National Professional Qualification
for Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

 NPQs fully-funded for all maintained schools - Apply by 17th December for a Spring start

National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Executive Leadership

NPQEL gives participants all of the essential knowledge, skills and concepts that underpin successful executive leadership.  Participants will cover ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements in ten areas:

  • 1 – School Culture
  • 2 – Teaching
  • 3 – Curriculum and Assessment
  • 4 – Behaviour
  • 5 – Additional and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • 6 – Professional Development
  • 7 – Organisational Management
  • 8 – Implementation
  • 9 – Working in Partnership
  • 10 – Governance and Accountability
  • See the NPQEL Framework tab for full programme content

What are the benefits?

The fully blended learning approach combined with performance  coaching and enrichment activities make this an exciting and valuable opportunity for current and aspiring executive leaders.

The NPQEL qualification is aligned to Masters credits and can act as a springboard on to Liverpool Hope University’s MA in Leading in Education or the MBA in Educational Leadership.


Benefits for Participants

    • National and international networking
    • Increased awareness and understanding of self and of the behaviours needed to lead across multiple organisations
    • Opportunity to reflect on relevant research and pedagogy and leadership practice
    • Access to high-quality feedback and ongoing interaction with qualified performance coaches
    • Increased capability and capacity to take on a multi-school organisation - having the skills, knowledge and understanding to do the job more effectively

Benefits for schools

      • Increased national networking and partnership opportunities
      • Insight into the systems, sectors and sources of effective leadership practice
      • A professionally aware and informed leader who can make evidence-based strategic decisions and approach new challenges in an effective and efficient manner
      • The ability to review and evaluate practice in order to bring about change and get the best for young people and staff within the organisation


    Why did you sign up for the NPQEL with OLP?

    What has been a highlight of the NPQEL programme for you?

    Has the programme made a difference to you personally as a leader in terms of behaviour?

    How is NPQEL delivered?

    NPQEL makes use of a blended delivery model consisting of face-to-face events, online study, webinars and coaching.

    NPQEL participants will attend 6 face-to-face events (including 1 x 2 day conference) via the blended delivery model. Our nationwide delivery partnership network  allows us to bring face-to-face training to a regional conference centre ,  facilitated by experienced  school leaders and facilitators.

    Participants access online learning and support via our virtual learning environment (VLE) Canvas. Through Canvas, participants are able to engage with learning communities of  peers and access multimedia content. They can also access research and expert school-led practice aligned to the curriculum content for the qualification and receive high-quality feedback from experienced performance coaches. 


    NPQEL Qualification Structure

    Who is this for?

    NPQEL is suitable for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher with responsibility for leading several schools and have a minimum of three years as a headteacher or head of school. 


    Applicants must be a serving Head Teacher (or equivalent role) with a minimum of 3 years’ experience.

    All applicants must have either QTS, QTLS, a Level 5 (or higher) qualification (any subject), or an international equivalent (see below). You must be able to evidence this with a copy of your certificate.

    For those with QTS, you can download a copy of your certificate here

    For those with QTLS, you can download a copy of your certificate here If for any reason you are unable to provide a copy of your certificate, you will need to ask a representative from the school where you are teaching to contact Capita Teachers' Pensions. Your employer should know how to do this via the Capita employer portal

    If do not have QTS or QTLS, you will need evidence completion of a Level 5 qualification (any subject). For International applicants, you will need to apply for a UK ENIC Statement of Comparability to demonstrate your Level 5 qualification is comparable to UK qualifications.

    What does it cost?

    The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL) costs £4,095 plus VAT if applicable.
    VAT will not be applied to DfE funded candidates or state-funded schools.


    NPQEL is also available to colleagues in England as part of a Leaders Apprenticeship funded by the Apprenticeship Levy. For more information please visit


    Teachers and leaders employed in state-funded schools as well as those employed in state-funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access fully-funded DfE NPQ scholarships for the Spring 2022 NPQ Intake. The scholarships cover the full cost of the qualification and there is no limit to how many scholarships a single school can access. Simply apply for NPQEL and we will apply for the scholarship on your behalf. 

    To view the full range of NPQ scholarships and funding pathways available please visit NPQ Funding 2021.

    Access to funding remains conditional on successful verification of participants’ registration information against Teaching Regulation Agency records, so you must ensure that the information supplied to your NPQ provider matches your teacher record. You can check and update your record via the Teaching Regulation Agency’ Teacher Self-Service Portal.

    NPQEL Framework

    Please see the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership Framework below. If your computer or device does not support the Adobe plugin you can download the framework pdf here.