DRET Teaching School Hub

NPQ for Early Years Leadership

NPQ for Early Years Leadership

National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)

DRET Teaching School Hub work in partnership with the National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) as an Associate College to deliver NPQ Programmes. The NIoT are rooted in schools; they know the unpredictability of school life – the day-to-day challenges that teachers face. Their time-efficient NPQs have been drawn up specifically to meet the needs of time-poor, commitment-heavy teachers and leaders. Teachers know best what teachers need – our programme will give you only the information essential to providing the best education possible for your pupils.

Early-years education sets the stage for what will follow at primary and secondary school. If children are to grow into fulfilled, successful adults, it is absolutely vital that they receive the best, most nurturing early-years education possible.

Our NPQEYL is designed to help early-years leaders plan and deliver a high-quality curriculum to support child development. You will have access to cutting-edge research, helping you to build a teaching culture based on what works.

It will cover language and literacy approaches, personal, social and emotional development and behaviour management. And, in a sector where there is rarely enough cash to go around, you will learn to prioritise, allocate and manage resources for long-term sustainability.

The focus, always, is on being able to provide the children in your care with the education, encouragement and support – and so the future – they deserve.



  • Essential knowledge: There is no fluff – the programme was developed by early-years professionals, so that every minute spent working towards an NPQEYL will enable you to make a greater impact in your job.
  • Research-informed practice: You’ll have access to the latest and best evidence of what works in education, but will also be supported in turning it into real, hands-on practice.
  • The best for all children: This course will enable you to devise an ambitious curriculum that will support child development and allow all the children in your care to flourish.
  • Stretching a budget: You’ll learn about budgeting, funding and marketing, so that you can ensure your resources go as far as possible.
  • Community of educators: You’ll be part of a diverse community of educators, all learning from one another during the course – and potentially afterwards, too.
  • Fulfilment: The better and more knowledgeable you are at your job, the more enjoyable and exciting you will find it – and that enthusiasm will be passed on to your pupils.



What you’ll learn:

  • How to establish and sustain your setting’s strategic direction
  • How to develop an evidence-based teaching culture
  • How to plan and deliver a high-quality, nurturing curriculum, which supports child development and helps all children to flourish
  • How to implement communication, language and literacy approaches to support children’s learning
  • How to manage children’s behaviour effectively, and to support their personal, social and emotional learning, so that they feel cared for and fulfilled
  • How to ensure that all leaders, practitioners and teachers can identify any additional needs early on, and have the necessary knowledge to make appropriate referrals
  • How to prioritise, allocate and manage resources effectively, in order to ensure sustainability across all settings
  • Rigorous approaches to identifying, managing and mitigating risk
How you’ll learn:

The programme is made up of eight modules, studied over 18 months. Each module contains a combination of self-study units, locally delivered in-person sessions, online masterclasses delivered by specialists, coaching and virtual visits to a school.

Time commitment:

 There are three or four scheduled events every half term, some online and some in-person. There are also around six hours of self study.


In order to receive NPQEYL accreditation, participants will need to complete the programme and achieve a pass mark in a written, ‘open book’ style, structured assessment of up to 2,000 words.

We will support participants with writing clinics before they embark on gaining their accreditation.

The assessment itself takes place over an eight-day window. There are two assessment windows per year and participants have two opportunities to take part.  


Places are fully funded by the DfE for leaders employed in a maintained nursery or preschool class that forms part of a school in England, or in a nursery registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register. Fully funded places are also available for childminders registered with Ofsted or with a registered childminder agency and working with early-years children. There will be no cost to the participant.

You can study towards more than one NPQ, but will only be eligible for funding for each NPQ once. If you withdraw from or fail your course, you will not be funded again for the same NPQ.


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. 

Apply for the NPQEYL here