The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL) for aspiring and serving executive heads and CEOs leading across several schools

Key Features

F2F events

With outstanding facilitators supported by guest sector experts and business leads


Performance coaching sessions

6 termly coaching calls and 3 group coaching sessions with an executive coach


Award winning online courses

Flexible facilitated study working alongside peers


360° diagnostics

Track your progress with leadership skills diagnostics


Multi-school improvement project

Work within a peer-set to lead improvement across several schools


Masters credits

Accrue Masters level credits

Who is this for?

NPQEL is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, an executive headteacher of a MAT with responsibility for leading several schools including established headteachers of individual schools who have experience of working with other headteachers on school improvement.

Qualification overview

NPQEL provides the opportunity to recognise the achievements of leaders across a group of schools. Experienced and talented leaders will form Peer Leadership Challenge Groups, undertaking a joint improvement project, before embarking on a course of study covering strategic planning, organisation change and business development. Candidates have access to high-quality learning materials and accounts of practice from outstanding leaders, including executive leadership coaching. We will provide guest speakers from major UK businesses and peer mentors from different sectors to offer perspectives and approaches from outside the education system.

The qualification has a flexible combination of blended learning and support opportunities that includes face-to-face sessions, online learning, leadership learning groups, dedicated personal tutor and peer support. Candidates will complete three modules covering three learning areas: Strategy and Improvement, Teaching and Curriculum Excellence, and Managing Resources and Risks, each facilitated within a 4-week period. All focus on improving the effectiveness of leadership practice and developing behaviours around commitment, collaboration, personal drive, resilience, awareness, integrity and respect.

NPQEL delivery model

Programme delivery

The face to face elements of our NPQ programmes are delivered in groups around specific locations. These locations are usually chosen for their ease of access and/or proximity to the majority of applicants.

What does it cost?

The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership costs £4,950 to undertake with OLP inclusive of final assessment. Full DfE scholarship funding is available for leaders from schools in Category 5 & 6 areas.

Terms and conditions

Please make sure that you read our terms and conditions before you register.

Application process

In order to be accepted onto NPQEL with OLP, prospective candidates must first pass our gateway assessment process. Our gateway assessment has been designed to ensure the readiness and suitability of applicants to undertake the qualification.

Applications must have the support of a nominated sponsor who is required to assess the applicant against the seven NPQEL leadership behaviours and confirm their support of the application.

Applicants must upload a completed copy of their NPQEL gateway assessment form as part of their registration for the qualification.

The ‘NPQEL gateway assessment form’ is available to download below.

NPQEL gateway assessment form

How to register

Registrations are taken through our partner Best Practice Network. The registration deadline for our Spring 2018 intake is 11.59pm on Friday 2 March 2018.