Early Headship Coaching Offer for new headteachers (EHCO)

Are you a new headteacher? Available alongside the NPQ in Headship (NPQH), our Early Headship Coaching Offer provides you with personalised support to help you solve problems relevant in your school context.

  • Personalised, tailored support to your role
  • One-to-one expert coaching and school visits
  • Access to an experienced Headteacher
  • Get help applying expertise from your NPQH to your context

#encodeForHtmlAttribute( photo.alt )#

Why us?

Choose our Early Headship Coaching Offer and you’ll be joining over 25,000 teachers and school leaders (as of November 2023), who have decided on Ambition to complete their NPQ since they were launched in 2021.

Our EHCO provides you with tailored, personalised support to apply knowledge from the NPQH to your school context.

We have designed this support offer for new headteachers to accompany the NPQ in Headship, to help you put the evidence and expertise from your NPQH into practice in your school setting

Over three terms you will benefit from expert guidance from an experienced, serving headteacher who works in a similar setting or phase, to help you apply expertise from the NPQH, to overcome the challenges and complex problems you face in your day-to-day role.

Our ‘little and often’ approach mean you can engage with our NPQs around your busy timetable, with minimal time needed out of school.

And with our growing network, you’ll train alongside fellow teachers with similar responsibilities, with content focusing on the key challenges you face in your role.

Plus, on our NPQs there’s no large project at the end. Instead, you’ll sit an ‘open book’ assessment with support via a live webinar and clinics available to help you get the most from your NPQ.

Benefits for you

Get ongoing personal support

Being new to a headship role can be daunting. The EHCO will help you to find your feet by identifying your priorities and looking at structured, practical ways to tackle context specific problems.

Receive one-to-one coaching

You’ll get one-to-one coaching from an expert Headteacher who can provide support, insight and feedback to help you deal with the specific challenges you’re facing in your school.

School shadowing experience

Contextualise your NPQH expertise in a real school setting by shadowing an experienced headteacher. Your coach will explain the steps they have undertaken, their rationale, and any obstacles they have overcome in their school, supporting you to understand how they have applied expertise to their practice.

Build your network

You’ll also gain an effective peer community with a small group of headteachers facing similar challenges as you, providing a network that lasts long after you’ve completed the EHCO. These online sessions will explore the common challenges you are experiencing and help you overcome them.

Benefits for your school or trust

Improve staff retention

An investment in your new headteacher shows your commitment to their career progression and job satisfaction. This means they’ll be more likely to stay in their post and become an effective leader.

Learn from experts

Your headteacher will receive one-to-one coaching and support from an experienced headteacher who will share their knowledge and professional insight.

Tackle existing challenges

Coaching and shadowing will focus on applying expertise from the NPQH to the problems your headteacher might be experiencing in their role. They will be guided by expert coaches to arrive at effective solutions to tackle the problems they face in their school.

Create a positive school culture

A headteacher that feels supported and has the training and tools to create positive change, will lead to a happier workforce, better teaching and more positive outcomes for your pupils.

Frequently asked questions

Who is the EHCO programme for?
The Early Headship Coaching Offer is designed for new headteachers in the first five years of their role and are currently on, have completed, or applying for an NPQ in Headship.

How long does the EHCO programme last?
The Early Headship Coaching Offer is a twelve month programme, with a mixture of live, facilitated sessions and self-directed learning.

How does the EHCO programme accommodate busy schedules?
The Early Headship Coaching Offer is designed to fit around your schedule with a 'little and often' approach that aligns with insights from the science of learning.

Is the EHCO fully funded?
The Early Headship Coaching Offer is fully funded for teachers and school leaders, at eligible schools and organisations in England, by the Department for Education. Find out more about the eligibility criteria in the 'Funding' tab.

Are there any specific requirements to enrol on the EHCO programme?
To be eligible for the Early Headship Coaching Offer, you must be a serving teacher in a school or organisation in England and have completed your early careers training.


Our Early Headship Coaching Offer is tailored to your needs with the content covered will depend on your school’s specific challenges.

It’s structured around the persistent problems of school leadership. You will select from these topics and personalise the course to support areas they want to develop expertise in. Each headteacher will select three persistent problems over the duration of the course:

  • School culture: Establishing a professional and supportive school culture and encouraging staff to contribute.
  • Learning and development: Ensuring effective approaches to professional learning and development.
  • Curriculum: Organising and teaching the curriculum.
  • Behaviour: Attending to pupil behaviour and wider circumstances.
  • School improvement: Analysing and diagnosing problems, planning and implementing strategies for continuous educational improvement.
  • Administration: Managing an efficient and effective organisation.

Note: programme content is subject to change.

How you'll learn

Content is shared via workbooks situated on our online development platform participants will access on workbook for each persistent problem they select.

The workbook shares an expert edit, to build on the expertise developed in the NPQH. Participants will use this knowledge building to focus and define a context-specific problem.

This course focuses on developmental opportunities for you. Your context specific problem will be developed through one-to-one coaching sessions with an experienced headteacher.

You’ll be able to shadow the expert headteacher, engaging in a range of activities which will help you to better understand your problem and possible solutions. You will also have regular peer-group discussions with other headteachers via online video conferencing, to work through work-related dilemmas.

Note: programme content is subject to change.


Join a central cohort and gain a national network of peers or you can choose an NPQ cohort in your area with one of our regional partners with all the contextual benefits of your area.

With our regional partners, you’ll benefit from our expert curriculum design along with a more tailored experience linked to your local context. Either way, we work to give you the best possible experience.

Find a cohort that’s local to you in our list of partners here.

What our partners can do for you

Ambition Institute provides high-quality content and materials, built on our experience in schools and other learning environments, and our deep knowledge of evidence and practice.

Our partner in your region will put this knowledge into context and manage your experience on the programme, from facilitation to day-to-day support.

The timings and methods of activity, sizes of cohorts and the cost of the programme may vary across delivery partners.


Don’t miss out on a fully funded NPQ! Our spring 2024 cohorts are currently our last intake to be fully funded by the DfE.

The Department for Education NPQ scholarship funding is available for new headteachers working in state schools and state funded organisations, including those that offer 16-19 age places in England.

New headteachers are eligible for this targeted support package if you meet all these criteria:

  • work in a state-funded school in England
  • are in your first five years of headship
  • have previously completed an NPQH, are applying for an NPQH, or are currently doing an NPQH with us or another NPQ provider.

Extended eligibility.

Organisations now eligible to access scholarships include:

  • independent special schools.
  • virtual schools (Local Authority run organisations that support the education of children in care).
  • hospital schools not already included in other categories of eligible organisations.
  • young offender institutions.

If you don't work in an eligible school, the Early Headship Coaching Offer costs £800 plus VAT.

Get in touch to find out more here.


Applications are open for our spring 2024 NPQ cohorts. Start your application here.

Don’t miss out on a fully funded NPQ, apply by 12 March! Our spring 2024 cohorts are currently our last intake to be fully funded by the DfE.

Alternatively, please fill out this quick enquiry form to register your interest and find out more about the programme.

You can take advantage of the Early Headship Coaching Offer at the same time as doing the new NPQ for Headship.

If you have any questions, email [email protected] and a member of our team will be in touch with next steps.

Interested in the programme?