National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)

Since September 2021, the reformed NPQs have given teachers and school leaders opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge. What are they? And which might be right for you?

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Date published 15 May 2023

Last updated 01 May 2024

What are the NPQs?
Specialist NPQs
Leadership NPQs
Professional Development with Ambition
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What are the NPQs?

The National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are Department for Education accredited qualifications for teachers and school leaders. They are designed to develop knowledge and skills in schools by providing evidence-based professional development on what teachers and school leaders need to know to build their expertise.

There are two types of NPQs: specialist and leadership. Specialist NPQs aim to develop expertise in specialist areas of teaching practice, such as behaviour or literacy. Leadership NPQs aim to develop expertise in school leadership.

There are ten NPQ programmes - five specialist NPQs and five leadership NPQs - and an additional Early Headship Coaching Offer. You can register interest for yourself, your school or trust, to start an NPQ in September 2024..

Purpose and benefits of the NPQs

"The training has exceeded my expectations. I am so glad I am part of the programme and wish that I has started sooner." - NPQ Participant

Great teaching changes lives. The evidence is clear: the quality of teaching makes the biggest difference to what a child achieves. It has three times more impact than any other factor within a school’s control (RAND, 2019).

Our NPQ programmes support the professional development of teachers and school leaders, drawing on the very best research and evidence. They are designed to equip you to tackle the challenges you face and provide practical tools for you to have an even bigger impact, in the classroom and across your school.

The NPQs support career progression by building your expertise in areas of teaching and leadership and form part of the Department for Education’s golden thread of professional development.

At the end of your NPQ programme, you can expect to receive a well-recognised qualification, and to have gained the knowledge and expertise to make a difference to the lives of pupils in your school.

NPQ funding for autumn 2024

NPQ scholarship funding criteria has changed for autumn 2024. DfE funding will target those teachers and leaders who work in the most challenging schools or educational settings, serving more disadvantaged communities.

Find out more about the NPQ funding 2024 for autumn here

National Professional Qualifications available from 2024

There are ten NPQ programmes, five specialist NPQs and five leadership NPQs, including an Early Headship Coaching Offer which builds on the NPQ in Headship framework. The NPQ frameworks have been designed to meet current needs within the sector.

Register interest for yourself, your school or trust, to start an NPQ in September 2024.

Specialist NPQs

Our 12-month long specialist NPQ programmes help teachers and school leaders to develop their skills and knowledge in a specialist area. They are:

  1. NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture – Gain expertise in behaviour management and discover how to create a school culture where staff and pupils can thrive.
  2. NPQ in Leading Literacy – Become an expert leader of literacy and learn its importance in enabling young people to reach their full potential.
  3. NPQ in Leading Teaching – Discover what outstanding teaching looks like and use this knowledge to become a high performing leader of teaching.
  4. NPQ in Leading Teacher Development – Become an expert teacher educator and learn how to successfully support teachers to improve their practice
  5. NPQ in Leading Primary Mathematics – Become an expert leader of primary mathematics and learn how to embed high-quality Mastery approaches to maths teaching in your school.

To find out more about our specialist NPQs, read our blog: Specialist NPQs: The next step in your leadership development?

"Every module has impacted my practice. Each week, small adjustments as part of the apply tasks has positively benefitted my role." - NPQ Participant

Leadership NPQs

Our 18-month long leadership NPQ programmes give teachers and school leaders the opportunity to develop their leadership practice across a range of contexts. They are:

  1. NPQ in Early Years Leadership – Become an expert in early years leadership, helping to give children up to the age of five the best possible start in life.
  2. NPQ in Senior Leadership – Develop your leadership knowledge and expertise to improve outcomes for teachers and pupils across your school.
  3. NPQ in Headship* – Develop the knowledge that underpins expert school leadership and apply it to become an outstanding headteacher.
  4. NPQ in Executive Leadership – Develop the expertise you need to lead change and improvement across your schools or trust.
  5. NPQ for Special Education Needs Co-ordinators (Coming soon)– Become an expert in leading special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision in your school.

To find out more about our Leadership NPQs, read our blog: The Leadership NPQs: 6 Reasons To Get Excited

"It has supported and reinforced many things that I had been thinking about but didn't have the confidence to act on." - NPQ Participant

Early Headship Coaching Offer

If you are a headteacher in the first five years of headship, you should also consider the Early Headship Coaching Offer. This programme provides personalised support in specific areas that are relevant to your school context and helps you to embed learning from the NPQH in your day-to-day practice.

Eligibility criteria for the NPQs

Eligibility for our NPQs varies depending on the programme. You can find eligibility criteria on our individual programme pages.

Register your interest in our National Professional Qualifications (NPQs).

Delivery of NPQs

NPQs are designed to have the flexibility to fit around the responsibilities of your day-to-day role. Our ‘little and often’ approach to learning means that you will access pieces of programme content at regular intervals. This will help you to build the mental models needed to make a positive change in your practice.

NPQs are delivered through a blend of self-guided online modules, in-person sessions, and online, interactive sessions delivered in real-time by a facilitator.

Online sessions can be accessed on any device, allowing you to engage with programme content wherever you are. Any missed sessions can be caught up because of this flexibility in delivery.

Professional Development with Ambition

Enrolling on an NPQ with us means joining over joining over 29,000 teachers, school leaders and early years practitioners (as of March 2024) who have trusted Ambition Institute to help them develop their skills, knowledge and practice.

Our growing network gives you the chance to develop your skills and knowledge alongside your peers.

Find out more

NPQs: Your questions answered

How The NPQs support professional development for your school

How do our flexible NPQs support women's development?

How much time does it take to do an NPQ?

How do you learn on our NPQs?

How to apply for a National Professional Qualification

Learn more

Register your interest in our National Professional Qualifications (NPQs).

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