Executive Leadership

National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

The application round is open! Please click here to request an application form or download it below. The application round will close on Friday 3rd May.

The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL) is a new national qualification for anyone aspiring lead more than one school. The Aspiring Leaders approach uses the Harris Federation Multi Academy Trust (MAT) as a case study for successful leadership across a group of schools. The programme draws on the leadership expertise of Harris executive leaders and directors and from other successful MATs from across the country.

An exciting opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced and successful MAT leaders in the country.

This is a practical, hands-on programme that is led by the Harris Federation CEO, Sir Daniel Moynihan and Executive Principals, each with outstanding track-records of leading multiple schools successfully. Leaders will share their experiences of executive leadership explaining the key challenges involved in leading multiple schools. They will showcase different approaches to maximising resources and maintaining collaboration between schools to ensure that all schools improve student outcomes effectively under one executive leader.

Who is the programme for?

Aspiring executive leaders and recently appointed executive leaders. Please note applicants need to be resident in the UK, or have the right to study in the UK.

What is involved?

Participants are required to attend six compulsory face-to-face training sessions, delivered over three school terms. Each session will take place at a different London venue /school and will be facilitated by an ‘outstanding’ team of serving leaders.

Once the programme of study is complete, participants will be eligible to undertake the final assessment.

The NPQEL qualification consists of:

  • an induction session and 6 further days
  • engagement in learning activities, which include:
  • work-based learning
  • face-to-face learning
  • self-directed learning (online reading)
  • support for learning (facilitators/line managers)
  • coaching for improvement (mentors)
  • learning with peers (group work)
  • structured reflection (critical review, evaluation and analysis)
  • recorded reflections, blogs and identification of key learning (to focus on leadership development priorities and to demonstrate progress)
  • successful completion of  the two (4,000 word) assessment tasks

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 executive 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

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. 

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

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 programme is delivered over three school terms. Assessment must be completed within 18 months of the programme start date.


The final assessment comprises two tasks that are assessed by the Harris Federation Teaching School Alliance. 

Task 1: Designing a sustainable business development strategy for my organisation (4,000 words).

Task 2: Leading an improvement project across several schools (4,000 words)


Face-to-face training sessions take place at 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 £3,500.

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.


Page Downloads Date  
NPQEL Application Form 20th Feb 2019 Download
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