National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for UK Schools




What are National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)?

The prestigious National Professional Qualifications (NPQs), already widely recognised and trusted by the sector, are accredited by the Department for Education. They are designed to help you hone and develop the skills you already have, helping you become a more effective school leader and teacher in your school context.

How are the NPQs being reformed?

From September 2021, the reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) will offer teachers and leaders professional development opportunities and career progression pathways. These qualifications will build on key content areas of the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms. This allows for further specialisation and development of expertise, helping prepare teachers and leaders for the next step in their careers. 

The purpose of the reformed NPQs  is to:

  • help teachers and leaders build their capability in the profession, improve leadership in schools and improve outcomes for young people
  • retain high-calibre teachers by offering career development opportunities and progression routes

To best address the broad range of responsibilities of current and aspiring middle leaders, the Middle Leadership NPQ has been replaced with three new specialist NPQs.

The three specialist qualifications are:

  • NPQ Leading Teacher Development - developing teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school 
  • NPQ Leading Teaching  - developing teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage or phase. 
  • NPQ Leading Behaviour and Culture - developing teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour and culture and/or supporting pupil well-being in their school 

The three reformed leadership NPQs are:

  • NPQ Senior Leadership - developing school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities 
  • NPQ Headship - developing school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school 
  • NPQ Executive Leadership - developing school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher with responsibility for leading more than one school 

Which NPQs do you offer?

As the leading NPQ provider, Outstanding Leaders Partnership supported by Best Practice Network, is able to offer all 6 of the reformed NPQs.  See the Specialist NPQs and Leadership NPQs tabs for more information.

Why take a reformed NPQ?

The reformed suite of NPQs are designed to support improved leadership in schools and build capability. These new NPQs will continue to have a measurable impact on participants' leadership capacity, school improvement and pupil outcomes. 

NPQs are suitable for school leaders at each stage of their career, promoting leadership in specialist areas, aimed at middle leader development and progressing to Senior Leadership, Headship and Executive Leadership.

Benefits for schools include: 

  • Increased workforce capacity, capability and confidence 
  • Staff retention and succession 
  • Research-based improvement activity addressing priority needs

Specialist NPQs


National Professional Qualification: Leading Teaching

(NPQLT)

  • For teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage or phase.

  • Intakes

    Autumn & Spring

  • Duration

    12 months

  • Delivery Model

    Face-to-face or online-only

  • DfE Accreddited

  • # face-to-face days

    3

  • # online Learning hours

    34

  • Personal Online Tutor

  • PERFORMANCE Coaching

    6 hours

  • Total learning hours

    82

  • Assessment

    Case study scenario

Find out more

National Professional Qualification: Leading Behaviour & Culture

(NPQLBC)

  • For teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour and/or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school.

  • Intakes

    Autumn & Spring

  • Duration

    12 months

  • Delivery Model

    Face-to-face or online-only

  • DfE Accreddited

  • # face-to-face days

    3

  • # online Learning hours

    34

  • Personal Online Tutor

  • PERFORMANCE Coaching

    6 hours

  • Total learning hours

    82

  • Assessment

    Case study scenario

Find out more

National Professional Qualification: Leading Teacher Development

(NPQLTD)

  • For teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school. 

  • Intakes

    Autumn & Spring

  • Duration

    12 months

  • Delivery Model

    Face-to-face or online-only

  • DfE Accreddited

  • # face-to-face days

    3

  • # online Learning hours

    34 

  • Personal Online Tutor

  • PERFORMANCE Coaching

    6 hours

  • total learning hours

    82

  • Assessment

    Case study scenario

Find out more

Leadership NPQs


National Professional Qualification:

Senior Leadership

(NPQSL)

  • For those who are, or aspire to be, senior leaders leading across a school

  • Intakes

    Autumn & Spring

  • Duration

    18 months

  • Delivery Model

    Face-to-face or online-only

  • DfE Accreddited

  • # face-to-face days

    4

  • # online LEARNING hours

    38

  • Personal Online Tutor

  • performance Coaching

    10 hours

  • Total learning hours

    98

  • Assessment

    Case study scenario

Find out more

National Professional Qualification:

Headship

(NPQH)

  • For those who are, or aspire to be, headteachers leading across a whole school       

  • Intakes

    Autumn & Spring

  • Duration

    18 months

  • Delivery Model

    Face-to-face or online-only

  • DfE Accreddited

  • # face-to-face days

    5

  • # online LEARNING hours

    38

  • Personal Online Tutor

  • performance Coaching

    10 hours

  • total learning hours

    112

  • Assessment

    Case study scenario

Find out more

National Professional Qualification:

Executive Leadership

(NPQEL)

  • For those who are, or aspire to be, executive leaders with responsibility across more than one school

  • Intakes

    Autumn & Spring

  • Duration

    18 months

  • Delivery Model

    Face-to-face or online-only

  • DfE Accreddited

  • # face-to-face days

    6 (including 1 x 2 day event)

  • # online LEARNING hours

    38

  • Personal Online Tutor

  • performance Coaching

    10 hours

  • total learning hours

    124

  • Assessment

    Case study scenario

Find out more

Why Choose OLP?

Outstanding Leaders Partnership is a national, school-led partnership recently rated an ‘exceptional training provider’ by the DfE Quality Assurance Agent.  It is supported by Best Practice Network.

The quality review was based on the DfE National Professional Qualification (NPQ) Quality Framework.  The reviewers examined leadership and governance, face-to-face delivery, online courses, participant, facilitator and tutor support, assessment, organisation, quality control, marketing and recruitment, as well as the DfE metrics and impact. The reviewers identified exceptional performance in most areas of the Quality Framework. 

Read the full summary of our DfE Quality Review results here.

Our Impact

Outstanding Leaders Partnership has trained over 12,000 school leaders since 2017 and together with Best Practice Network is the leading training provider to education professionals in England.

In addition to the National Professional Qualifications, we offer school leader and early years apprenticeships, Early Years Initial Teacher Training, the National Award for SEN Coordination, Higher Level Teaching Assistant status and the level 4 diploma for School Business Managers. 

We are also excited to be able to add training and support for Early Career Teachers and their Mentors to our programme suite as a DfE approved national provider for the Early Career Framework reforms.

 We exceed a 93% pass rate across all our programmes

  We have exceeded DfE metrics for the NPQs for school leaders for the last 5 years – see metrics here

  97% of candidates would recommend us to a colleague

Key Principles of the Outstanding Leaders Partnership

Personalisation and choice

Flexible delivery to focus on the development needs of learners

Quality and relevance of qualification design and delivery

Empowering self-improvement and leadership impact

Contributing to the strategic improvement landscape

The partnership is supported by Best Practice Network (BPN), an accredited and award-winning national organisation that specialises in professional development training for schools and nurseries.



"I got the headship! The course was absolutely instrumental in my success at interview – I felt so confident because of my reading and the work we’ve done on the face-to-face days and projects. Thank you for your support and encouragement – it really helped.”"
Gaynor Jones NPQH candidate

Watch the video below to learn more about Outstanding Leaders Partnership and hear how our qualifications have impacted the careers of teachers and the attainment of pupils.