Frequently Asked Questions

Our NPQ application deadline is 14 September 2018. However, we urge all applicants expecting DfE funding to apply as early as possible due to the limited amount of funding available.

DfE Scholarship Funding
Candidates from schools that sit within a Category 5 or Category 6 area are eligible for fully funded DfE scholarships. Candidates from schools within MATs where at least one school sits within a Category 5 or Category 6 area are also eligible. Contact us with the name and address of your school and we will be glad to look up the Category of your school.
The DfE has put no limit on how many scholarships can be claimed per school. However, we encourage schools to ensure they have sufficient capacity to provide colleagues each with a school-based mentor, a suitable school improvement project they could individually lead on, and ensure they have capacity to support colleagues being out of school for the face-to-face events.
If you are eligible for a scholarship simply enter “Fully funded by scholarship/government funding” in the invoicing section of the application portal (as per the below image). Our back office team will then apply to the DfE for your scholarship. In this instance the rest of this section can be left blank.
Fully funded
No. If you work in a school which is in a Category 5 or Category 6 area neither you nor your school will be invoiced. Once your application has been accepted we will immediately apply to the DfE for the scholarship.

The DfE has said that it fully expects to be able to fund the autumn NPQ intake but in the unlikely event that funding runs out candidates who miss out on scholarships will be able to withdraw without incurring any fees. In the event scholarships are over-subscribed the DfE reserves the right to prioritise funding using the following criteria (in order of priority):

  1. Participants working in Opportunity Areas
  2. Participants working in schools where more than 30% of pupils receive Free School Meals
  3. Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) teachers and leaders
  4. Participants working in a school in an Opportunity Area, where the school is below the Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 4 floor standards
Groups & Locations
We will always endeavour to let you know of your group arrangements and course schedule no longer than 2 weeks after the recruitment window has closed. However, if recruitment demands are high and/or the application window is extended (which you’d be made aware of), the date of the announcement of course arrangements is subject to change.
Candidates who feel their group allocations are not sufficiently convenient are free to change group or withdraw from the course at no expense to themselves. We also have a distance learning model that allows candidates to complete the qualifications by attending webinars and taking part in online discussions instead of the face-to-face events (see Distance Learning Model below).
Distance Learning Model
The Distance Learning Groups engage with additional online activities and briefings in lieu of attending the face-to-face events. Overseas candidates are grouped according to time zones to meet each learner’s scheduling needs. The online replication of each training event involves:

  •  1 hour online briefing covering the key learning and introducing the supporting activities
  •  2 weeks online activity - Completing a selection of activities covering key themes and ideas of the face-to-face events

The web conferences and online discussion activities will typically fall 1 or 2 weeks after each training event has been held. As such, you will virtually be on the same schedule to complete the course.
Your time-frames for final assessment would remain unchanged at 18 months and you would still be expected to engage with, and complete, the three essential online courses alongside other candidates.
Eligibility Requirements
NPQML & NPQSL: You will need support from, and access to, a school setting, as a key requirement to be offered a place in the qualification. Furthermore, as part of your NPQML/SL qualification you are required to work closely with an in-school mentor. Your mentor will be a critical in providing support, advice and feedback as you work on your school improvement project. All candidate applications must be supported through the completion of a Headteacher Declaration, this declaration must be signed by your Headteacher and confirms that they support your place on the training and will provide the necessary time and support needed to successfully complete the qualification.
NPQH & NPQEL: You will need to be supported by a sponsor who will be closely involved in supporting your application to join the qualification, your subsequent development and in the final assessment process. This should be someone with a detailed and thorough professional knowledge of your work and professional characteristics as well as the demands of headship, the associated leadership behaviours and the requirements of the content areas. For example, your existing Headteacher (NPQH), Executive Head, School Improvement Partner, or the Chair of your accounting body.
We at the Outstanding Leaders Partnership pride ourselves on the support we offer our candidates. For the entirety of your leadership journey you will be supported by the following members of the team:
Title Purpose of role
Facilitator To facilitate face to face training events,
which consolidate the learning undertaken online and during in-school activity.
Online Tutor To support you through your online learning
experience; ensuring you are active and engaged in the programme.
Coach (NPQH and EL) To provide expert coaching to participants
throughout their qualification.
Mentor To provide support, guidance as well as
challenge you, ensuring you have capacity to complete you qualification.
Assessor Undertake assessment of the final written
submission and supporting evidence.
Operations Team All other support queries should be directed to
the Operations Team at Best Practice Network (
Our NPQs are delivered through a blended learning model consisting of a combination of face-to-face events, online courses & briefings and, for NPQH and NPQEL candidates, individual performance coaching. A detailed breakdown of the guided learning hours candidates can expect can be found in our soon to be published qualification specifications, but overall candidates will receive the following:
Qualification Guided learning hours
NPQH 112