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NEWS: Applying for the Early Years Leadership NPQ in England

The Department for Education (DfE) announced scholarship funding for practitioners in England to take part in the new NPQ in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL). This NPQ was announced last autumn as part of Government’s package of education recovery support.

PACEY received a number of questions from our members about the qualification and how to apply through the online application system.

We met with the DfE to pass on this feedback and the team made a few updates to make the application system clearer for early years providers. We are keen that as many of you as possible benefit from this funded qualification.

We have outlined some of the most commonly asked questions about the NPQ below.

For more support or if your question is not answered on this page, you can contact the DfE team directly.

Is the NPQ in Early Years Leadership right for me?

The NPQEYL aims 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. You can read the full framework for more information on the course content to see if it is suitable for you.

The NPQ is aimed at leaders qualified to at least Level 3, who are (or are aspiring to be) managers of PVI nurseries, maintained nurseries, or childminders with leadership responsibilities. The DfE recommends that for a childminder to get the best benefit out of the course, you will already employ, or be planning to employ an assistant.


What level is this qualification?

This NPQEYL does not have a qualification level attached to it. It has been developed to complement a practitioner’s existing qualifications and training. 


When do applications close?

You have plenty of time to register for the NPQ. The DfE is accepting applications up until autumn 2022.


Is the NPQEYL suitable for reception teachers?

The NPQEYL may be of interest to Reception teachers who wish to pregress in Early Years leadership. However some of the elements of the qualification are more suited to early years managers, so reception teachers should review the framework closely and consider whether one of the other funded NPQs available  would suit them better: the NPQ in Leading Teacher Development, NPQ in Leading Teaching or NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture.


How do I apply for the NPQEYL?

  1. First, you should register for a Teacher Reference Number (TRN)

You need a TRN in order to sign up for qualifications with the DfE. Despite the name, you don't need to be a teacher to register for a TRN.

If you have never been given a TRN, email the Teaching Regulation Agency at Include your full legal name, date of birth and an email address for the team to reply to. You also need to 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. The team will then set you up with a TRN within a few working days, and you can continue with your application for the NPQ.

  1. Choose a provider that offers the NPQ in Early Years Leadership

The providers listed below are delivering the qualification. The course structure and delivery will vary between providers, so take a look at these before deciding which one best suits you. Remember you can get in touch with the provider for more details and to discuss whether their course is right for you.

  1. Register for an NPQ on the DfE system

Visit the DfE’s online portal to register for the NPQ, once you have chosen your provider. You will register using your TRN and Ofsted URN. You application will then be passed to your chosen training provider, and you will complete the application with them.