NPQ Leadership Programmes

Aspiring Leaders

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) developed a range of professional qualifications, which have been licensed to different providers nationwide. The suite of programmes are designed to support leaders at different stages of their career by offering national qualifications to middle leaders, senior leaders, those aspiring to headship and executive leadership.  

We became a licenced provider because we have a strong culture of school improvement and professional development at the heart of our organisation. We are passionate about improving schools to ensure that students are able to receive the best education possible. We also believe that teachers should be able to access high-quality professional development that makes a real difference to teaching practice and leadership, enabling teachers to become the best teachers and school leaders they can be.

National Professional Qualifications available

Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 are currently available:


Aspiring Leaders – The Harris Federation Teaching Schools Alliance Leadership Programmes

Careful consideration has gone into the planning for the Aspiring Leaders suite of professional qualifications to ensure that it is the highest quality professional development available for teachers, and that learning outcomes have a direct impact on improving schools. As a result, we have developed the following framework for our offer:

  • Each session is facilitated by an outstanding practitioner with a strong track-record for delivering sustainable school improvement and improving outcomes for students.
  • Where appropriate, experts and specialist leaders deliver short sessions on their areas of expertise to enhance participant knowledge and understanding.
  • Face-to-face training takes place in different schools and academies to build participant experience of different contexts, stimulate ideas and challenge existing approaches. 
  • Facilitators share the systems, processes, policies and guidance used to improve individual schools and academies.
  • All training sessions are quality-assured to ensure that participants’ learning enhances significantly, allowing them to meet the qualification level.
  • Coaching and mentoring opportunities are a key feature of all programmes.
  • We offer final assessment preparation, support and assistance which stems from our academy offer to our students. We take pride in providing individuals with the personal support and guidance they need to thrive.

Structure and Content Areas

There are six core content areas for each level which set out what a leader should know or be able to deliver as an effective leader. The content areas are common across each level, but the knowledge and skills required within each level increases in sophistication, depth and breadth progressively through the NPQ levels. 

The six content areas for learning are:

  • Strategy and Improvement
  • Teaching and Curriculum Excellence
  • Leading with Impact
  • Working in Partnership
  • Managing Resources and Risks
  • Increasing Capability

In addition, there are seven leadership behaviours, common to each NPQ level, which set out how the best leaders operate.

The seven leadership behaviours are:

  • Commitment
  • Collaboration
  • Personal Drive
  • Resilience
  • Awareness
  • Integrity
  • Respect

We work with participants to evaluate their strength in each behaviour at the beginning of their NPQ, and plan how they will develop these behaviours during their NPQ study.

The benefits

All four Aspiring Leaders programmes are led by principals and are delivered by high-performing principals, middle and senior leaders with exceptional track-records. Our leading practitioners have a wealth of experience in dealing with the challenges that schools, academies and Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) face, and have a proven record in improving outcomes for pupils and students.

The benefits of our Leadership offer are:

  • By using experienced practitioners to deliver all of the face-to-face training sessions participants will have a good understanding of the accountabilities and responsibilities that make up the different leadership roles. Facilitator’s role modelhow to execute leadership roles effectively for impact sharing their challenges and achievements.

  • Opportunities to visit a range of school settings, including primary, secondary, faith and private schools provides participants with a greater understanding of education and leadership. This feature of the programme will challenge existing practices and ways of working and will inspire new ideas for leaders to take back to their own schools.

  • Participants will learn from evidence-based practices that have been applied in other schools to achieve rapid transformation. Aspiring Leaders will have access to a number of different models they can use to inform their own leadership development projects for the final assessment.

  • Choose an experienced leader of former NPQ participant as a coach or mentor to gain further support and guidance on your learning journey. Take full advantage of the range of expertise available through the programme network.

  • January 9, 2019 Cohort 3 reflecting with . Heart, Head, Step ... the journey begins ...
  • January 9, 2019 Launching cohort 3 -leaders programmes funded by with and this afternoon.
  • January 7, 2019 We have 3 free places still available on our DfE funded leadership programme launching on 9 January 2019. This bespoke programme is specifically designed to identify and nurture leadership talent in BAME educators. Click here for an application: Read more Read more
  • December 27, 2018 We have 5 free places still available on our DfE funded leadership programme launching in January 2019. This bespoke programme is specifically designed to identify and nurture leadership talent in BAME educators. Click here for an application: Read more Read more
  • December 21, 2018 Calling all BAME Educators! We have 25 FREE places on our DfE funded leadership programme. Come and explore themes like, vision, authentic leadership, wellbeing, resilience, and career planning which will help prepare you for your next leadership role! Read more Read more