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.
✓ Full scholarships available. Apply by December 20
At a glance
Total Learning Hours
What are the benefits?
The NPQH is a DfE accredited qualification.
The content and processes used within the programme are subject to robust external quality assurance so that schools and participants may have confidence that the areas studied have direct relevance to their current needs.
The NPQH 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
- Increased capability to set an ambitious vision for a school
- Increased knowledge and understanding of what effective headteachers need to know and do to successfully lead both the strategic direction of a school and its operational management
- Opportunities to network with other leaders in order to reflect on the latest research into effective school leadership and to explore practice in other settings
- Choose what to study. Our regular needs analyses support participants to focus their energies on those aspects of their leadership they most wish to develop
- Assessment tasks that involve professional enquiry into relevant aspects of your school’s current practices
- Flexible delivery arrangements according to needs and circumstances e.g. provision for staff who work part-time
Benefits for Schools - develop leaders who
- Have a sound understanding of the complexities of leading a school across each of its domains and is able to confidently lead the strategic direction of a school
- Understands that much of their work involves working with others to achieve the school’s strategic goals
- Is equipped with essential knowledge and understanding of effective practice in both strategic leadership and operational management and the ability to develop these skills in others
- Can lead and establish a culture of professional evidence-based enquiry at all levels in the organisation and guide teachers and other leaders in the development of their understanding of the science of learning
- Has the skills necessary to orchestrate a school’s improvement strategies by providing guidance to other leaders on effective strategies for the implementation of sustainable change
- Shares common understandings and a shared professional language with other leaders within and beyond their school – the ‘golden thread’ of professional development
"It's been a great experience. I have learned a lot and grown in my leadership. I am more confident and learning to work better with my team and school governing body."
- NPQH Graduate
Who is it for?
NPQH is suitable for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school.
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.
How is NPQH delivered?
NPQH makes use of a blended delivery model consisting of face-to-face events, online study, webinars and coaching
NPQH participants will attend 5 face-to-face events via the blended delivery model. Our nationwide delivery partnership network allows us to bring face-to-face training to a training centre in your region, 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 their learning communities of peers and access multimedia content. They can also access research and expert-led school practice aligned to the curriculum content for the qualification and receive high-quality feedback from experienced performance coaches.
NPQH Qualification Structure
Applicants must have full support from their school/organisation. A head teacher, member of the SLT, line manager or Chair of Governors (or similar authoritative role) must confirm their support and that all information submitted is true and correct. This is a Department for Education mandatory requirement.
To apply for NPQH, applicants must have the following:
- Teacher Reference Number - see TRN Support Guide
- 2 years teaching experience
- Leadership aspiration/experience
- Be 18-36 months from applying for a headship role (if not already a headteacher)
If you are unsure if you meet the above requirements or have other relevant experience then please contact our team who will be able to support your application.
The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) costs £1,975 plus VAT if applicable.
- VAT will not be applied to DfE funded candidates or state-funded schools
- Candidates from international schools should visit our NPQH international page
Scholarships have been confirmed for the Autumn NPQ intake as part of the government's long-term education recovery plan.
From Autumn 2022, organisations eligible to access scholarships include:
- State-funded schools
- State-funded 16 to 19 organisations
- Independent special schools
- Virtual schools (local authority run organisations that support the education of children in care)
- Hospital schools not already included in other categories of eligible organisations
- Young offender institutions
Local authority employed supply teachers will also be able to access scholarships.
The department has updated the Targeted Support Fund offer for the 2023 to 2024 academic year to further incentivise state-funded schools and state-funded 16-19 educational settings in England to participate in NPQs.
For each teacher or leader they employ who takes an NPQ in the 2023 to 2024 academic year:
- State-funded primary schools with one to 150 pupils will receive a grant payment of £800
- State-funded primary schools with more than 150 pupils will receive a grant payment of £200
- State-funded secondary schools and state-funded 16 to 19 educational settings with one to 600 pupils will receive a grant payment of £200
Targeted support funding is not available for participants taking the Early Headship Coaching Offer (EHCO) unless they're also taking another NPQ course.
If you work in a school, you can search the Get Information About Schools (GIAS) database to check how many pupils are recorded for your school.
If you work in a 16 to 19 education setting, you can check the list of 16 to 19 organisations eligible for targeted support funding in the academic year 2023 to 2024.
The leadership performance coach is a participant’s main point of contact for the duration of the NPQH. Their role is to support a participant’s progress and development through the programme. They will respond to practice task activities completed for each online course and provide challenge and feedback on each of the formative assessment tasks. Each participant will receive small group and individual coaching sessions from their leadership performance coach to develop their thinking and support their progress.
The in-school sponsor is someone who the NPQH participant can check in with across the duration of the programme and who can provide relevant professional guidance, support and challenge. The sponsor is not a formalised programme role but a go-to person to talk about their learning and development from the qualification and its application in practice. The sponsor may be a leader from another school/organisation.
The NPQ frameworks are based on a robust method of design and development, building on the evidence base and expert guidance already established in the ECF and the ITT Core Content Framework. The NPQ frameworks reflect the Teachers’ Standards and Headteachers' Standards to ensure coherency with the requirements already used by the teaching profession.
Please see the National Professional Qualification for Headship Framework below. If your computer or device does not support the Adobe plugin you can download the framework pdf here.
Fancy an extra challenge? Join the Headteacher Programme with NPQH to extend your leadership training and earn a full Level 7 qualification as well as the NPQH!
How to apply
We are now accepting applications for the Spring 2024 NPQH Cohort. Click below to apply.
Related Courses and Content
Headteacher Apprenticeship (with NPQH) Level 7
Designed for aspiring or recently appointed headteachers looking to improve their leadership capability.
Early Headship Coaching Offer (EHCO)
A programme for headteachers within the first 5 years of their headship, receive 1-2-1 coaching and join expert-led mentoring sessions.