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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, now moving into its third phase and available throughout England.

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. [1], [2] Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential; Department for Education; 2017. 

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 [1].

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 [2].

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 phase two of the EYPDP - Building on Success, we commissioned an evaluation report of the programme to measure it's impact on receipients. The findings highlighted that following the training programme, 99% of practitioners agreed that they were able to apply the new learning to improve their everyday practice and that

  • 98% of practitioners said they felt more confident in supporting children’s development in Speech, Language and Communication
  • 94% of practitioners felt more confident in supporting children’s development in Maths
  • 95% of practitioners felt more confident in supporting children’s development in Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
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
  • OCN London endorsed

I have been working in this sector for well over 20 years and have a Level 5, an Honours Degree and Early Years Professional status. Every session I learned something new and came away with ideas to improve practice for myself, or my team.
Early Years Professional Development Programme participant

Programme Content

Phase three of the Early Years Professional Development Programme will run until the spring of 2025 and be delivered across four cohorts. In this time, we will provide government funded professional development to up to 10,000 early years practitioners in EnglandForming 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 will be available to all 152 local authorities across the country.

As with the first two phases of the programme, the training will support practitioners who work in settings attended by children aged 2-4 and will consist of a blended mix of online e-Learning and facilitated webinars. Practitioners will cover tailored content with modules based on current early years pedagogy covering 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).

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 September 2023. To find out more and register your interest, visit