NPQ in Executive Leadership

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Become a confident leader of a multi-school organisation.

  • Gain a prestigious qualification to take your career to the next level.
  • Develop specialist expertise in running a multi-school organisation.
  • Connect with and learn from other executive leaders in the field.
  • Free one-to-one support and coaching.
  • Join a passionate network striving for educational equality.
  • DfE scholarship funding available to all state school teachers and leaders.
Applications now closed

Lead your trust towards a brighter future.


Gain a prestigious qualification to take your career to the next level

Get the tools you need to establish and sustain your trust’s strategic direction and culture.

Develop specialist expertise in running a multi-school organisation

Learn how to develop processes and systems that enable and encourage collaboration between staff within and across your schools. You’ll gain practical skills in effectively managing resources and establishing sustainable policies.

Connect with and learn from other executive leaders in the field

Build and expand your network across the country. Gain valuable fresh perspectives from other leaders in similar roles.

Free one-to-one support and coaching

If you work in a school serving disadvantaged communities, you can apply for our free one-to-one support which runs alongside the NPQ in Executive Leadership (NPQEL). You’ll be supported by an experienced former school leader who will coach and guide you throughout the programme. You can apply for this additional support in your application.

Join a passionate network striving for educational equality

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

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Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different NPQ programme?

Funded by Department for Education
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Is the NPQEL programme for me?

This is for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher, or have a school trust Chief Executive Officer (CEO) role with responsibility for leading several schools. 

How does the NPQEL work?

This 21-month programme (18 months’ delivery and up to three months for assessment) consists of a series of courses based on the DfE’s NPQ frameworks. Each course cycle features:

  • evidence-based online content to refresh and build knowledge, as well as exemplify what this looks like for your role and level of leadership
  • a formative assessment task to support your learning
  • a face-to-face seminar with a group of peers, facilitated by a serving school leader or Teach First Development Lead – you’ll analyse and reflect on the task and hear further examples of good practice
  • the opportunity to record reflections and consolidate learning

This cycle repeats throughout the programme, with implementation a consideration in every course. Towards the end of the programme, you’ll also take a course focused specifically on effective implementation. This provides an opportunity to complete a significant but manageable change project as part of your role. There will be ongoing support through a seminar group and discussion forum.

What will I learn?

You’ll develop expertise in the knowledge, skills and concepts for areas of trust-level responsibility related to your role. These include trust culture, working in partnership and organisational management. Our content is informed by the best and most recent evidence and developed with input from school leaders and subject matter experts.

Our programmes have a practical focus. You’ll be supported to make small but important changes to your and others’ practice throughout the programme. This will conclude with the implementation module and practical implementation cycle of the programme. 

Find out more about the DfE’s NPQEL content framework:

Download framework

What are the training commitments?

The programme is designed to fit around your other school commitments. Over the course of the whole programme (spread over five terms), you’ll undertake 80 hours of learning, including 43 synchronous and 12 in-person. This includes a combination of seminars, learning modules, conferences and a practical learning cycle.

How will I be assessed?

At the end of the programme, you will complete your summative NPQ assessment during a fixed 8-day window. Your assessment submission is a written response to a case study related to the content covered in your NPQ, and is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the NPQ Framework. Detailed dates will be shared with you before the start of the programme.

In order to be eligible to complete the assessment, you will need to have engaged with at least 90% of the course content both online and in-person. Diagnostic tasks contribute 30%, reflective tasks 20%, and attendance at events 50% to this total.

The assessment process for all NPQs has been refreshed to reduce the workload burden on teachers while still providing an opportunity to apply their knowledge. To pass the programme, you’ll need to evidence at least 90% of the course and pass one summative assessment.

At the start of your training, we’ll also provide you with the dates of the Summative Assessment so you can plan for this with your school. The summative assessment will take the form of a case study. It will represent a likely situation that a leader might encounter at the relevant NPQ qualification level. The summative assessment is designed to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the relevant NPQ framework and how this can be applied to school improvement.

You will have an eight-day window to provide a written response of a maximum of 1500 words for the case study. It is an ‘open book’ approach so you can refer back to your course materials when completing your response.

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different NPQ programme?

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Cost: £4,099

DfE scholarship funding 

Full DfE funding, with no cost to the participant, is available to staff from: 

  • state-funded schools in England
  • state-funded organisations that offer 16 to 19 places in England

You can do more than one NPQ, but will only be eligible for funding for each NPQ once. If you withdraw or fail your course you cannot get funded again for the same NPQ.

Additional support for small schools 

Through their Targeted Support Fund, the DfE are offering additional payments to small schools to enable them to support their teachers and leaders to undertake NPQs.

For each teacher or leader they employ who takes an NPQ in the 2023 to 2024 academic year:

  • state-funded primary schools with one to 150 pupils will receive a grant payment of £800
  • state-funded primary schools with more than 150 pupils will receive a grant payment of £200
  • state-funded secondary schools and state-funded 16 to 19 educational settings with one to 600 pupils will receive a grant payment of £200

Other settings eligible for scholarship funding 

Organisations eligible to access scholarships also include independent special schools, virtual schools (Local Authority run organisations that support the education of children in care), hospital schools not already included in other categories of eligible organisations and young offender institutions. Applicants from these organisations who feel they should be eligible for funding should contact for more information.

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different NPQ programme?

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Is my school eligible?

While NPQs are open to all teachers and leaders in schools 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.

When does the programme start?

The next programme starts in autumn 2023.

How can I apply?

  • Start by registering with the DfE on its NPQ service and selecting ‘Teach First’ as your provider.

  • We or one of our delivery partners will then be in touch with you within a few days to complete your application.

Need more information?

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a different NPQ programme?

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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.

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