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Early Years Professional Development programme

Improving practice to support children's development in the early years


The period from birth to the age of five offers a unique opportunity to ensure children develop the cognitive, social and emotional foundations for success in both school and later life. High-quality early years provision can significantly benefit children’s later outcomes, especially among disadvantaged groups. 

Our Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP) supports early years practitioners working with children in pre-Reception settings, helping them to improve their practice and children’s outcomes in communication and language, mathematics and PSED (personal, social and emotional development). 

In October 2022, we were delighted to be awarded the DfE's contract to continue to deliver the EYPDP, to a further 10,000 early years practitioners, spread across four cohorts, over a two year period.

Key points

Evidence increasingly suggests that specialised training for Early Years staff is a more promising way of raising the quality of Early Years provision than either increasing the number of hours children attend, or improving the physical environment. These practitioners have a critically important role in enabling the best possible outcomes for the children they work with, helping them to overcome the challenges and circumstances which may otherwise hold them back.

Register here

Why EDT?

Education Development Trust has worked with the early years sector for several years, reaching many young children across the UK through our programmes. We know that ensuring children are given the right development support from an early age can make a real difference.  

Development gaps and ‘word gaps’ can emerge early in a child’s life, and their effects can be felt throughout their school lives – and even into adulthood. For instance, an average of 40% of the development gap between disadvantaged 16-year-olds and their peers had already emerged by the time they were five years old.

By the age of just three, disadvantaged children are, on average, almost a year and a half behind their peers in their language development. Children who are behind in language development at the age of five, are six times less likely to reach expected standards in English by the age of eleven, and are eleven times less likely to reach these standards in mathematics.

Early Years education is a key area for us, not least because Early Years interventions for less advantaged children are hugely important to promoting their success later in their education, ultimately leading to a better life in a number of ways.

We provide support for Early Years practitioners in our work with expert professional development to help them to build and refine their skills.

Following the completion of Cohort 1 of the EYPDP which finished in November 2023, we carried out an evaluation report of the programme to measure it's impact on recipients. The findings highlighted that following the training programme, 90% of practitioners agreed that they would recommend the programme to others.

  • 97% of practitioners said they felt more confident in supporting children’s development in Comunication and Language, Early Mathematics and PSED
  • 97% of practitioners said they felt more knowledgeable across all three areas of content covered on the course.
  • 93% said they felt more motivated to continue working as an early years practitioner after completing the programme.
Benefits of this programme

  • Government funded professional development for eligible early years practitioners in England
  • Flexible blended learning programme, delivered over an 8 month period
  • Content written by industry experts covering Communication and Language, Early Mathematics and PSED
  • Excellent feedback from previous participants
  • Endorsed by OCN London

The programme has had a great impact on my provision, not only did it refresh previous knowledge but also taught me so much more. It gave me new ideas, and a new found enthusiasm for teaching certain areas of the EYFS. I have found the provision audits incredibly helpful, and made changes to my setting accordingly to accommodate the new things I have learned. The children have really benefited from this, and I have found good progress made in mathematics and communication and language.
Charlotte, Childminder, Northumberland

Programme Content

Forming part of the Government’s Early Years Recovery package to improve outcomes for those most affected by the pandemic, through driving up quality in early years education, the EYPDP is available to up to 10,000 early years practitioners across all 152 local authorities in England. It is being delivered across four cohorts until December 2024


As with the first two phases of the programme, the training supports practitioners who work in settings attended by children aged between two and four andconsists of a blended mix of online e-Learning and facilitated webinars. During their time on the programme, practitioners cover three core modules with content created by industry specialists including Communication and Language (developed in partnership with Speech and Language UK), Early Mathematics (developed in partnership with early years maths experts Dr Sue Gifford and Dr Catherine Gripton) and PSED (developed in partnership with the Anna Freud Centre).

Watch a video here of practitioners from the Pines Preschool talking about their experience of the EYPDP:

Join our webinars

We are delighted to be holding a series of webinars for Setting Managers, early years practitioners and childminders to find out more about the Early Years Professional Development Programme.

Join content specialists from the programme who will be providing a summary of what the programme is, what it covers and how it works. Ask any questions you may have and hear from Early Years Education Specialist Jan Dubiel who will be sharing how he thinks this programme supports early years practitioners in England with their CPD.

Register for a webinar

Register your interest

We are currently registering practitioners to begin learning in March 2024. To find out more and register your interest, visit