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National Professional Qualification for Leading Literacy (NPQLL)

This course is for teachers who lead, or aspiring to lead, on literacy in any phase of education. This includes teachers, heads of departments, teaching development leads and senior leaders.

You’ll become an expert leader of literacy and learn its importance in enabling young people to reach their full potential.

  • A 12-month specialist qualification
  • Access the latest evidence-based learning in literacy development
  • Flexible learning to suit your timetable
  • Fully funded for disadvantaged schools
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Why us?

Choose our NPQ for Leading Literacy and you’ll be joining over 29,000 teachers and school leaders (as of March 2024), who have decided on Ambition to complete their NPQ since they were launched in 2021.

NPQ scholarship funding has changed for autumn 2024!
Check if you’re eligible here >>

Evidence informed curriculum
Our carefully sequenced and evidence informed NPQ is designed around the key problems you face. You'll learn to implement tailored literacy strategies related to your school’s context.

Access the latest literacy research
This includes the science of learning, developing spoken language, reading including phonics, fluency and comprehension, and writing to support you in building your knowledge and practice.

Train to your timetable
Our ‘little and often’ approach means you can engage with our NPQs around your busy timetable, with minimal time needed out of school. On average just one hour per week to engage in our NPQLL.

No large project
Plus, on our NPQs there’s no large project at the end. Instead, you’ll sit an ‘open book’ assessment with support via two on-demand webinars and a dedicated, live assessment preparation clinic to help you get the most from your NPQ.

Benefits for you

Make a real difference
Ensuring that all pupils become confidently literate is an essential responsibility of leaders of literacy. The NPQLL will help you to offer all children in your school access to high-quality literacy in their education.

Excel at literacy leadership
Become a true champion of literacy. You’ll develop a thorough understanding of how you can improve literacy in your subject, phase and school, using the latest evidence informed research.

Impact your whole school
As well as providing the key domains of leading literacy, you’ll build your leadership skills by learning how to share your new literacy expertise through effective professional development and implementation, so you can enact lasting change in your context.

Designed by experts
Benefit from a programme which is designed and delivered by literacy, language, reading and writing specialists and experts from across the sector.

Invest in your future
Ongoing professional development helps you to grow and thrive as a leader. You will follow an evidence-informed framework and gain a professional accreditation at the end of the programme.

Learn to your pace
This programme is designed to fit around your busy teaching role. Much of the work can be completed in short bursts around your existing schedule.

Connect with your peers
You will train alongside literacy leaders from similar school contexts. You can share your experiences and build a strong support network.

Benefits for your school

Build brighter futures
By expertly championing literacy leadership in your school, you can make sure that every young person has the literacy skills to succeed across all curriculum areas.

Improve literacy at all levels
Participants will work on applying learning and improving literacy across your school and different subject areas – and support colleagues to do this too.

Put knowledge into practice
This programme gives literacy leaders a comprehensive and accessible evidence base. This allows them to bridge the gap between what they know and how to apply it effectively in your school, to improve literacy and outcomes for pupils.

Create a ‘golden thread’
The NPQs are all aligned. So, no matter what career stage your teachers are at, by joining this programme, they will benefit from an evidence-based framework. They will also share a common language with other NPQ participants that they can pass on to colleagues.

Invest in your leaders
By aligning staff professional development with wider school improvement priorities, you can make sure all pupils have access to high quality literacy support in their education.

Tap into a network
Your teachers will train alongside peers from other schools with similar contexts, supported by facilitators that fully understand your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Who is the NPQLL programme for?
The NPQ for Leading Literacy is designed for teachers who must be leading, or aspiring to lead, literacy in any phase of education. For example, you might be a head of literacy or literacy coordinator at your school or multi-academy trust.

How long does the NPQLL programme last?
The NPQ for Leading Literacy is a twelve-month programme, with a mixture of live, facilitated sessions and self-directed learning.

How does the NPQLL programme accommodate busy schedules?
The NPQ for Leading Literacy is designed to fit around your schedule with a 'little and often' approach that aligns with insights from the science of learning.

Is the NPQLL programme fully funded?
The NPQ for Leading Literacy is DfE-funded for teachers and school leaders who work in the most challenging schools or educational settings, serving more disadvantaged communities in England. Find out more about the eligibility criteria in the 'Funding' tab.

Are there any specific requirements to enrol on the NPQLL programme?
To be eligible for the NPQ for Leading Literacy, you must be a serving teacher in a school or eligible organisation in England and have completed your early career training.


Our NPQ for Leading Literacy course follows the Department for Education’s National Professional Qualification: Leading Literacy Framework.

On this programme, you will learn how:

  • to support staff, of all subject specialisms, to develop pupils’ language and literacy skills
  • pupils develop aspects of literacy, including how children learn to talk, how effective spoken language supports literacy development at every age, how children learn to become fluent readers and how teachers can support this across every stage, and explore the importance of subject-specific vocabulary and different strategies to teaching this
  • to support pupils' writing – whether learning to write in primary school, through to writing academically at key stage five
  • support, develop and teach pupils literacy using evidence-informed approaches
  • lead literacy through curriculum, culture and motivation
  • effective literacy education can support your school
  • to contribute to effective professional development for literacy, linking it to teaching, the curriculum and assessment across the school.

Note: programme content is subject to change.

How you'll learn

Our NPQLL is designed so you can engage in live, facilitated sessions alongside modules you can complete at any time.

Over 12 months, our NPQLL includes:

  • One full day conference.
  • Six courses (each course lasts about six weeks and loosely aligns with a school half term).
  • Each course includes six modules.
  • Five two-hour clinics (facilitated sessions).
  • One two-hour assessment clinic.
  • Three communities (1hr15mins group sessions).

The content is delivered through blended learning. This includes 8 hours of in-person delivery (v via 1 full day conference and at least 1 in-person twilight session), a mix of real-time, interactive online sessions and self-guided modules you complete in your own time.

The programme includes facilitator-led sessions with your peer group that focus on decision making. The programme starts with a one-day live conference.

Note: programme content is subject to change.


Join a local cohort with one of our regional partners and benefit from our expert curriculum design along with a tailored experience linked to your local context.

If you are unable to find a local cohort, you can join Ambition’s national cohort and gain a national network of peers. 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.


Our NPQ courses no longer include a large project at the end. Instead, you’ll sit an ‘open book’ style assessment in which you respond to a short case study.

The assessment window starts at the end of the 12-month programme and runs for three months. During this time, you’ll be given an eight-day window to complete the 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 you.



New for autumn 2024! DfE-funded scholarships for this NPQ will target those teachers and leaders who work in the most challenging schools or educational settings, serving more disadvantaged communities.

For the NPQ in Leading Teaching, funded scholarships will be available for those who meet the following criteria:

  • Have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage, or phase.
  • Work in the 50% of schools with the highest proportion of students who attract pupil premium funding and 16 to 19 educational settings identified as having high disadvantage in England.

Check if you’re eligible!
If you're unsure whether you will qualify for this 'pupil premium' based on funding, please use our online eligibility check tool.

Scholarship-funded places are very limited, so access to funding will be subject to availability. To have the best chance of claiming a funded place, please apply as soon as possible once applications open.

*Currently nurseries are not available yet on the tool. If you work in a nursery, please contact us directly at [email protected]

We expect more eligibility information including which schools and settings will be able to access this funding, to be provided by the Department for Education in the summer term.

If you do not work in an eligible school, the NPQ in Leading Literacy costs £899 plus VAT.

Get in touch to find out more.


Apply now to join our autumn 2024 cohorts >>
Apply by Tuesday 17 September for an October 2024 start.

Enquire here to find out more about our NPQs.

To apply, you must be leading, or aspiring to lead, literacy in any phase of education. For example, you might be a head of literacy or literacy coordinator at your school or multi-academy trust.

NPQs are not suitable for active Early Career Teachers.

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

Interested in the programme?