How to apply for a National Professional Qualification

Jan. 8, 2024

National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) support the professional development of teachers and school leaders, drawing on the very best research and evidence. They focus on what teachers and school leaders need to know to build their expertise.

This article explains how to prepare, what to do and what you can expect when applying for an Ambition Institute NPQ.

Prepare to apply

  • Check your suitability: To avoid disappointment, it is important that you check your role and experience is suitable for your chosen NPQ before applying. You can find this information under the Apply tab of your chosen NPQ’s programme page.
  • Notify your school: Some NPQ sessions happen during the school day and require time off timetable. To make sure that you can attend these sessions, we ask that you let your school know that you are planning on doing an NPQ.
  • Get your My Ambition account ready: Login or create a My Ambition account. You can then start your application through the My Application tab.
  • Set aside 15 minutes: Your application should take around 15 minutes to complete.

Choose your programme and delivery partner

On the Get Started page of your application, you will need to choose the NPQ programme you are applying for and the cohort you want to join.

We deliver our NPQs through a network of over 50 local partners such as multi-academy trusts and teaching school hubs across England. You will need to go to our partner directory and select your region on the map to see who delivers the NPQ you want to complete near you.

If there is a delivery partner in your local authority, you should select this partner as the 'cohort' on the dropdown menu. If there isn’t a delivery partner in your local authority, you should select ‘Central’ as the cohort. This means that your NPQ will be delivered by Ambition Institute.

Delivery partners are trained by Ambition and use our learning materials, whilst tailoring the content of the NPQs to your local context.

Answer questions on your eligibility

You will also need to answer questions about your role and your understanding of how the NPQ will be delivered. Use our guidance document to support this section of your application. The questions are:

Your role

Using the guidance document, please explain briefly how your role allows you to access and practise the learning of the NPQ of your choice.’

We ask this to understand your eligibility for your chosen NPQ. Your answer should be around 150 words in length and clearly explain how you will be able to apply the learnings from the programme in your role.

For example, if you were applying for the NPQ in Leading Teacher Development, you might explain that you are a classroom teacher responsible for mentoring early career teachers, or organising professional development for new members of staff. This shows us that you have the opportunity to put what you will learn on the NPQ in Leading Teacher Development into practice in your day-to-day work.

If you are not currently in a role related to your chosen NPQ, you should explain how your school will put extra provision in place to allow you to put your learning into practice. For example, your school might let you contribute to the development of a small group of teachers in your phase.

If you are applying for the NPQ in Leading Primary Mathematics, you will answer five questions about your role. We will use this to assess whether you are eligible for the programme and you should answer them in a similar way to the above.

Programme requirements

‘I understand I am committing to take part in the NPQ which requires independent work, virtual and face-to-face delivery.’

To complete an NPQ, you must achieve 90% attendance and engagement with all parts of the programme. You will need to confirm that you can commit to completing the programme.

‘I understand that if my delivery partner is outside of my region, I may need to travel outside of my region to attend events and sessions.’

All NPQs include in-person sessions. These events will take place in locations which are accessible to most people learning with each delivery partner. If your delivery partner is outside your region, or you are on the Central cohort, this could mean travel to these venues.

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Wait for your application outcome and complete some next steps

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email with the outcome of your application within ten working days.

If your application is successful and you are offered a place, log into My Ambition. Under the My Application tab, go to Place Offered Applications and accept your place.

When you have accepted your place you will receive a confirmation email. This will include some further actions you need to do to complete your enrolment:

  • Register with the Department for Education (ten minutes): You must register with the Department for Education to gain accreditation and, if applicable, funding for your NPQ. You will need to enter your Teacher Reference Number. If you don’t have one, contact the Teacher Regulation Agency at [email protected].
  • Provide evidence of employment (five to ten minutes): You will be sent an online document via Docusign, which you will need to get your line manager or chair of governors/trustees to sign as evidence of your employment. Instructions on how to assign the document to them for their signature will be included in the Docusign email.


Applications have now closed for our spring 2024 NPQ cohorts. We expect to be delivering NPQs in autumn 2024. Register your interest now to hear about future NPQ cohorts.

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