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NPQ in Headship

Our NPQH is designed for ambitious school leaders who want to be – or already are – a headteacher. NPQs at the National Institute of Teaching are school-led: our organisation was founded by four leading Multi-Academy Trusts, and our programmes are designed and delivered with a focus on the realities of schools. Because teachers’ time is precious, our programmes are respectful of your time, and designed to have immediate impact on the pupils and colleagues in your school, as well as the colleagues and children you will work with in the future.

Aspiring Headteacher, Headteacher
National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH)
Start Date:
October 2024
Programme Length:
18 Months
  • Overview
  • Why study at the NIoT?
  • What you'll learn
  • How you'll learn
  • Time commitment
  • Location
  • Assessment
  • How to apply
  • Funding


Running a school is the closest educators can get to seeing their vision for a great education brought to life. Great Headteachers bring themselves and their vision to their particular context, and create the conditions for teachers to give pupils a potentially life-changing education.

Our NPQ in Headship is designed by the Headteachers of some of the country’s top performing schools, and through the course of the programme you will meet many of them, learning from them as they facilitate your sessions, hearing their inspirational stories through masterclasses, and visiting their schools through virtual visits. You will gain the crucial knowledge needed to succeed in this complex and challenging role, as well as the opportunity to apply your knowledge to your own context.

Why study at the NIoT?

The National Institute of Teaching was founded by four leading multi-academy trusts. Our programmes are underpinned by leading research and driven by what we have found works best in schools. Through our programmes, we aim to ensure participants develop their leadership to ensure their hard work and dedication has the maximum impact on pupils.

Our programmes are school-led: they are delivered by individuals who work in schools, right now. That means they have the in-depth, domain-specific knowledge to help you grapple with content at the right level, and to support you to problem-solve and apply learning to your own context.

Our programmes are centred on impact: our aim is for your practice to improve and develop in your current context, and for you to be ready and to take the next step in your career as a result of learning with us. We have designed our programmes carefully, and work closely with school leaders through our regional structures, as well as working with participants, to ensure our programmes are impactful in your context.

Our programmes are respectful of your time: we know you spend most of your time doing the most important job there is – serving the children in your community. That’s why our programmes are designed to be flexible, to deliver exactly what you need in the most time-efficient manner possible, and to have impact.

Our programmes are rooted in research: every aspect of what you learn is based on the best available research as well as what we have seen and experienced to work best in our founding multi-academy trusts and associate colleges.

Our programmes allow you to build a community: our in-person local seminars are focused on peer learning and problem solving together. As well as applying your learning to your own context, you will have the opportunity to build your network and support one another’s development beyond your time learning with the NIoT.

What you'll learn

  • How to establish and drive your school’s strategic direction
  • How to set whole-school culture, creating a safe and secure environment for pupils and adults to learn, work and develop
  • How to ensure curriculum and lesson planning is effective across all areas of your school
  • How to develop and maintain the quality of teaching in your school
  • How to design and implement assessment practices which produce valid and reliable data, and how to drive actions based on this data through others
  • How to ensure all pupils experience success and enjoy a positive school experience, including those for whom school is more challenging
  • All aspects of statutory compliance you need to know as a headteacher, including safeguarding, exclusions, risk management, HR and finance
  • How to work effectively with internal and external stakeholders
  • All aspects of governance and external organisations you will need to manage as a headteacher

How you'll learn

Local seminars: extend your learning with an expert, school leader facilitator, build your network and apply your learning to your own context.

Virtual school visits: visit some of the country’s leading schools, learning about how they have developed and improved their practice over time to deliver exceptional outcomes and experiences for young people.

Online masterclasses: hear school-based sector experts sharing best practice from their context and experience.

Online group coaching: apply your learning to scenarios and to your own context, with the feedback and guidance of an expert school-based coach.

Online self-studies: learn cutting-edge research and how it is being applied successfully in schools.

Time commitment

There are two or three scheduled events every half term, some online and some in-person. There are also around four to eight hours of self study.


Please contact so that we can let you know your nearest National Institute of Teaching delivery school or centre.

We can confirm that we will be delivering NPQs in schools near the following locations:

North and West: Blackburn, Manchester, Leyland and Skelmersdale

South, East and London: Norwich, London and South Essex

North and East: Tyne and Wear, Doncaster, Redcar, Halifax, Gateshead, Washington, Peterlee and Grimsby

South and West: Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, Swindon, South Staffordshire, Dudley, Sandwell, Worcester and Walsall

More locations will be added regularly, please check back/apply and we’ll confirm if there’s delivery near you.


In order to receive NPQH accreditation, participants will need to complete the programme and achieve a pass mark in a written, ‘open book’ style, structured assessment of up to 2,000 words.

We will support participants with writing clinics before they embark on gaining their accreditation.

The assessment itself takes place over an eight-day window. There are two assessment windows per year and participants have two opportunities to take part.  

How to apply

Applications are not yet open for this programme. Please register your interest here to be the first to know when applications open.


Funding update for Autumn 2024:

The DfE has now confirmed that all state schools are eligible for fully-funded places on the NPQH Autumn 2024 cohort.

We are expecting more details from the DfE in the summer on the practical arrangements on how funding will work, and will update this page as soon as we have this. In the meantime you can find the DfE messaging here.

Contact us

Please get in touch to find out more about our programmes and find out where we are delivering them near you.

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