National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)

School leaders standing together

Leadership matters. Make a real impact with our NPQs.

Applications for our February cohort have now closed.

  • Broaden and deepen expertise in your specialist area.
  • High-quality, evidence-led training designed by experts.
  • Flexible training that fits around your schedule and prior knowledge.
  • Join a passionate network striving for educational equality.
  • Free one-to-one support and coaching.
  • DfE scholarship funding available to all state school teachers and leaders.
School leaders standing together

Fulfil your potential. Invest in an NPQ today.

NPQs

What are NPQs?

National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are the most widely recognised qualifications in the education sector for current and aspiring leaders.

Accredited by the Department for Education (DfE), NPQs provide training and support for teachers and leaders at all levels. From those who want to develop expertise in high-quality practice, such as behaviour management, to those leading multiple schools across trusts. 

We’re delighted to be one of a select group of national providers to design, deliver and assess the NPQs in collaboration with our delivery partners – teaching school hubs and multi-academy trusts working with us to deliver the NPQs. Based across the country, our delivery partners are school-led experts in teacher and leadership training and development. You will complete your Teach First NPQ with us or one of our delivery partners – we’ll let you know when you apply.

View brochure

Frequently asked questions

What types of NPQs are there?

Broaden your expertise 

There are five specialist NPQs for teachers and leaders who want to broaden their expertise in one of the following areas:

Senior leadership and beyond 

For those looking to deepen their knowledge in, or progress into senior leadership and beyond, the following NPQs build foundational knowledge to rapidly progress your setting’s or trust’s key improvement priorities – all while creating and embedding a culture that allows your staff and children to thrive:

Please see the 'Our programmes' tab on this page for more detail on each NPQ.

What can NPQs do for your setting?

Our NPQs support teachers and other professionals who want to take the next step on their leadership journey and are motivated to make a difference in their setting.

Programme members will develop core knowledge and skills to prepare them for the long-term, as well as gaining the tools, examples and practice to start making a positive impact in their setting straight away. For example NPQ in Leading Literacy programme members will learn how to lead and develop an improvement strategy for literacy across the school.

How is Teach First delivering NPQs?

Building on our existing expertise in providing high-quality leadership training, our programmes are delivered across the country with our delivery partners.

If your setting is affiliated to one of our delivery partners, you’ll be able to do your Teach First NPQ with them. We’ll let you know at the point of application if this is the case. If you’re  not affiliated to one of our delivery partners, you can apply to and complete your NPQ directly with us.

Our delivery partners (full list)

Become a Teach First delivery partner (for teaching school hubs and mutli-academy trusts).

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

If you can’t find the information you need or you’d like to be kept updated about our NPQ programmes, please contact us.

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Webinar: Unlock your talent as a leader with Teach First's NPQs

Funded by Department for Education

Schools are

10x more likely

to improve with effective leadership

Teachers talking
I’m so glad I did my NPQ with Teach First. Practical, research informed and manageable… The new NPQs look even better!
James Bennett,
Assistant Head of Year at Ark Academy
The NPQ has given me the space to recognise how I can develop, and the ability and the drive to want to do it as well.
Meg Vernon,
Head of PSHE and Social Sciences, Bedford Academy

Benefits

Broaden and deepen expertise in your specialist area

Boost your career with a highly respected NPQ. We’re one of the few organisations accredited to provide these nationally.

Our NPQs provide the opportunity to refresh and fill gaps in knowledge, allowing for different levels of prior experience. Each programme focuses on both the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ - we’ve designed the learning to be relevant and practical through the use of real-life examples, case studies and best practice from a range of contexts specific to your role and level.

High-quality, evidence-led training designed by education experts and school leaders

Our leadership training is built around the latest research and best practice to make a real, long-term impact.

All our NPQs are focused on effective implementation. They’re designed with input from our delivery partners, subject and phase experts, and our alumni community to bring concrete school experience to our content. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, our NPQs offer the specialist knowledge and expertise you need to make a real difference in your setting. 

Strengthen leadership and culture in your setting

Our NPQs build leadership skills and capacity by equipping programme members to lead diverse and inclusive schools and educational settings. This is embedded across the programme learning, from developing staff to how you lead your curriculum.

We’ll help you identify how to support your pupils and staff so that you can tackle improvement priorities even more effectively. Each stage of our programmes is tailored to your setting’s individual needs and designed to address your daily challenges.

Flexible training that fits around your schedule and prior knowledge

Most of the NPQ learning opportunities can be accessed online – meaning you can fit the programme around your schedule at a pace that suits you. You’ll also attend our live and in-person learning in small groups, where you’ll consolidate your knowledge, prepare for the next stages and connect with other leaders on your programme. Our online resources and tools will help you reflect on and track your leadership development, all while tackling the issues impacting your setting. 

This learning approach automatically tailors the curriculum to each programme member’s starting point, current context and workload, and ensures access to all. We’ll provide the opportunity to 'have a go' at applying learning throughout the programme in a manageable, bitesize way.

DfE funding and free one-to-one support for schools most in need

Full DfE funding, with no cost to the participant, is available across the suite of NPQs for state schools and other organisations that meet the eligibility criteria. Full details on available funding can be found in the ‘Cost’ tab of each individual programme page. 

What’s more, if you work in a school serving deprived communities, you may be eligible for Teach First’s free one-to-one support which runs alongside your NPQ of choice. 

You’ll be supported by an experienced former school leader who will coach and guide you throughout your NPQ. You will be considered for this additional support when you apply for your programme either via Teach First or your delivery partner.

Join a passionate network striving for educational equality

Share experiences with other education leaders, learn how they’ve faced similar challenges and build a professional network that will support you throughout your career.

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

The support on the programme is fantastic and it works around our school schedule. There’s flexibility and a really good working understanding.
Claudenia Williams,
Senior Leader programme member

In an external review, we were awarded

10/10

for both the NPQ programme design and support of our programme members.

Student on work experience

Impact

Why does supporting school leadership matter?

Key facts:

  • 90% of teachers say leadership development opportunities encourage them to stay in a school.
  • Around 850,000 young people are not benefiting from good or outstanding leadership, according to Ofsted.
  • Effective leadership makes schools ten times more likely to improve at their next Ofsted inspection.

Why Teach First?

We’ve got a strong and proven track record in leadership development:

  • For 20 years we've trained and developed more than 19,000 teachers and leaders, including 10,000 trainees on our teacher Training Programme, rated outstanding by Ofsted.
  • 100% of headteachers were satisfied with our Leading Together programme (which works with a school’s senior leadership team).
  • Right now, Teach First is working with over 1,000 school leaders across the country, developing their expertise and impact in challenging environments.

Why choose a Teach First NPQ? 

We’ve been an accredited NPQ provider for several years with excellent feedback from programme members:

  • Our NPQ programmes scored great Ofsted results.
  • 90% of our NPQ alumni said they can now implement improvements in their school.
  • We were awarded 10/10 in an external review by Tribal, the DfE appointed quality assurance body of our NPQs for both the programme design and support of our programme members. 
  • 91% of our programme members rated their one-to-one support from us as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.   
  • 97% of surveyed Teach First programme members were satisfied with their NPQ. 
  • 90% felt the NPQ conferences were effective, or very effective, at building their knowledge and equipping them to be a school leader. 
  • 83% felt the NPQ had prepared them to take on a position of greater responsibility. 
  • 80% said the NPQ had equipped them to better meet the demands of their current role.

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

I’ve chosen to do my NPQH with Teach First because I looked round at a great number of providers and I wanted to know that I was getting involved with an organisation that shared my ideals.
Alex Pett,
Headship programme member

90% of our NPQ alumni

said they can now implement improvements in their school.

Teacher writing on whiteboard at front of class

Eligibility

Is my school or organisation eligible?

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

Our criteria are agreed with the Department for Education (DfE) and used to identify schools that will benefit most from working with us. We use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Pupil Premium (PP) information for each school to guide us. 

We work with schools that are ranked in the top 70% most deprived areas (based on IDACI) and where the proportion of pupils eligible for pupil premium is in the top 50% of all state-funded schools. 

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.

If you’re not sure whether your school is eligible, or if you think your school would benefit from our support but doesn’t match the standard eligibility criteria above, please contact us.

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

two teachers talk and walk down corridor

Our programmes

Whatever stage you’re at on your leadership journey, our range of NPQs can offer the knowledge and expertise you need to make a real difference in your setting.

NPQ in Leading Teaching (NPQLT)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including by subject and phase (with content such as how to sequence a curriculum and plan effective assessment)
  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice
  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and focus

Who's it for?

Teachers and leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject or year. For example, head of subject, key stage head or head of department.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture (NPQLBC)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including behaviour, school culture and developing others
  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice
  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and setting focus

Who's it for?

Teachers and leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour and/or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school. For example, head of year or roles with other pastoral responsibilities.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

NPQ in Leading Teacher Development (NPQLTD)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including designing and delivering continual professional development (CPD) to others across the school or setting you are in.
  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice
  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and school focus

Who's it for?

Teachers and leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school, for example CPD lead or ITT lead.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

NPQ in Leading Literacy (NPQLL) 

This programme will help you to: 

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including leading literacy strategy and developing others. 
  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice 
  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and school focus

Who's it for? 

Teachers or leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading literacy across a school, year group, key stage or phase. 

Find out more about this programme and apply below: 

Learn more

NPQ in Leading Primary Mathematics (NPQLPM)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including leading mathematics across your key stage or school and developing others

  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice

  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and school focus

Who's it for?

Teachers or leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading mathematics across a school, year group, key stage or phase.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

NPQ in Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a leader with some areas of cross and whole school responsibility, or as a senior leader in your setting
  • access content across a breadth of areas, such as teaching, behaviour and professional development
  • be supported to effectively implement change and improvement in an area related to your role and context.

Who's it for?

Leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

NPQ in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)

This programme will help you to: 

  • develop as a leader with responsibility for early years education and care
  • access content across a breadth of areas, such as teaching, behaviour and professional development 
  • be supported to effectively implement change and improvement in an area related to your role and context. 

Who's it for? 

Leaders qualified to at least level 3 with a full and relevant qualification who are, or are aspiring to be: 

  • managers of private, voluntary and independent nurseries 
  • headteachers of school-based or maintained nurseries 
  • childminders with leadership responsibilities

Find out more about this programme and apply below: 

Learn more

NPQ in Headship (NPQH)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a leader with whole-school responsibility
  • access content across a breadth of areas such as school culture, curriculum and assessment, and organisational management
  • be supported to effectively implement change and improvement in an area you identify as a school priority

Who's it for?

School leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Early Headship Coaching Offer 

The Early Headship Coaching Offer is aimed at new headteachers taking the NPQH in their first five years of headship. It’s also suitable for a leader who has taken the NPQH before headship - as long as the coaching offer is taken up within five years of becoming a new headteacher.

You can request this additional support for free if you:   

  • work in a state-funded school  
  • are in your first five years of headship  
  • have previously done an NPQH / are applying for an NPQH / are currently doing an NPQH with us or another provider

More information here

NPQ in Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a leader with trust-level responsibility
  • access content across a breadth of areas such as organisational management, working in partnership, and additional and special educational needs and disabilities
  • effectively implement change and improvement in an area you identify as a trust priority

Who's it for?

Leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Teach First one-to-one support

Teach First is offering free one-to-one support on all of our NPQ programmes, for teachers and leaders working in schools and settings serving disadvantaged communities.

This free support comes in the form of an experienced former school leader who will coach and guide you throughout your NPQ. You can apply for this in your application with us or your delivery partner, and we will allocate this support on a priority school basis.

More information here

Delivery partners

We’re delighted to be one of a select group of national providers to design, deliver and assess the reformed NPQs in collaboration with our delivery partners - teaching school hubs and multi-academy trusts working with us to deliver the NPQs. Based across the country, our delivery partners are school-led experts in teacher and leadership training and development.

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Structured, detailed and very manageable... The support I received from [my Development Lead], was also terrific!
NPQ programme member

91% of our programme members

rated their one-to-one support from us as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Teacher handing out worksheets to students

Our leadership programmes

Great leaders drive successful schools. Our world-class training gives those eager to step up and build a fairer education system, the tools and networks to do it.

A teacher smiling at one of their pupils.

Explore our bank of resources, shared by our community of teachers and schools

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