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Training, qualifications, support and guidance

Access free workforce training, qualifications, support and guidance for early years practitioners.

For practitioners in the early stages of their career

Early years child development training

Training for practitioners looking to build knowledge and understanding of child development and get practical tips and ideas to use in settings.

This online self-study training:

  • includes written content, videos, knowledge checks, a learning log and practical ‘in your setting’ prompts
  • can be completed in an order that suits you
  • will be up to 18 hours long, completed at a pace and time that suits you
  • is free to access
  • is open to all

The course content includes:

  • Module 1: Understanding child development and the EYFS
  • Module 2: Understanding brain development and how children learn
  • Module 3: Personal, social and emotional development
  • Module 4: Supporting language development in the early years
  • Module 5: Supporting physical development in the early years
  • Module 6: Mathematics
  • Module 7: Effective curriculum and assessment
  • A further module to follow on supporting individual differences and needs

Register and complete the course online.

For level 3 qualified practitioners

Professional development programme phase 3 (PDP3)

Training for practitioners looking to build on existing knowledge of child development in children aged 2 to 4.

The programme is a mix of self-study learning and live online webinars.

The programme:

  • takes 60 hours over 8 months
  • is free to access
  • includes support from your local authority with backfill costs for your setting

The programme content includes:

  • early communication and language
  • early mathematics
  • personal, social and emotional development (PSED)

The final cohort of trainees for the PDP3 has been successfully recruited and we are no longer accepting expressions of interest. To learn more about the programme please visit the programme website.

Level 3 Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) qualification

A level 3 qualification for early years SENCOs or staff due to take up the role of early years SENCO.

The qualification is a mix of self-study learning and live online webinars.

The programme:

  • takes 34 hours over a 4-month period
  • is free to access
  • is for SENCOs working in group-based and childminder settings, and for those due to take up the role of SENCO in one of these types of settings
  • the training is available nationally, with targeting in disadvantaged areas

The course content includes:

  • the role and responsibilities of the SENCO in early years (including guidance, partnership and inclusion)
  • understanding the principles, statutory guidance and legislation underpinning SEND in the early years
  • understanding early identification and early action
  • working with parents, carers and other professionals
  • resources, including funding, available to support children with SEND
  • strategies and techniques for supporting children and families

“I have been working as a level 3 early years practitioner for 18 years with 11 years of them as a childminder. This has been the most in depth SEND course I have ever been on. I love the deeper knowledge, I am really enjoying the course content and how much I am gaining as a provider.”

Leeane

The application window for the Level 3 SENCO qualification has now closed. To learn more about the programme please visit the programme website, Best Practice Network.

Early years child development training

Training for practitioners looking to refresh foundational knowledge of child development and get practical tips and ideas to use in settings.

This online self-study training:

  • includes written content, videos, knowledge checks, a learning log and practical ‘in your setting’ prompts
  • can be completed in an order that suits you
  • will be up to 18 hours long, completed at a pace and time that suits you
  • is free to access
  • is open to all

The course content includes:

  • Module 1: Understanding child development and the EYFS
  • Module 2: Understanding brain development and how children learn
  • Module 3: Personal, social and emotional development
  • Module 4: Supporting language development in the early years
  • Module 5: Supporting physical development in the early years
  • Module 6: Mathematics
  • Module 7: Effective curriculum and assessment
  • A further module to follow on supporting individual differences and needs

Register and complete the course online.

For setting leaders, aspiring leaders or childminders

National professional qualification in early years leadership

Training for early years leaders or aspiring leaders looking to develop their expertise in leading high-quality education and care, as well as effective staff and organisational management.

The programme is a mix of self-study learning, face to face and live online sessions.

The programme:

  • takes a few hours a week over 18 months
  • was free to access for most participants who started the programme by February 2024

The course content includes:

  • culture
  • child development, curriculum and assessment
  • additional and special educational needs and disabilities
  • professional development
  • organisational management
  • implementation
  • working in partnership

“The national professional qualification in early years leadership is giving me the chance to rethink how we do things, renewing my knowledge and skills, putting what I’ve learned into practice and helping me become a stronger leader, which will benefit the setting.”

Vicki

The next NPQEYL cohort will run in October 2024 and registration for NPQs are expected to open in early summer 2024. Find out more about the Early years leadership NPQ.

The Experts and Mentors and Childminder Mentor Programme

This programme provides setting leaders with access to an early years expert to help develop leadership capabilities and mentor support for their practitioners.

It is delivered through face to face support for leaders and virtual mentoring for practitioners.

The programme:

  • runs for one term
  • involves an expert providing up to 3 days support to setting leaders
  • a mentor providing up to 6 hours of support per setting for practitioners
  • is free to access
  • the Childminder Mentor Programme provides childminders with access to an experienced childminder for up to 4 days of support

The support can include:

  • leadership support
  • coaching for leaders
  • mentoring for practitioners
  • whole-setting support, depending on settings’ priorities and needs
  • support to complete and maximise the impact of other elements of the early years education recovery programme your setting is accessing

“Our expert was brilliant at working with us and leading us to better provision giving us a clear focus of how the curriculum should look. Improvements are already being made and our expert always coached us and advised us without making us feel like we were getting things completely wrong.”

Laura

The application window for new registrations to the Experts and Mentors and Childminder Mentor programmes has now closed. Support for settings already registered with the programme will continue until July 2024.

Settings can find further information on the Pen Green website.

Childminders can find further information through Coram Hempsall’s website.

Early years initial teacher training

Training leading to Early Years Teacher Status (L6) for staff who are graduates in other disciplines.

The programme involves a mix of learning at university (in person or remote, depending on the provider’s delivery set-up) and a placement in a setting.

The training:

  • takes between 3 months to a year to complete depending on the selected route
  • funding is available for the graduate entry and graduate employment based routes, in addition to bursaries and employer incentives

Content covered:

  • setting high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge all children
  • promoting good progress and outcomes by children
  • understanding early learning and EYFS
  • planning education and care taking account of the needs of all children
  • adapting education and care to respond to the strengths and needs of all children
  • making accurate and productive use of assessment
  • safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and providing a safe learning environment

Find an accredited provider of Early years initial teacher training.

Early years child development training

Content for early years leaders or managers looking to support staff through directly delivering evidence-based training on child development within their setting.

This online self-study training:

  • includes written content, videos, knowledge checks, a learning log and practical ‘in your setting’ prompts
  • can be completed in an order that suits you
  • will be up to 18 hours long, completed at a pace and time that suits you
  • is free to access
  • is open to all

The course content includes:

  • Module 1: Understanding child development and the EYFS
  • Module 2: Understanding brain development and how children learn
  • Module 3: Personal, social and emotional development
  • Module 4: Supporting language development in the early years
  • Module 5: Supporting physical development in the early years
  • Module 7: Effective curriculum and assessment
  • A further module to follow on supporting individual differences and needs

Register and complete the course online.

For support at all career stages

Stronger Practice Hubs

There are 18 Stronger Practice Hubs across England which act as a central contact point offering advice and support to early years settings and practitioners including childminders.

The programme:

  • is free to access
  • is available to all early years settings and childminders

Hubs can offer support including:

  • acting as a point of contact for bespoke advice and signposting to other funded support including the programmes listed on this page
  • sharing information and advice on evidence-based approaches – for example, through newsletters, blogs and social media
  • providing access to a network of local settings to share knowledge and effective practice
  • working with the Education Endowment Foundation to select evidence-based programmes to fund and make available to settings

Find your local Stronger Practice Hub.

The Experts and Mentors and Childminder Mentor Programme

This programme provides setting leaders with access to an early years expert to help develop leadership capabilities and mentor support for their practitioners.

It is delivered through face to face support for leaders and virtual mentoring for practitioners.

The programme:

  • runs for one term
  • involves an expert providing up to 3 days support to setting leaders
  • a mentor providing up to 6 hours of support per setting for practitioners
  • is free to access
  • the Childminder Mentor Programme provides childminders with access to an experienced childminder for up to 4 days of support

The support can include:

  • leadership support
  • coaching for leaders
  • mentoring for practitioners
  • whole-setting support, depending on settings’ priorities and needs
  • support to complete and maximise the impact of other elements of the early years education recovery programme your setting is accessing

“Our expert was brilliant at working with us and leading us to better provision giving us a clear focus of how the curriculum should look. Improvements are already being made and our expert always coached us and advised us without making us feel like we were getting things completely wrong.”

Laura

The application window for new registrations to the Experts and Mentors and Childminder Mentor programmes has now closed. Support for settings already registered with the programme will continue until July 2024.

Settings can find further information on the Pen Green website.

Childminders can find further information through Coram Hempsall’s website.