Last reviewed 10 September 2021

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that the Early Years Professional Development Programme (PDP) is to be extended to around 50 new local authorities across England in 2021-2022.

The £10 million extension to the scheme, builds on £20 million already invested in the programme since 2019 as part of the Government’s efforts to narrow the attainment gap in the early years. The programme aims to level up outcomes for children, particularly the most disadvantaged, between the ages of two and four by providing high-quality training and professional development support for staff in nurseries and preschools, or childminders.

The DfE says up to 2,000 early years practitioners and teachers in the new areas will benefit from high-quality online training delivered by experienced trainers which will boost the early language and numeracy skills of up to 32,000 pre-school children across the country.

This second phase of the programme, being rolled out from January 2022, will last for one year and will be delivered by Education Development Trust in partnership with Elklan. The local authorities who will benefit from the additional training support will be confirmed later in the autumn.

The DfE will also be providing online professional development training, developed by the Anna Freud Centre, targeted at Personal, Social and Emotional Development for two to four-year-olds in direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that children’s mental health and wellbeing is prioritised. The training also includes a focus on staff wellbeing and will be rolled out as part of the second phase of PDP from January 2022.

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said:

“We know high-quality early years education can make an enormous difference to the outcomes of our youngest children, not just in their language and numeracy but also their social and emotional development, helping to give them the best possible start to life. This is more important than ever as we build back from the pandemic.”

“This programme will play a central role in equipping our important early years staff with the high-quality training they deserve, so that they can support children at the very beginning of their education, enabling them to build on these skills with confidence as they grow up.”

Early Years Professional Development Programme (PDP).