Five things every school leader needs to know about the NPQs

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Date published 01 September 2023

Last updated 04 April 2024

You can transform the quality of teaching and leadership in your school, and the professional development of your staff, with National Professional Qualifications (NPQs).

There are ten National Professional Qualifications available to teachers and school leaders in England.

For teachers and school leaders who want to deepen their specialist knowledge there are National Professional Qualifications in leading teacher development, leading teaching, leading primary maths, leading literacy and leading behaviour and culture. For those wanting to develop their leadership skills, there are National Professional Qualifications in senior leadership, headship, executive leadership, for special educational needs co-ordinators and early years leadership.

All the National Professional Qualifications are informed by the best research and evidence on what works in teaching and school leadership. They focus on what teachers and school leaders need to build their expertise so that they can have an even bigger impact on school improvement and pupil outcomes.

Here’s what you need to know about the National Professional Qualifications to make the most of them for your school or trust.

1. Fully funded NPQ places are available

Full NPQ funding will be available to all applicants from publicly-funded schools and 16-19 education organisations for four programmes: the NPQ for Headship and Early Headship Coaching Offer, the NPQ for Leading Primary Maths and the new NPQ for SENCOs.

For all other NPQs, funding to cover the full programme cost will be available to applicants from schools in England with the highest proportion of pupils who attract pupil premium funding, as well as early years and 16-19 educational settings identified as having high disadvantage.

If you are unsure whether your staff will qualify for this pupil premium based funding, the Department for Education (DfE) will release a tool for checking eligibility once registration opens in the summer.

You can read the DfE's full statement here.

Register your interest now to be kept up-to-date about when applications open for our Autumn 24 cohorts.

2. Almost all roles are eligible

There’s a National Professional Qualification option for almost all teachers and leaders working in your school(s). All five specialist NPQs are open to everyone from classroom teachers to heads of department, phase or subject to the senior leadership team. The leadership NPQs are available to current or aspiring leaders.

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3. Multiple people can do NPQs at the same time

As many teachers and leaders as you like from your school or trust can take a National Professional Qualification at the same time. There’s no limit to the number of staff any organisation can have doing an NPQ, and they can be the same NPQ or different ones. Learning together will increase the impact of professional development in your team.

4. Teachers and leaders can do a second (or third) NPQ

If someone has completed a National Professional Qualification (old or reformed) they can do another, so long as they have completed any previous NPQ before starting their next one. Perfect for anyone looking to move into the next stage of their career or who wants to deepen a specialism.

5. Your staff can train locally

Your staff can join an NPQ cohort in the local area – led by our network of delivery partners – so that they can train alongside teachers and leaders from your region. On local cohorts, they will minimise travel time to in-person events, connect with colleagues from nearby schools and receive an experience tailored to your area’s context.

Or, if there is no delivery partner in your local area, they can join our national cohort. Here, they will have the opportunity to share learning experiences and make connections with a nation-wide group of peers.

Interested in getting involved? Register your interest now to be notified when applications open.

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We expect to open applications for our Autumn NPQ cohorts in the summer. Be the first to know.

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