Eligibility for our NPQs

This section provides information on the eligibility requirements needed to join our NPQ programmes.

Browse below to find the information you need. We'll update this page throughout the year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my school eligible for the NPQ programmes?

If your school is affiliated to one of our NPQ delivery partners, your school is automatically eligible to take part. Contact the relevant delivery partner for further information.

While NPQs are open to all teachers and leaders in schools in England and Wales, we prioritise supporting schools in England that teach a high number of pupils from low-income backgrounds.

We use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA) measures to identify this. We focus on schools that meet one of these criteria:

  • An IDACI of 40 or greater (40% of pupils live in the three most deprived deciles).
  • An IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6.
  • An IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA score of 5 or 6.
  • An IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6.
  • All schools in the top 30 percentile for pupil premium.

If you’re still not sure whether your school is Teach First eligible, you can email us at TFSLP@teachfirst.org.uk with the name, location and URN number of your school. 

Can I apply for the NPQ if I am based in a grammar, independent or international school?

To apply for our NPQ programmes, you must be working in a school that is:

  • either associated with one of our delivery partners. Our delivery partners will work with all schools in their region. If you are affiliated with one our delivery partners, please do apply with them directly

  • a Teach First partner school or a school that is eligible to be one if you want to do your NPQ directly with us.

At Teach First, our mission is to end educational inequality. We would therefore not directly deliver our NPQs to individuals applying from grammar, independent or international schools, due to our focus and mission as an organisation.

You can find out more about NPQs and other providers who may be able to support your CPD on GOV.UK.  

Can I apply for an NPQ if I am currently not based in a school?

While the design and delivery of our programme is centred on teachers and leaders working in schools, we are aware that individuals not currently working in schools may also wish to join the programme. The reformed NPQs cover a new framework and set of assessment criteria, with fresh content and curriculum, and are an excellent opportunity to build your skills and understanding for future work in schools or to support your work with teachers and leaders.

Our NPQs support teachers and leaders who want to take the next step on their leadership journey and are motivated to make a difference in schools. It is important to bear in mind that there are elements of the course that will be more relevant and accessible if you are able to implement some practice in school and prior experience of working in school will be a consideration at application screening.

You can see further details about the individual programmes available and the associated fees on our webpages.

Our application form for individuals not in school has now gone live, and you can apply here. If you have further queries, please contact us at TFSLP@teachfirst.org.uk.    

Can I apply for an NPQ if I don’t have QTS?

Qualified Teacher Status is not a requirement to be eligible for an NPQ. The DfE requires all those undertaking an NPQ to have a Teacher Reference Number which is a unique reference number. This can be provided by GOV.UK for those that require a reminder or without QTS. Instructions on how to request a Teacher Reference number can be found here

Is there a maximum number of teachers my school can enter for an NPQ in one cycle?

We would recommend that no more than five teachers from the same school should take an NPQ at the same time. In our experience programme members and schools find it more challenging when there are large numbers of middle and senior leaders completing an NPQ at the same time in the same school, for example due to timetabling challenges to attend in-person events. This is a recommendation rather than a strict requirement.   

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