NEW National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)

We’re pleased to announce that we are partnering with education charity Ambition Institute to deliver the new NPQ in Early Years Leadership.

In 18 months,participants will develop expertise in early years leadership, helping to give all children up to the age of five the best possible start in life.

Why this programme?

Those doing the training will:

  • Gain a NPQ for Early Years Leadership accreditation in 18 months.
  • Access the latest evidence-based learning.
  • Become an expert in early years education.
  • Broaden your network of early years leaders.

Ambition Institute has designed this ground-breaking new NPQ to help you develop your knowledge and understanding of what high-quality, early years education and care looks like.

Ambition’s ‘little and often’ approach uses the latest evidence to help you put your learning into practice in your early years setting.

You’ll train alongside other early years leaders with similar responsibilities, focusing on developing your expertise to tackle the persistent problems you face in your role.

This is a new NPQ developed by the Department for Education. It was developed with an expert advisory group, and early years leaders, academics and experts. The programme sits alongside the NPQs for teachers and school leaders. Each of Ambition’s NPQs share the same common language and framework to help drive improvement across education.

With no project work and minimal time out of your early years’ setting, this NPQ is designed to fit around your busy timetable.

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.

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.

What you’ll learn

On this programme, 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.

How you’ll learn

The programme is delivered through blended learning. This includes a mix of real-time interactive online sessions, face-to-face training, peer-led sessions and self-guided modules which you complete in your own time.


The assessment window starts at the end of the 18-month programme and runs for three months. During this time, participants will be given an eight-day window to sit an ‘open book’ style assessment in which they respond to a short 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.

Ambition Institute will offer a webinar and live clinic in advance of the assessment window to support participants.




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.
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.
  • A childminder with leadership responsibilities.

Please drop Amanda Card a short email with your name, the NPQ you are interested in, and your work email. Amanda will then send you full application details including how to register for funding with the DFE.

Amanda Card E: