The registration window for NPQ programmes starting in Autumn 2019 will close on Friday 31 May 2019. There is a 5% early bird discount for applications received by 31 May. Full scholarship funding may be available for candidates in eligible regions. Contact our NPQ team to find out more.

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) provides professional development and recognition for those taking on responsibility for a team.

Key Features

F2F events

Facilitated by school leaders from outstanding schools


Award winning online courses

Flexible facilitated study working alongside your peers


MA credits

Gain Masters credits towards an MA in Educational Leadership with Chester University

Who is this for?

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a middle leader with responsibility for leading a team such as a key stage leader, a curriculum area leader, a pastoral services leader, a subject leader or a head of department.

This includes those who are, or are aspiring to be, a middle leader with cross-school responsibilities e.g. a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE).

Qualification overview

NPQML provides recognition of leadership development and professional achievement for middle leaders. Candidates have access to high-quality learning materials and accounts of practice from outstanding leaders. Middle leaders reflect on their own leadership through discussion and debate with peers and put theory into practice.

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership has been designed to stimulate and challenge thinking, build knowledge, skills and expertise, and promote change and improvement in leadership behaviours, capability and capacity. Modules are contextualised for leaders in different types of school (such as primary, secondary, special or faith) and content is written and regularly reviewed by serving school leaders and subject matter experts.

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 two essential and one elective module. The modules cover three learning areas: Strategy and Improvement, Teaching and Curriculum Excellence, and Managing Resources and Risks. All focus on improving the effectiveness of leadership practice and developing behaviours around commitment, collaboration, personal drive, resilience, awareness, integrity and respect.

NPQML delivery model

NPQML allows you to accrue 40 credits towards an MA in Educational Leadership with Chester University. Assessment criteria is matched so there is no extra cost for the credits and you can enter the MA course by making a secure claim for previous learning through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) process.

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.

Distance learning

In the event that there isn’t a convenient group to attend near you it is possible to study for an NPQ in a distance learning group. We will replicate the face-to-face events and activities online. Overseas candidates will be grouped according to time zones to try to meet each learner’s scheduling needs.

What does it cost?

For candidates within the UK the NPQML costs £950. Full DfE scholarship funding is available for leaders from schools in Category 5 & 6 areas subject to certain criteria.

More details about eligibility criteria for scholarship funding.

International candidates wishing to complete the NPQML should click here for course costs.

Application Process – NPQML

In order to be accepted onto NPQML with OLP, prospective candidates must secure support from their Headteacher to:

  • provide release time, mentoring and other support needed to enable the applicant to complete the qualification
  • provide a school improvement priority task for the applicant to lead a team for an extended period
  • provide evidence/verification that the applicant has completed this task when submitting for final assessment

Only applicants with a completed corresponding Headteacher declaration form will be accepted onto the qualification & offered a place in one of our delivery groups.

You can download the NPQML Headteacher declaration form from the link below:

NPQML Headteacher Declaration Form

Terms and conditions

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

How to register

Registrations are taken through our partner Best Practice Network.

The registration window for NPQ programmes starting in Autumn 2019 is open.
There is a 5% early bird discount for applications received by 31 May.
Scholarship funding is limited so we are advising all candidates to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment (see scholarship notice).