Senior Leadership Programmes

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National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

The application round is now closed.

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.

Facilitators 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 delivered by serving school leaders with extensive experience in school improvement and effective leadership and management.

The NPQSL qualification consists of:

1. Learning across the six content areas and seven leadership behaviours common to each NPQ level:

Content Areas

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

Leadership Behaviours:

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

2. Engagement in a range of learning activities including,

  • Work-based learning
  • Self-directed learning (online reading and research)
  • 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, blogs and identification of key learning (to focus on leadership development priorities and to demonstrate progress)

*Currently, due to covid-19, all sessions are being delivered virtually/online.

3. Successful completion of an assessed task

Please find attached the assessment task sheet below in the 'Downloads' section.

Commitment and Duration

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.


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 

Please find the assessment task sheet below in the 'Downloads' section.


Each face-to-face training session takes place at a different academy or alliance partner school. 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.

How to Apply

The application round is open! Please click here to submit your application.

The application form consists of two sections - one to be completed by the applicant and the other by the applicant's NPQSL sponsor, usually the headteacher or line manager.

Successful applicants

If your application is successful, you will receive notification from us via email within one month of the application deadline, including details of the programme induction.

Unsuccessful applicants

If your application is unsuccessful, we may call you to discuss the outcome. We will provide you with feedback on why your application has not been successful at this time, and in some cases you may be asked to submit more information or you will be invited to reapply.

For further queries, please contact

Privacy, complaints and whistleblowing policies


Recruitment targets from DfE:

Year 1 (2018): 100% Fully met

Year 2 (2019): 100% Fully met

Year 3 (2020): TBC

DfE targets for % non-white British participants:

Year 1 (2018): 100% Fully met

Year 2 (2019): 100% Fully met

Year 3 (2020): TBC

DfE targets for participants from schools with >30% FSM

Year 1 (2018): 100% Fully met

Year 2 (2019): 100% Fully met

Year 3 (2020): TBC

% of participants presenting for final assessment within 18 months: 71% Partially met DfE target

Participant feedback rating: 100% Fully met DfE target

Current pass rate: 95%


Page Downloads Date  
NPQSL Assessment Task Description 09th May 2019 Download
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