Early Years Professional Development Programme: positive impact already seen

Fifteen months from its launch, the Early Years Professional Development Programme has already helped over 380 Early Years practitioners to successfully develop their practice and help young children to learn key language and communication skills. Despite the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, all of the practitioners in the programme to date have gained new qualifications and 98% have reported positive changes in the children in their care.

Our Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP), delivered in partnership with Elkan and funded by Department for Education, was launched in September 2019. It is designed to provide high-quality, evidence-based, and fully funded continued professional development training to Early Years practitioners in England.

The two-year programme is an investment into the training of Early Years practitioners who work with young children, between the ages of two and four, from disadvantaged backgrounds and seeks to improve the quality of Early Years education.

The EYPDP has successfully worked with over 51 Local Authorities in England to date, we are delighted that despite the disruption caused by Covid-19 in 2020, over 380 CPD ‘Champions’ have completed their Level 3 accreditation in Language and Literacy for two-to-four-year-olds.

Feedback on the programme from these participants has been excellent, with very positive comments on the content and delivery, as well as the trainers’ openness to questions. For example, one of our Champions commented:

“The programme trainers have been excellent and approachable from day one. Both trainers have shared their expert knowledge and delivered the sessions in way which has enabled us to embed the information and see how it works.”

More importantly, the Champions were asked about their confidence levels in using the knowledge and skills they had gained so far on the programme to influence their early years settings. We surveyed them on five key areas of practice pre- and post-training, specifically:

  • Interacting with young children to promote their communication
  • Developing children’s understanding of spoken language
  • Developing young children’s vocabulary
  • Developing young children’s ability to talk
  • Talking to parents about their child’s communication.

Across all of these key areas, we saw an increase in participants’ confidence, with the majority reporting high levels of confidence in using these skills after their training, where many had previously reported low or medium confidence. This suggests that they are now more able to embed new skills into their practice, with a positive impact on the development of young children in their settings.

A key measurement of the programme is its impact on the progress of young children that our participants work with, and we have been delighted to see a positive impact reported by the Champions to date. Since undertaking their accreditation in the programme, 68% of our Champions reported better than expected results in their Early Years settings, while a further 30% felt that the results were as expected. Some of our Champions commented:

“We have observed huge improvements in our children's development and had fantastic feedback from parents about their own confidence at home.”

“With having a little boy who has EAL, using the correct strategies throughout this course, I have already seen an improvement with him by using the attention level checklist, Adult-Child Interaction checklist, and the gestures and picture cards we have in place.

The EYPDP is now moving into its second phase, in which these Champion practitioners will pass their new knowledge to their colleagues and create a network to share best practice for elevating the quality of children’s early years development across England. Our programme team looks forward to the next stage in the programme, and the progress of our Champions in the coming year.


In light of the latest national lockdown, we have jointly decided with the DfE to postpone some scheduled training to give back much-needed breathing space to our Early Years Practitioners. We will be working towards restarting training after the Easter holidays 2021. We continue to be committed to the sector and the aims of this ambitious programme. All resources and activities remain available for Champions to continue to access on the online platform, if they wish to do so.

Please get in touch with the team on if you have any questions or concerns.