National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

The application round is currently closed. The next application round will open on Friday 1st February. Please click here to register your interest.

The NPQSL is a dynamic development programme for experienced middle leaders potentially one year away from senior leadership and newly appointed senior leaders with whole school responsibilities. This programme is designed to support participants to improve existing knowledge, skills and experience and develop capacity to work efficiently across an organisation.

Facilitator’s role-model outstanding practice and use coaching techniques to support participants to further develop their leadership experience. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their own areas of strength and areas for improvement and identify ways they can improve their leadership through various activities whilst on the course. 

Who is the programme for?

This 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. Please note applicants need to be resident in the UK, or have the right to study in the UK.

What is involved?

The programme is made up of eight face-to-face training sessions and a full day induction. Face to face sessions are delivered across three terms (approximately three sessions a term) and include final assessment support. 

Structure and Content Areas

There are six core content areas that set out what a leader should know or be able to deliver as an effective leader. The content areas are common across each level.

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 closely with participants to evaluate their strength in each behaviour at the beginning of their programme, 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 model how 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 used 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.


The assessment involves successful delivery and leadership of a sustainable school improvement task that has a positive and measurable impact on student outcomes. Participants will complete a 5,000 word written assignment on:

Working across the school to

a) reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment

b) improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching 


Face-to-face training sessions take place our different academies or alliance partner schools. Participants will have opportunities to tour the schools and academies and interact with staff and students.


The cost of this programme is £1250.

The cost of the first assessment is included in the cost above, but please note that the cost of coaching and assessment resubmission if required is not included.

  • 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