National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

In 18 months, you will develop the expertise you need to become an outstanding executive leader, leading change and improvement across your group of schools or multi-academy trust.

  • Learn from experts in executive leadership
  • Excel as an executive school leader
  • Flexible learning to suit your timetable
  • Gain an NPQEL accreditation

Why us?

We've designed this new, fully-funded NPQ to help you put evidence-based leadership methods into practice and drive change in your schools or multi-academy trust.

Our 'little and often' approach uses the latest research to help you apply your learning to persistent problems. You will train alongside other leaders with similar responsibilities, with content focusing on the key challenges you face in your role.

With no project work and minimal time out of school, the new NPQs are designed to fit around your busy timetable.

Benefits for you

Excel as an executive leader
Set an ambitious vision for your schools or trust and create the conditions and culture needed for staff and pupils to thrive.

Learn from experts
Join expert-led coaching sessions where you’ll get advice from experts and tailored feedback on your performance.

Train to your timetable
This programme is designed to be completed alongside your daily role. It is delivered in short, bite-sized chunks, which is proven to be useful for knowledge retention, and will fit around your existing commitments.

Form a strong support network
Connect with other school leaders, share your collective expertise and build a tight-knit network with people who face the same challenges as you.

Benefits for your school or trust

Focus on your specific needs
Traditionally, professional development in leadership has focused on personal traits, such as the qualities of dynamic and charismatic leadership. The new and reformed NPQs pay more attention to the knowledge leaders need to tackle the persistent problems of their daily roles.

Share a common knowledge base
National Professional Qualifications are aligned, so all educators will be working to the same framework and be able to share a common language for developing a school or trust.

Learn from the best
Ambition Institute has a proven track record in delivering continuous professional development. Your leaders will benefit from the latest evidence-based learning and develop expert knowledge in all areas of school leadership.

Gain expert knowledge
This programme is led by experts, giving your executive leaders the chance to connect with a network of talented educators and put what they learn into practice at your organisation.


Our programmes are designed for participants to engage in both live, facilitated sessions and modules that you can complete at any time.

Over 18 months, this includes:

  • Expert-led coaching.
  • Two full day conferences (6hrs each).
  • Nine courses (each course lasts six weeks).
  • Each course includes six modules.
  • Four two-hour clinics (facilitated sessions).
  • One two-hour assessment clinic.
  • Nine communities (one-hour group sessions).

What you'll learn

This programme develops your executive leadership skills and knowledge and covers the content listed in the Department for Education’s NPQ Executive Leadership Framework.

You will learn how to:

  • create a positive and effective culture across your schools or trust
  • support school leaders and your senior team to put in place an evidence-informed approach to designing the curriculum
  • give clear feedback to teachers and make sure they are supported with guidance and training to do their jobs effectively
  • create and sustain a positive, safe and predictable environment for all pupils across your schools or trust
  • work with school leaders and your senior team to make sure professional development priorities are aligned with plans to improve your school or trust
  • work effectively in partnership with parents, the community and other schools and trusts
  • participate in governance and be fully transparent and accountable

Note: programme content is subject to change.

How you’ll learn

The content is delivered through a mix of real-time, interactive online clinics and self-guided modules you complete in your own time. You will put what you learn into practice across your schools or trust, tracking your progress and getting feedback as you go. You will also benefit from coaching sessions led by experts and peer-based learning.

Note: programme content is subject to change.


The assessment window starts at the end of the 18-month programme and runs for three months. During this time, participants will be given an eight-day window to sit an ‘open book’ style assessment in which they respond to a short case study.

There are two assessment windows every year, and participants can sit the assessment two times, if they need to.

You need to complete the course to qualify for the NPQ accreditation.

We will offer a webinar and live clinic in advance of the assessment window to support participants.



NEW: The Department for Education has extended scholarship funding eligibility to all state schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England.

DfE-funded scholarships are available for this NPQ for all those who meet the following criteria:

  • Have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for executive leadership in their across a group of schools or multi-academy trust.
  • Work in a state-funded school or organisations that offer 16-19 places in England.

Register your interest here to find out if you're eligible.

If you do not work in an eligible school, the NPQ in Executive Leadership costs £4,050 plus VAT.

New for 2022

NPQ Scholarship funding has been extended for Autumn 2022 cohorts. Organisations now also 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.

Support fund for small schools

The DfE have introduced a new Targeted Support Fund for small schools, to enable them to support their teachers and leader to undertake the NPQs.

This is a grant payment of £200 per participant to settings with 1-600 schools for every teacher or leader they employ who participates on an NPQ.

Get in touch to find out more here.


Applications are now open for our Autumn 2022 NPQ cohorts. Start your application here.

To apply, you must be a school leader who is, or is aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools.

Funded places are only available to those working in schools in England.

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?