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National Professional Qualification for Senior Leaders (NPQSL)

The NPQSL is a dynamic development programme for ambitious school leaders. It is suitable for high-performing middle leaders and newly appointed senior leaders. Our programme is designed to support you to explore what good practice and what outstanding leadership looks like in some of the key areas of a senior leadership role.

Our delivery approach is to role-model outstanding practice and use coaching techniques to support you to unlock your leadership potential. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own areas of strength, observe ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ practice demonstrated by other school leaders, allowing you to evaluate the impact you have as a leader in your own school and identify your key priorities for development.

Each training session is facilitated by a different practitioner with specific expertise and achievements in education. Our team have been chosen based on their knowledge, skills, experience, impact and outcomes, creativity and ability to motivate and inspire others. You have an exciting opportunity to learn from high-performing practitioners as you develop your own practice.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is designed for leaders with cross-school responsibilities including experienced middle leaders, deputy headteachers, special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs), advanced skills teachers (ASTs) and other senior staff looking for further professional development.

What is involved?

To achieve the qualification you need to complete four modules, two essential and two elective modules, with a focus on developing the skills, confidence and knowledge to lead on whole-school issues.

The programme is delivered over nine face-to-face training days (one training day per month, over three school terms); this includes a final assessment support session offered at the end of the programme.

The NPQSL qualification involves:

  • twilight induction session
  • successful completion of two essential modules and two elective modules
  • engaging in 50 hours of blended learning activities, such as:
  • work-based learning
  • self-directed learning (online reading)
  • support for learning (facilitators/line managers)
  • coaching for improvement (mentors)
  • learning with peers
  • face-to-face learning
  • structured reflection (critical review, evaluation and analysis)
  • recorded reflections and identification of key learning (to focus on leadership development priorities and to demonstrate progress)
  • blogs and WebEx
  • successful completion of a written assignment, having undertaken a school improvement task in your school.

The programme is overseen by a group of experienced principals and is delivered by expert facilitators with extensive experience in senior leadership and transformational change. 

If you have recently completed other relevant training, you may be entitled to an exemption from one or more of the NPQSL modules.


You will study the programme over three school terms and must complete the assessment within 18 months of starting the programme.


The assessment comprises one task, which will be assessed by an independent organisation, EMLC, on behalf of the NCTL:

Leading a school improvement priority across your school

  • This task relates to learning from the Succeeding in Senior Leadership module, Closing the Gap, and your elective module choices.
  • It will enable you to demonstrate your ability to lead a sustainable improvement priority across your school; and develop your own leadership competencies at the same time.
  • You will be expected to draw upon practical experience, research and school evidence. You will also show effective use of school, local and national data to inform your leadership decision-making.


Face-to-face training sessions will take place at one of our Academies or Alliance partner schools.  Participants will have opportunities to tour schools and Academies, experiencing different school and Academy settings and drawing on a range of best practice.


The cost of this programme is £1,350.

How to Apply

Cick here to find out more about how to apply or start your application.

If you have any questions about the programme, you can contact us by using the form below, or speak to us on 0208 253 7787.

Register Your Interest

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