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Become a confident school leader

Discover our school leadership programmes.

Enquire about the programmes

Become a confident school leader

Our free, NPQ-accredited leadership programmes help talented teachers become inspiring leaders at every level.

We know we need to support teachers not just through their initial training, but across their whole school career. And we share this responsibility with our community of schools, working in partnership to create better environments for teachers to stay and thrive where they are most needed.

About the programmes

Our fully funded School Leadership Pathway programmes (NPQML, NPQSL and NPQH) each span 12-15 months, with flexible learning via our online portal and in-person sessions. This structured learning will help you to develop the leadership skills and behaviours needed to succeed as a leader in a challenging context.  

By engaging with research, mentor support, best practice and your peer network, you’ll become a confident leader with a strong understanding of what works best in your school community.

Flexible learning
Online and in-person learning combines leadership and project development
Evidence-informed content
Learn using our unique approach based on real-life challenges.
Mentor support
A mentor helps you make the most of your development on the programme.
Peer network
Connect with a network of other leaders like you.

Benefits for you 

  • Fully-funded, with no cost for your school
  • Gain a National Professional Qualification in Leadership 
  • Make lasting improvements, with a curriculum that focuses on your school’s challenges
  • Get one-to-one support from an experienced mentor
  • Learn through a mix of events and online modules that fit around your schedule 
  • Join a powerful network of leaders, working to build a fair education for all.

How to apply 

The application window for the 2019/20 school leadership programmes is now closed. Applications for our 2020/21 programmes will open towards the end of this calendar year. In the meantime, please do complete an Expression of Interest form and we’ll be in touch when applications open.

“If you have that drive to ensure you’re always improving, always thinking about your leadership qualities and skills, go for this programme – because it’s got a whole range of aspects that are supported. And it’s also a valued accreditation to have.”

Katie Matthews
Middle leader programme participant

Accredited NPQ provider logo

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the learning structured?

The programmes’ learning combines leadership and project development and is structured into four stages: diagnose, build, embed and drive, and sustain. Each stage is built around a challenging issue and you’ll have access to high-quality resources to support your progress. Learning is blended and has two components:  

 - Online and school-based learning: Online learning will give you the knowledge and skills to improve specific aspects of your school at your level of responsibility. It will also help you reflect on and track your leadership development progress. Throughout you’ll engage with relevant evidence and consider its implications and application in your context. The curriculum is structured in a way you can access at your pace and convenience.  

- In-person events: These will help you review the previous stage, prepare for the coming stage, and reconnect with the programme and your peers. There are five in-person days (including a kick-off day) taking place during term time, where you’ll also hear from leading sector experts. The in-person events also provide the chance for you to meet your cohort of peer learners at the beginning and end of each stage of learning. The kick-off day will be a national event, with all other events delivered in six regional locations. 

- We know it’s important to have a strong support structure to maximise learning. That’s why we’ve structured our programmes to provide you with both mentor support and a peer network – see next FAQ.

What support will I have on the programme?

We know it’s important to have a strong support structure to maximise learning. Over the course of the programme, you’ll be supported by a mentor who’ll help you make the most of your development on the programme.  You’ll also have many opportunities to engage with a network of leaders committed to ending educational inequality and at similar stages of their career. Support includes: 

- One-to-one mentoring: Mentors provide one-to-one support, with each session clearly focused on either leadership or project development. 

- Virtual peer learning group: Take part in small group peer learning overseen by a mentor, working together to build strong professional networks.  

- In-person learning: During the in-person events, mentors, alongside serving school leaders and sector experts, lead the learning and peer-to-peer sessions.  

- Regional and peer-to-peer networking: During in-person events, there will be informal and more structured networking opportunities to help build your professional network.

Am I eligible to apply?

Fully funded places on our programmes are available to teachers working in Teach First eligible schools and current partner schools. This means we can make the most effective use of our resources for the communities we support and target schools and pupils in areas of greatest need. Click here for full eligibility criteria.  

Please note that as part of your application, you’ll need your school’s headteacher to agree that you can apply to join the programme. It’s important you make your headteacher aware that:  

- Completing this programme will involve five days away from school, spread over 13 months.  

- Although the programme is fully funded, any travel costs associated with the programme are not covered by Teach First. The school is responsible for reimbursing the learner’s travel to in-person events.   

- The school is responsible for re-arranging timetables and cover for lessons the learner will miss in attending the in-person events. 

What are the key programme dates and time commitment?

All programme members are expected to attend all in-person events as part of the programme: 

- The National Kick-off Event will take place in September and will be a one-day, day-time event.    

- Subsequent in-person events will run regionally, in Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol and London.  

- In addition to the five in-person events, you will need about ten hours for the online learning at each of the four stages of the programme.

What qualification will I get?

Teach First is one of a select group of national providers accredited by the Department for Education to design, deliver and assess the following National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for school leadership:  

- NPQ for Middle Leadership (NPQML)  

- NPQ for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)  

- NPQ for Headship (NPQH)  

The National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for school leadership are widely recognised as the foremost qualifications in the education sector for current and aspiring leaders.

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