Senior Leader

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Take your leadership to new heights with an NPQSL from our accredited senior leadership course.

  • Gain an NPQ in Senior Leadership.
  • Flexible, evidence-based training.
  • Solve your school’s specific challenges.
  • Train while you teach.
  • One-to-one expert support.
  • Join a passionate network striving for educational equality.
Duration
February 2021 to March 2022
Feb 2021 programme: applications now open

Discover your strength as a senior leader and boost your school's potential

Benefits

Gain a National Professional Qualification

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

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.

Solve your school’s specific challenges

Each stage of the NPQ-accredited programme is tailored to your school's needs and designed to address your daily challenges. It’ll give you the skills to ideate 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.

You'll also get: 

  • Virtual learning groups that connect you with others on the programme, so an understanding friend is always at your fingertips. 
  • In-person learning outside school with current school leaders and education experts.
  • Workshops with other teachers on the programme.  
  • Networking opportunities at our training days, where you can build valuable, ongoing connections in your region.

Expert, flexible school leadership training

Most of the NPQSL course 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.

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Department for Education logo with text - 'Accredited NPQ provider'
Teacher handing out worksheets to students
I've found the online materials really engaging, and the blogs and online articles have been very carefully selected. I really like that approach as it allows you time to digest at your own pace.
Andy Houlihan,
Senior Leader Programme member

Impact

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 poorer 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: take a look at 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: addressing the school leadership challenge

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.
  • Sixty-three percent of senior leaders say their school does not provide enough leadership opportunities.
  • Eighteen percent of senior leaders have had no leadership training at all.
But great leadership training at all levels can change that:
  • 64% of middle leaders in all schools say they’d be interested in taking on a more senior role. 
  • 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% percent of teachers say leadership development opportunities encourage them to stay at a school.

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Become a confident school leader

Children making papier mache globe as teacher looks on
The networks that are created through the programme are really useful. There's an immediate sense that you have all these people to call on, from varying levels and various different positions.
Kate Matthews,
English teacher

Programme

Is the senior leader programme right for you?

If you’re an aspiring or newly appointed senior leader who is responsible for a team (such as an inclusion lead, business manager or deputy head), this programme is for you. 

Why should headteachers consider it 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 in their schools for the long term, while increasing their positive impact.

Not only does a Senior Leader add skills to your team: this person 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.    

How it works

At the heart of the programme are project management skills and intensive support.

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 that will effectively tackle them at your leadership level.
  3. Onboard colleagues 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.

You’ll learn in two ways:  

  • Online and in school. All the high-quality resources that come with the programme 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 participants to review your work, prepare for the next stages and share experiences. There are several focused learning events throughout the NPQ programme: these will be a mixture of virtual and in-person sessions, 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 the programme and, in turn, so will your pupils. You’ll get:

  • One-to-one support with an expert ready to share their deep knowledge of senior leadership and project development skills. 
  • Virtual learning groups that connect you with others on the programme online, so an understanding friend is always at your fingertips. 
  • In-person learning outside school with current school leaders and education experts. There will also be workshops with other teachers on the programme.  
  • Networking opportunities at our training days, where you can build valuable, ongoing connections in your region.

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Teachers in workshop, woman smiling
Teacher helping child with schoolwork

Cost

Cost: £1,000

We offer our high-quality programmes at a significantly subsidised rate to make them accessible to leaders in schools tackling the biggest challenges.

NPQ scholarship funding

At the discretion of the DfE, you could be eligible for DfE scholarship funding to cover the total cost of your NPQ programme if you work in a school in either:

  • a category 5 or 6 area
  • an Opportunity Area (OA) 
  • or in a Multi Academy Trust or Diocese that meets the DfE criteria
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Children standing in line outside

Apply

Is your school eligible?

To take part in our NPQSL programme 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. 

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.

If your school serves a disadvantaged community but does not quite meet these eligibility criteria, please contact us.

Before applying

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

You should also talk to your headteacher and make sure they’re happy for you to join and to fund your place. You should tell them that:

  • everyone on the programme is expected to attend the live training sessions (online or in person, depending on government advice). Where possible these will be arranged out of school hours
  • your school will need to cover any travel expenses for those training days; however, we will provide some support with travel and accommodation costs related to event attendance, for those who need to travel beyond a reasonable distance - this is outlined in our travel policy
  • your school is responsible for arranging teaching cover for the live training sessions
  • each stage of the programme requires dedicated time spent on online learning
  • your school is responsible for funding the cost of the programme.

Then you're ready to apply.

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?

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Teachers sitting around circular table

Step up and spark change with an NPQH from our accredited headship course.

Headship

A teacher smiles to camera.
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