National Professional Qualification
for Headship - International

Applications are now closed for the Spring 2022 NPQ Intake. If you would like to join the Autumn 2022 NPQ Intake please register your interest.

The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is accredited by the UK Department for Education (DfE). The qualification is delivered by Best Practice Network, a provider of UK accredited qualifications for education professionals worldwide.

The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is for those who are or are aspiring to become, a Headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school. This includes those with cross-school responsibilities such as a National Leader of Education (NLE).

We were recently rated ‘Exceptional’ by the DfE’s quality assurance agent and voted ‘Company of the Year’ at the BETT Awards. We are the market leader, and to date have supported over 500 candidates from 60+ countries to access and complete an NPQ.

National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Headship

NPQH gives candidates all of the essential knowledge, skills and concepts that underpin successful headship with candidates learning how to:

  • Establish and sustain the school’s strategic direction, with those responsible for governance
  • Establish and sustain an effective culture across the school
  • Establish and sustain effective planning and preparationacross the school
  • Ensure teaching across the school includes effective explanations and modelling
  • Ensure teaching across the school stimulates pupil thinking and understanding
  • See the NPQH Framework tab for full programme content

What are the benefits?

In recent years, Best Practice Network has grown into a nationwide network of 165 schools, multi-school organisations, dioceses and university partners.  The extensive expertise and diversity of our partner network allows us to develop rich, phase-specific, programme content which is delivered and facilitated by local experts in local schools.

Benefits for candidates

  • Focus on and develop the key skills needed for headship
  • Internationally recognised, high standard for leadership development
  • Challenge and development to deliver educational excellence in a self-improving system which will enable high-quality outcomes for pupils and students
  • Time to reflect on leadership practice and to network with a wide range of school leaders
  • Increased awareness and understanding of self and of the behaviours needed to lead a school
  • Increased confidence to drive the vision and improve standards
  • Increased capability and capacity to take on whole-school responsibility and a strengthened ability to hold others to account

Benefits for schools

    • Support succession of school leaders and build a cohesive, impact-focused school leadership team
    • A professionally aware and informed leader who can make evidence-based decisions and approach new challenges in an effective and efficient manner
  • The ability to delegate responsibility effectively empowering staff to lead on whole-school improvement
  • 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

Programme Delivery

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

NPQH candidates will attend 5 face-to-face events if they choose to complete the programme via the blended delivery model. Our international delivery network allows us to bring face-to-face training to a school near you and facilitated by local school leaders (please contact us for international locations).

Candidates access online learning and support via our virtual learning environment (VLE) Canvas. Through Canvas, candidates are able to engage with their peers, access multimedia content and submit work for assessment.


Online-only Delivery Model

NPQH candidates can choose to complete the programme via our online delivery model. This delivery model replaces the face-to-face events with facilitated webinars as well as extra tutor support and study packs.

Delivery Outline

Who is this for?

National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) – for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school.

The role of a headteacher is complex. Although some headteachers and principals still teach, the role is primarily a strategic and operational one and relies on working with and through their colleagues (in particular, through the leadership team) to ensure every pupil gets an excellent education.


Applicants must be in a current headteacher, deputy headteacher, vice principal or equivalent role and about 18 months away from applying for Headship (if not already in post).

If do not have QTS or QTLS, you will need to have completed a Level 5 qualification (any subject).

What does it cost?

NPQH International costs £2500 plus VAT where applicable. VAT is chargeable on courses funded by private individuals.

National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Headship Framework

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