What are the benefits?

The School Leader Programme with NPQSL is a dual award which has mapped the DfE's NPQ for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) to the Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager Standard.

By mapping the two qualifications, we have created a programme which allows participants to complete two qualifications concurrently with a much smaller workload than would be required if completing the qualifications separately.

apprenticeship provider of the year


Benefits for participants

  • Access extra 1:1 coaching and content
  • Extend your leadership training
  • Gain an additional qualification
  • Train at no cost to you or your school 
  • Access to FranklinCovey resources
  • Aligns with recognition by The Chartered Management Institute - Full Member status, and The Institute of Leadership and Management - Full Member status
  • An experienced tutor guides you through both the programme and the National Professional Qualification (NPQ)
  • 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


"Having completed a number of professional qualifications during my time as a teacher, I have found this course to be the one that most clearly impacted upon my practice. In particular, the focus on linking theory and wider reading to my day job was hugely effectively. Rather than reflecting of hypotheticals, the course felt embedded in the reality of my job"

Leader Programme Graduate 


Who is it for?

The School Leader Programme with NPQSL is for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities.

Although the role varies, many senior leaders contribute to all aspects of the school through the leadership team as well as having a specific whole school responsibility of their own. This means the role is often both operational and strategic and relies on working with and through colleagues (in particular, through middle leaders) to ensure every pupil gets an excellent education.


How is the programme delivered?

This programme focuses on the holistic development of the appropriate skills, knowledge and behaviours, designed in partnership with cross-sector industries, to ensure bespoke coverage of all the relevant requirements of leading and managing at a senior/executive level at your setting or across multiple organisations.

Engaging with a programme is both a challenging and rewarding commitment which will fully prepare you for the demands and rewards of senior leadership. The image below outlines the components of the programme with the NPQ elements in blue and the apprenticeship elements in pink.

NPQSL Programme Structure


How is NPQSL delivered?

As outlined above, NPQSL makes use of a blended delivery model consisting of face-to-face events, online study, webinars and coaching.



NPQSL participants will attend 4 face-to-face events via the blended delivery model. Our nationwide delivery partnership network allows us to bring face-to-face training to a school near you and facilitated by local school leaders.

Online Learning

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, receive high-quality feedback from experienced performance coaches and submit work for assessment.


Why should I undertake the dual award?

NPQSL Programme Benefits


To view the total learning hours of the School Leader Programme with NPQSL compared to the standalone NPQSL, please view the image below:

School Leader Programme with NPQSL Learning Hours Chart

  • Candidates must be able to evidence level 2 English and Maths prior to undertaking end-point assessment.
  • Applicants must be in a middle leader role as a minimum and have completed 2 full years of teaching.
  • 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 https://teacherservices.education.gov.uk/SelfService/Login.
  • For those with QTLS, you can download a copy of your certificate here https://set.et-foundation.co.uk/my-set/my-profile. 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 https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/
  • 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 https://enic.org.uk/Qualifications/SOC/Default.aspx to demonstrate your Level 5 qualification is comparable to UK qualifications.

How do I access the funding?

The School Leader Programme with NPQSL can be funded through your school’s apprenticeship levy. Schools will be able to access the funding through their apprenticeship service (AS) account.

If your school needs help setting up your AS account, just let us know and we’ll guide you through it.

The School Leader Programme with NPQSL costs £7,000 from Apprenticeship Levy funds or co-investment for non-levy payers where the government pays 95% (the NPQSL standalone cost is £1140).

The level of funding depends on each candidate’s learning needs, with a maximum allocation of £7,000 to cover the cost of the apprenticeship.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The levy is paid by large employers with a wage bill of over £3 million. These employers pay 0.5% of their total annual pay bill into the levy. Most state-maintained schools and multi-academy trusts pay into the levy.

The levy is designed to create long term sustainable funding for apprenticeships and to give employers more control to provide their staff with a range of training opportunities.

Apprenticeship funded training is designed for both new and existing staff members.

On 8th December, 2021, our NPQ and Apprenticeships teams delivered a webinar consisting of a 30 minute presentation about the Leaders Apprenticeships followed by a Q&A session.

The presentation covered all aspects of a Leaders Apprenticeships including a look at the programme delivery structure, the role of the Apprenticeship Tutor and how to go about accessing Apprenticeship Levy funding. Please find a recording of the webinar below. The slides used during the presentation can be downloaded here.

Our School Leader Programme dual award includes the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL). For more information about NPQSL click here.

Best Practice Network is one of the leading providers of NPQSL nationally and the quality of our provision is rated ‘Exceptional’ by the DfE’s external quality assurance agent.

You can view our performance against the national metrics here.

How to apply

We are now accepting applications for our School Leader Programme with NPQSL Spring 2024 Intake. Click below to apply.

Apply Now


Related Courses and Content