
  • 16 to 19 educational settings identified as having high disadvantage 

For the early years leadership NPQ, highly disadvantaged early years settings will also be eligible.    

Please see the 'NPQ Scholarship Funding for Autumn 2024' tab.

Further information was released by the DfE 26/05/22 and can be read here