Wraparound support for the apprentice and employer

Employer incentive of up to £4,000 - for a limited period

Levy-funded, which we can help you access

“The thing that stood out most for me is just how organised it all is, everything that I need to find is easily accessible. Furthermore, after completing tasks, the quality of the responses from the tutors has been excellent, the whole package is really well organised.”
Ben Wright, Apprenticeship Candidate

The Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner (EYLP) Apprenticeship is ideal for highly skilled professionals who take an operational lead for the care, learning and development of all young children within their care.  A Lead Practitioner can adapt to individual needs providing inclusive and holistic provision. The main aim of the role is to be a proactive and influential practitioner, working directly with children, skilfully leading day-to-day practice at an operational level.  

A Lead Practitioner will usually report directly to the head of the setting (The Manager, The Leader, The Director). 

This Level 5 Apprenticeship is suitable for someone already working in an early years childcare or education setting who is looking to lead, or someone already leading on the operational aspects of this provision.  They are typically responsible for leading other practitioners.  As active practitioners they are effective role models of play-based learning, supporting others to develop their own practice and will be responsible for supporting the quality of learning and development across their setting.  

Early Years Lead Practitioners work with and care for children from birth to 8 years. They play a massive role in supporting children to have the best start to their education. Research shows disadvantaged children are four months behind at age 5, 10 months behind by the age of 11, and 19 months behind when they reach 16. As an Early Years Lead Practitioner, you will personally help to close the gap and increase the life chances of the children you work with. 

Why choose us?

Supporting employers Supporting apprentices
We recognise how important it is that you find apprentices who are the best fit for your early years setting, that they have ongoing support and that you know how they are progressing at every step. By joining the Best Practice Network apprentice programme, the apprentice can be assured that they will be supported every step of the way to succeed, both within the programme and in their career. 



What are the benefits?

Early Years Lead Practitioner apprentices learn how to:

      • Support and promote children’s early education and development
      • Be responsible for supporting the quality of learning and development in their setting
      • Engage with sector developments both locally and nationally
      • Skilfully lead day-to-day practice at an operational level
      • Safeguard and promote the health, safety and welfare of children
      • Work in partnership with the key person, colleagues, parents and/or carers or other professionals
      • And you’re entitled to an NUS student discount card

How is the programme delivered?

This programme has monthly start dates – it does not run as per the typical academic year. Work is submitted using Bud, the cutting-edge online platform, which is easy to use and includes login access for employers to keep track of their apprentice’s progress.

Delivery includes:

  • Monthly online training events to deliver Knowledge elements
  • Half termly review meetings with Apprenticeship Tutor
  • Regular Observations with Apprenticeship Tutor/mentor to evidence skills
  • Witness statements to evidence behaviours

Our delivery model is a blended learning model consisting of the following components:

Am I eligible?

Apprentices must have:

  • Support from your employer and levy account holder
  • GCSE’s in English and Maths at Grade C (4) or above or able to achieve Level 2 English and Maths whilst on programme
  • Successful interview
  • Must have held a residency in the UK for the last three years
  • Funding
  • Level 3 Early Years Educator or Equivalent Qualifications / Experience 

How do I access the funding?

Employer Incentive

An employer incentive payment of £3,000 is available for new apprentices, with an additional £1,000 for candidates aged 16 to 18 or up to 24 if you have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP).

Any employers who hired a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021, can still apply for the incentive until 30 November 2021 and will receive £3,000 per new hire, regardless of the apprentice’s age. 

You will also be able to apply for the same incentive payment for apprentices with an employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022 once applications open in January 2022.

This is on top of the £1,000 payment already provided for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, meaning that some employers could receive £4,000 in total.

Apprenticeship Funding

The levy is paid by large employers with a wage bill of over £3 million. These employers pay 0.5% of their total annual pay bill into the levy. Most nurseries state-maintained schools and multi-academy trusts pay into the levy and all settings and schools can access the levy to fund apprenticeship training. Dependent on the individual setting or school, levy funding can be accessed through their trust, their local authority, or the ESFA via the co-investment scheme. 

 Best Practice Network provides support to candidates and their employers in order to access this funding. 

 The level of funding depends on each candidate’s learning needs, with a maximum allocation of £8,000 to cover the cost of the apprenticeship.    

  • Levy-paying employers

Levy accounts are linked to the employers PAYE numbers so please check who is managing your Apprenticeships Service Account. This could be your Local Authority Apprenticeships Team, your business manager or HR department. They will need to add Best Practice Network as a provider and add any apprentices to the AS Account. Your account will automatically go into co-investment if you do not have enough apprenticeship funds to pay for training and assessment.

  • Employers that do not pay the levy

If your organisation does not pay the levy, then it always co-invests with the government. The maximum amount your organisation will pay for apprenticeship training is 5% of the total cost. 

The apprentice must be paid a lawful wage and they cannot contribute towards the cost of the apprenticeship. 


Early Years Lead Practitioner Level 5