NPQs

Image of teacher

Take your career and school to new heights, with our range of National Professional Qualifications.

  • NPQs including Middle Leadership, Senior Leadership and Headship
  • Receive flexible, evidence-based training
  • Solve your school’s specific challenges
  • Get one-to-one expert support
  • Join a passionate network striving for educational equality
Duration
February 2021 to March 2022
Applications open across programmes for Feb 2021 start
Hurry - deadline is 20 December

Fulfil your school's potential. Invest in an NPQ today.

Our NPQs

Each of our NPQ programmes combines comprehensive support with expert training, addressing specific issues experienced in your school.
They all include one-to-one guidance, collaborative working and network building, and can be completed online when and where it suits you.

Why should headteachers consider NPQs for their staff?

Career development opportunities (and ongoing support) encourage teachers to thrive right where they are. That’s why our leadership programmes are so valuable – they keep great teachers and leaders in their schools for the long term, while increasing their positive impact.

Not only do our NPQ programmes add skills to your team: these individuals will create and implement a plan that directly addresses issues affecting your pupils. They’ll also become part of a wider network of teachers and schools, all attempting to give young people from the poorest backgrounds the best shot at success.

Middle Leader Programme (NPQML)

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This programme will prepare teachers looking to take their first steps into leadership and develop middle leaders who recently have. During the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML), they’ll take action to break down barriers young people face in a department, subject or other middle leadership area.

You're a prime candidate, if:

  • you’re an aspiring or newly appointed middle leader
  • you're responsible for a team (such as a subject leader, key stage leader or head of department)
  • you're looking to increase your impact
  • you have completed your NQT year

Senior Leader Programme (NPQSL)

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Help your senior leaders to make a real impact across your school and give middle leaders the skills to take on more responsibility. This programme addresses the specific needs of your school at a senior level such as deputy head, business manager or inclusion lead. Programme members will plan and implement whole-school improvements while gaining a National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL).

You're a prime candidate, if:

  • you're an aspiring or newly appointed senior leader who is responsible for a team (such as an inclusion lead or deputy head)
  • you want the opportunity to develop a project that has whole school impact
  • you want to rapidly progress your school’s key improvement priorities

Headship Programme (NPQH)

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Whether they’re moving into headship or are there already, this programme will help members create and embed a culture that encourages leaders at all levels. We know many heads feel isolated, and 42% do not have a National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). During the programme they’ll build a senior leadership team that’s right behind them as they drive an improvement strategy.

You're a prime candidate, if:

  • you’re an aspiring, about-to-be-appointed or new headteacher
  • you're looking to bring about real change in your school

Still unsure which NPQ fits your needs?

For more detail about our courses on offer, read more here:

Which NPQ is right for you?

Need help with your application?

For more details on our application process, please see our guidance:

NPQ application guide

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Department for Education logo with text - 'Accredited NPQ provider'

Become a confident school leader

Schools are

10x more likely

to improve with effective leadership

Teachers talking

Benefits

Help your school rebuild from COVID-19

Our high quality NPQ programmes work to build leadership skills and capacity - with content focused on helping you identify how to support your pupils and tackle your school improvement priorities even more effectively. Through this, you can have an even greater impact on your pupils, especially those hit hardest by lockdown. 

Furthermore, our programmes start in February - meaning you can start making that impact this academic year, when your pupils need it most.

Solve your school’s specific challenges

We recognise that issues within schools existed before the pandemic. Each stage of our NPQ-accredited programmes is tailored to your school's individual needs and designed to address your daily challenges. It’ll give you the skills to develop and implement plans that’ll have real impact on teachers and pupils.

You'll be providing practical solutions - not just ticking theoretical boxes. 

One-to-one expert support

We provide one-to-one support and training from accomplished educators, on hand to offer guidance when you need it. They’re experienced school leaders who’ve been where you are - so they know how to help you get the most out of the training.

Gain a National Professional Qualification

Boost your career with a highly respected NPQ. We’re one of the few organisations accredited to provide these nationally. Our programmes are designed to be integrated into your current role, so the work you’re doing will continue to help your pupils.

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.

You'll also get: 

  • Virtual learning groups that connect you with others on our programmes, so an understanding friend is always at your fingertips. 
  • Networking opportunities throughout our programmes, where you can build valuable connections in your region and across the country.
  • Online workshops with programme peers and education experts.

Expert, flexible school leadership training

Most of the NPQ courses can be taken online - meaning you can fit it around your schedule at a pace that suits you.

You’ll also attend our face-to-face events, where you’ll review your work, prepare for the next stages and connect with leaders in your region.

Join a passionate network of leaders striving for educational equality

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

Find out what one of our NPQ programme members has to say about their leadership journey with us:

Read Sarah's story

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

90% of teachers

say leadership development opportunities encourage them to stay at a school

Student on work experience

Impact

Programmes with real impact

From the feedback we’ve had from people who’ve completed our leadership programmes, we know that their experiences are highly rated:

  • 81% of programme members rated the quality of support from their Development Lead as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
  • 77% told us that the NPQs ‘effectively developed their leadership skills’.
  • 75% agreed that the NPQs ‘provided access to evidence-based training for improving schools with similar challenges to your own’.
  • An impressive 89% pass rate on first submission.

For many, the programme element that really stood out for them was the one-to-one coaching support from their Development Lead.

View our NPQ metrics

Leadership matters

That’s a fact. We want to make sure schools that teach the most disadvantaged pupils get the best leadership training and support to succeed. That’s good for young people, who get brilliant leaders; good for teachers who want to progress; and good for schools who get to develop and keep talented staff.

We’ve researched the issue extensively:

Read our report

We found there are plenty of teachers and leaders eager to step up given the opportunity. Our aim is to provide leadership courses that give them the ongoing career development they want.

Key report findings

Our report found under-developed leadership was widespread, impacting disadvantaged pupils the most:
  • Around 850,000 young people are not benefiting from good or outstanding leadership, according to Ofsted.
  • 14% of schools in the UK's poorest communities are given the worst Ofsted scores for leadership - compared to 5% in wealthier areas.
  • 63% of senior leaders say their school does not provide enough leadership opportunities.
  • 18% of senior leaders have had no leadership training at all.
But great leadership training at all levels can change that:
  • Schools are ten times more likely to improve at their next Ofsted inspection with effective leadership.
  • 93% of teachers say training tailored to their school’s needs is the most effective.
  • 90% of teachers say leadership development opportunities encourage them to stay at a school.

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

75% of all programme members

say our NPQs 'effectively developed their leadership skills'

Teacher writing on whiteboard at front of class

Programmes

 How it works

The development of key leadership skills lies at the heart of our programmes – and is achieved through the design, implementation and review of a project aimed at improving pupil outcomes and staff capacity.

It’s delivered in four stages:

  1. Pinpoint issues that are holding pupils back and work out the causes.
  2. Develop your ability to address those issues and create a plan focused on your school's improvement priorities that will tackle them effectively.
  3. Onboard colleagues and stakeholders and integrate your plan into every aspect of school life.
  4. Reflect on your plan and make improvements an intrinsic part of your school’s culture.
The NPQH placement

If you are taking part in the Headship Programme (NPQH), you will undertake a nine-day placement in a contrasting school to the one you work in. This offers the opportunity to learn in a different context from your current workplace – to practise and enhance your ability to read, interpret and lead effectively in different context. You will have two specific aspects of the school to research you’ll then present your recommendations to the school’s governing board.

You’ll learn in two ways:  

  • Online and in school. All the high-quality resources that come with our programmes are available online. You’ll access knowledge and tools to help you reflect on and track your leadership development, tackling the issues impacting your school. Each stage requires around ten hours of online learning through modules. You can take these as and when you choose.
  • Live training sessions. Get together online (and in-person where possible) with leadership experts and fellow programme members to review your work, prepare for the next stages and share experiences. There are several focused learning events throughout the NPQ programmes: these will be a mixture of virtual and in-person sessions (where government guidelines permit), both one-to-one and in groups, providing an opportunity to focus on your context, deepen your understanding, and access support to reflect on your own and your pupils’ progress.

Support at every turn

We go out of our way to provide great support. We know that with it you’ll get the most out of our programmes and, in turn, so will your pupils. You’ll get:

  • One-to-one support with an expert ready to share their deep knowledge and project development skills. 
  • Virtual learning groups that connect you with others on the programmes online, so an understanding friend is always at your fingertips.
  • Networking opportunities throughout the programmes, where you can build valuable, ongoing connections in your region and across the country.
  • Where permitted, in-person events with current school leaders and education experts. There will also be online workshops with others on the programmes. 

How we've adapted to COVID-19

In response to the pandemic, our programme has been adapted to include a bigger focus on wellbeing. Not only will you learn how to manage and support your own wellbeing, you’ll also develop a greater understanding of how to create a school environment in which all staff and pupils thrive.

At a time like this, it’s important to look after yourself and your staff. We know that improving, learning and developing is an important part of feeling engaged and energised in a job – we need professional stimulation as well as support.

Looking for a different leadership programme?

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

Our NPQ programmes have a

89% pass rate

on first submission

Teacher handing out worksheets to students

Cost

We offer our high-quality programmes at a significantly subsidised rate, to make them accessible to leaders in schools tackling the biggest challenges.
Middle Leader Programme (NPQML)

Cost: £800

Senior Leader Programme (NPQSL)

Cost: £1,000

Headship (NPQH)

Cost: £1,350

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Headteacher with primary school children

Apply

Is your school eligible?

To take part in our NPQ programmes, you need to be working at a school that is either a Teach First partner, or eligible to be one. That means your school must be in England and teach a high number of pupils from low-income backgrounds. This is because we want all our funding to be directed at those who need it most. 

Our NPQ programmes are open to any teacher or leader at eligible schools, not only those who have trained with us. 

We calculate which schools are eligible using the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA): a measure which identifies parts of the country where children persistently underperform. 

Based on these scoring systems, eligible schools must fall under one of these categories:

  • An IDACI of 40 or greater (this means 40% of pupils are living in low-income homes).
  • An IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6.
  • An IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA of 5 or 6.
  • An IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6.

We prioritise applications from teachers working at a school that’s either a Teach First partner school or eligible to be one.

If you’re not sure if your school is eligible, please email TFSLP@teachfirst.org.uk

Before applying

To make applying as easy as possible, take a look at our short application guidance document:

NPQ application guide

Please note that to apply for the Middle Leadership Programme (NPQML) you need to have completed your NQT year.

You should also talk to your headteacher and make sure they’re happy for you to join and to fund your place. See our application guidance above for more details.

Apply now

Once that's all done, you're ready to apply:

Apply now

Our application form gives you the option to select the NPQ programme of your choice. Simply follow the link above, and pick which course you're interested in joining.

If you've still got questions about any aspect of the programme or the application process, email us at TFSLP@teachfirst.org.uk - we're happy to help.

Looking for a different leadership programme?

If you have that drive to ensure you’re always improving, always thinking about your leadership qualities and skills, go for [it].
Katie Matthews,
English teacher and Middle Leader programme member

93% of teachers

say training that is tailored to their school's needs is the most effective.

Teacher and pupils at Beaumont Leys school

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.  

Our leadership programmes

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