Eligible working families whose children will be aged between 9 and 23 months old on 31 August can now apply to receive 15 hours childcare starting from September 2024.

Find out more information on the Childcare Choices website

Early Years

Early Year Qualifications

Early Years Qualifications

Employing and deploying staff

All early years providers working with children from birth to 5 years old must follow the regulations set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Required qualifications

Providers must make sure staff have approved level qualifications to count in the ratio.

Checking qualifications

Use the Gov.UK Check early years qualifications checker.

Overseas qualifications

Find out how to check overseas qualifications to count in the ratios at level 3 with comparable GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above.


The National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL) is designed for Early Years Leaders (holding a Full and Relevant level) who are aspiring to be:

  • Managers of private, voluntary & independent nurseries
  • Headteachers of school-based or maintained nurseries
  • Childminders with leadership responsibilities registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register or part of a childminding agency.

Following completion of the NPQEYL, participants will have covered the following seven areas:

  • Additional and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
  • Child Development, Curriculum and Assessment
  • Culture
  • Implementation
  • Organisational Management
  • Professional Developme
  • Working in Partnership

The NPQEYL full framework can be found here

When do applications close?

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 progress 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 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 qts.enquiries@education.gov.uk. 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 look at these before deciding which one best suit you. Remember you can get in touch with the provider for more details and to discuss whether their course is right for you. An up-to-date list of training providers can be found by visiting the below link.


  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.

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