Can I do an NPQ when I’m on maternity leave?


Starting a family shouldn't be a barrier to continuing your development. We discuss the flexibility of our NPQ programmes to show how they can be completed on parental leave.

Balancing caregiving responsibilities with professional learning and development can be a challenge, but it is possible. At Ambition Institute, we want to empower and inspire families to do what’s right for them – we don’t believe parental leave should be a barrier to taking part in professional development.

Here’s what you need to know if you are thinking about doing an NPQ while on parental leave:

Flexible learning to suit your needs

Our NPQ programmes consist of weekly self-directed study and application, as well as live sessions such as conference days, clinics with course tutors, and peer community sessions. Self-study allows you to engage with the course on your own schedule, making the programme highly flexible and giving you the opportunity to plan your studies around your timetable and what suits you best. You are also given a programme buddy, and you can complete course modules with your buddy, in a trio, or even alone.

We have designed flexibility into the course so that participants can engage at a way that suits their individual needs. Content is designed to be accessed on any device, and we release our modules well in advance so you can get ahead, leaving them open so that you can catch-up if you need to.

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No more in-school projects

Our NPQ programmes make use of StepLab, a learning platform designed for flexible, online engagement with professional development. It’s a platform designed by teachers, for teachers. StepLab’s team of developers are responsive to feedback and are constantly working to implement changes that improve user experiences.

We’ve moved away from the large-scale, in-school project work required by the previous NPQ frameworks. Removing this element changes the focus of the course and makes it more flexible, removing tasks that require you to be consistently present in school for the whole length of the programme. Instead, our final assessment is an open-book style response to a case study, where you can put the course content into practice.

Build your mental models

Research suggests that teacher expertise has the greatest impact on pupil outcomes, and we believe that expert teachers and leaders are made, not born. As described in our blog articles, expertise is built on a bedrock of knowledge, organised into mental models that can be embedded in your day-to-day practice.

Our NPQ programmes give you the chance to gain this knowledge and build the mental models that will guide your teaching practice through self-study content and suggested wider reading. Peer and buddy sessions give you the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice in a safe space, receive constructive feedback, and reinforce what you learn.

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Help to plan ahead

We share our clinic and conference dates with you far in advance to give you as much notice as possible and support you to plan ahead. This means that if there are scheduling issues, you can get in touch with us to help resolve them. Our live clinics and conferences are scheduled deliberately so that we can offer alternatives when needed.

If you experience circumstances that disrupt your ability to engage with the course, we’ve developed high quality materials to help you get caught up. There is also the option to defer your place until a future cohort, if you find that you aren’t able to continue with the programme right away.

Where to find support

Choosing whether to take on CPD while on maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave can be a big decision. There are plenty of resources out there to help you decide what’s right for you, provided by organisations such as the MTPT project. In this video, they outline some of the key things you might want to consider.

If you decide to take on the programme, there is help available should you need it. Our delivery partners and programmes team are there to support you.

Find out more

Browse our NPQ programmes and register your interest

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