You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.


Designed for early years leaders qualified to at least Level 3 with full and relevant qualifications working in a wide range of Early Years (EY) settings including Private, Voluntary or Independent (PVI) with leadership responsibilities.


What will you learn?

  • Culture – you will establish and sustain an effective nursery culture by setting the strategic direction within a climate of mutual trust and respect, underpinned by evidence-based practice.
  • Child development, curriculum and assessment – you will learn how to establish and support high quality early education in your nursery, underpinned by formative assessment and tailored to children’s needs.
  • Additional and special educational needs and disabilities – you will learn how to ensure all children experience success, enabling colleagues to identify and meet individual needs.
  • Professional development – you will ensure that colleagues engage in effective and supportive professional development, making use of existing frameworks (including mentoring and coaching) to build upon existing knowledge and skills to improve outcomes for children.
  • Organisational management – you will learn how to ensure   the protection and safety of children and colleagues through the establishment of effective systems and processes, managing human and financial resources and fulfilling all statutory duties to enable a sustainable and thriving nursery community.
  • Implementation – you will learn how to plan, deliver and sustain change successfully within your context by understanding the stages of implementation and aligning it with wider nursery improvement priorities.
  • Working in partnership – you will effectively work in partnership with all stakeholders, including parents carers, external agencies and services.


What are the benefits for you?

Our participants have outlined many benefits to studying for an NPQEYL. Overall, they outline how the programme has given them professional confidence, time and space to reflect on themselves about the kind of leader they want to become and increased knowledge in their chosen area of study.

You will be able to:

  • Develop the skills, confidence and knowledge to implement new professional development initiatives successfully through a supported implementation project.
  • Learn how to promote a culture of a collaborative environment through understanding relational leadership.
  • Support staff through coaching and mentoring skills.
  • Cultivate leadership skills which are responsive to the needs of children, families and adults you work with in your own unique early year’s context.
  • Assess your current knowledge on child development and identify areas in which you need to develop your understanding.
  • Learn about the skills of being a good early year’s leader and understand how leaders adapt to different situations.
  • Access research and materials and have many opportunities to discuss a variety of pedagogical approaches and models with other colleagues.


What are the benefits for your school/nursery?

We know that all children need early years professionals who are committed to their care and education and are confident learners themselves. Our programme has been developed with early years experts to:

  • Create professionally confident early years teachers, practitioners and leaders.
  • Grow the next generation of early years leaders with the skills and knowledge to use the evidence-base for the benefit of their children and families.
  • Retain the best early years professionals who are excellent, collaborative role models for their nurseries and communities.
  • Inspire early years leaders who can harness the power of rich learning environments for all children no matter the current circumstances.


Is this programme for me?

Yes, if you lead or aspire to lead a nursery as a manager of a PVI nursery, a headteacher of a school-based or maintained nursery or a childminder with leadership responsibilities.


How long will it take?

Eighteen months followed by an eight day open book summative case study task.

Summary of programme and learning hours

  • Audit before start of the programme: 1 hour.
  • One day induction conference at the beginning of year one: 4 hours.
  • Four self-directed learning, learning journal and implementation project: 32 hours.
  • Three mentoring check-ins: 3 hours.
  • Peer learning group sessions: 3 hours.
  • Three face-to-face events: 3 hours.

Total programme = 75 hours


When will it start and how much will it cost?

The programme will start in October 2023. There will be an induction conference taking place on two dates in November 2023 which will be confirmed during the application process. Participants are required to attend one of these conferences.

The programme is fully funded for PVI nurseries, school-based nurseries, and childminders with leadership responsibilities.

British International Schools, please contact your preferred International Delivery Partner.


Are scholarships available for this programme?

Full scholarship funding, with no cost to the participant, for the NPQ in Early Years leadership is available for those who meet the following criteria:

  • Are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school-based nursery for children aged 0-5 years.
  • Are, or aspiring to be, a manager of a PVI for children aged 0-5 years.
  • Are, or aspiring to be, a childminder with leadership responsibilities.


Teachers and leaders, employed in:

  • State-funded schools or state-funded 16-19 organisations in England
    This may include nurseries within schools, or local authority nursery schools.

Early Years practitioners and leaders, employed at:

  • Childcare providers registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register, providing childcare on non-domestic premises
    People or organisations providing care for individual children in premises that are not someone’s home. These are usually nurseries, pre-schools, holiday clubs and other group-based settings.
  • Childcare providers registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register, providing childcare on domestic premises.
    Providers where four or more people look after children together in a home that is not the child’s own.

Early Years practitioners and leaders, working as:

  • Childminders, registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
    People who look after one or more children who they are not related to, for payment or reward. The care takes place in a home that is not the child’s own.
  • Childminders, registered with an Ofsted-registered Childminder Agency, caring for early years children
    Childminder Agencies were introduced in September 2014 as an alternative registration option for childminders.



In order to complete NPQEYL, you will be required to:

  • Attend all programme sessions.
  • Complete an implementation project based on your current work.
  • Complete the summative case study style assessment.


To support you in the completion of NPQEYL, our offer includes as standard:

  • An engaging curriculum which blends face-to-face, online and self-study and which exemplifies the DfE standard for teachers’ professional development.
  • A supportive facilitator and peer network.
  • Local cohort groups to reduce travel time.
Dates, times & locations of training sessions

October 2023 – March 2025 (18 months)

February 2024 – July 2025 (18 months)

Face-to-face sessions will be held mainly in Barnsley, Doncaster, Selby and Wakefield.

Click image to enlarge

Apply now

Register for an NPQ with the DfE: Register for a National Professional Qualification ( and choose UCL when prompted during registration. Applications are now open for October 2023.

UCL will send you an application form. Please choose Exchange Teaching Hub as your delivery partner when prompted on the form.

For further information: Download our flier on how to apply (click here) or visit UCL’s website here.