National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership

From autumn 2022, the Department for Education is introducing the National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL).

What is the National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)?

The NPQEYL is a professional development course, which has been designed with leaders and practitioners in mind, using the latest and best available evidence and collective wisdom of the profession to ensure every child in every setting gets the best start in life.  It is designed to support early years leaders to develop expertise in leading high-quality education and care, as well as in effective staff and organisational management.

Is this the right qualification for you?

If you are, or want to be, a manager of a Private, Voluntary and Independent nursery, headteacher of a school-based or maintained nursery, or a childminder with leadership responsibilities, this course will provide you with training on culture, child development, curriculum and assessment, Additional and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), professional development, organisational management, implementation and working in partnership.

Read the full Early Years Leadership framework here.

Do I get a full and relevant qualification at the end of the course?

The NPQEYL is a high-quality CPD offer, and as with other NPQs, does not appear on Ofqual’s register of regulated qualifications. It does not have a qualification level attached to it, and instead it is envisaged that the NPQEYL will complement existing early years qualifications that leaders already hold.

What benefits will the course bring to you and your setting?

Leaders of early years settings need to have expertise across a number of areas. The NPQEYL will help you develop essential knowledge and skills that underpin successful leadership of a high-quality nursery, including how to:

  • Establish an effective culture across the nursery
  • Deliver a high-quality and ambitious curriculum that meets the needs of all your learners and ensures all children experience success
  • Support staff to engage in effective professional development
  • Manage resources effectively
  • Work successfully with parents, services and other early years settings

Entry requirements

You should hold at least a full and approved level 3 early years qualification.  You should be, or should aspire to be one of the following:

  • A manager of a private, voluntary or independent nursery
  • A headteacher of a school-based or maintained nursery
  • A childminder with leadership responsibilities

How is the course delivered?

The NPQEYL is offered through 6 learning providers, who design their course content in alignment with the NPQEYL framework. The course is designed to be completed flexibly around existing commitments and is likely to be delivered using a mix of face-to-face, online, and self-study sessions.

Information about the learning providers is available on GOV.UK, and you should contact your chosen provider to discuss their delivery methods.

How is the course assessed?

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

The final assessment will present a work-based situation the participant might expect to face as an early years leader. You will have eight days to provide a 1500 - 2500 word written response in an ‘open book’ setting.

How much does it cost?

The Department is offering funded training scholarships to cover the cost of the course for academic years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024.  Full details of organisations eligible for these scholarships for the NPQEYL is available on GOV.UK.  Lead providers should assess the suitability of early years participants for this NPQ.

If your setting is not eligible for the scholarship funding, there is an option to pay for the NPQEYL.  Please contact the course providers directly for further information.

When does the NPQEYL start?

Two cohorts are being offered in 2022-2023, the first in the autumn and the second in the new year.  Applications are now open.

How do I apply?

  1. Visit National professional qualifications (NPQs) - GOV.UK ( and choose a provider.
  2. Register for a teacher reference number (TRN) with the Teaching Regulation Agency by emailing [email protected].Include your full legal name, date of birth and attach a scanned copy or photo of one of the following types of ID: passport, driving license (full or provisional), certificate of residence, birth certificate.
  3. You must register with the Department to access scholarship funding where applicable and to obtain a certificate upon completion of their training.Register here: Register for a National Professional Qualification (’ll need your TRN and your Ofsted URN to register.


June 2022