A guide to free and low-cost CPD and CPD resources - Free for all

The new year is a good time to refresh your skills – so, what good-quality courses are out there which are also free? Hannah Crown has a roundup


This course from the Open Universityon ‘Early years teamwork and leadership’ takes eight hours. Level 1:




This six-week course from Warwick Universityand the British Council covers how very young children best learn English as an additional language while they are still learning their mother tongue, and how children learn best through play. Free access for eight weeks, or upgrade for £42 to get unrestricted access:


Physical development

Ten videos on how to help children from birth to school age have fun with movement, from Sport New Zealand:


Downloadable ‘move with me’ leaflets with physical development tips for parents by age and stage, from Surrey County Council: https://bit.ly/39YCWen

Child development

Harvard University has a wealth of resources including two-minute introductory videos to support understanding of the importance of early interactions for developing the brain:


And one on the science of resilience: https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/inbrief-the-science-of-resilience

Education Scotland’s national improvement hub has a section, Pre-Birth to Three, with videos and transcripts of interviews with key experts covering principles in practice such as observation, assessment and planning, attachment, partnership working and health education:



The Open University runs an ‘Attachment in the early years’ course, lasting six hours. Level 2.1:



Inspiring Scotland last year updated its Loose Parts Play toolkit with a greater focus on skills which help adults to facilitate loose parts play, closer links to curriculum, and more case studies and pages to copy and share:


The Open University has a Level 2, 15-hour course called ‘The role of play in children’s learning’:



Nasen has a variety of downloadable resources:

https://nasen.org.uk/training-and-cpd/early-years.html It also offers free CPD.


Early years TV is a subscription service, covering topics such as personal, social and emotional development, play, neuroscience and observations and leadership. Each Friday evening it offers a free 20- to 40-minute interview with an expert, which is free for a week: www.earlyyears.tv Founder Kathy Brodie also provides access to recordings of interviews and transcripts of speeches by experts at her summits from £10: www.earlyyearssummit.com

Laura Henry runs an Early Years Pedagogy Club, which she describes as a book club for early years practitioners, where each month they get together online to discuss legislation, practice, research and training resources:



If you are in an Opportunity Area, make sure you get the most out of the investment in skills and training in your area. For example, East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Opportunity Area has launched a Recruitment Incentives Grant, allowing early years settings and schools to apply for up to £10,000, which can be spent on incentives for new practitioners such as continuous professional development, including Master’s courses, visits to other settings, driving lessons and childcare vouchers:


Nasen has DfE funding to train settings in SEND in the North West, East Midlands, North East, Yorkshire and Humber and West Midlands regions under the Early Years Send Partnership:


It also runs a free one-day course aimed at managers based on a whole-setting approach to SEND:


Low cost

CREC offers a range of courses including on leadership, two-year-olds, outcomes, data and working with parents for £50 for a day:



Childminder courses:


There is also a‘Free CPD for early years practitioners’ Facebook group.

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