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NPQ in Headship

Our NPQH is designed for ambitious school leaders who want to be – or already are – a headteacher.

Developed by some of the most successful school leaders in the country, the programme will harness the NIoT’s leading research, putting it to practical use. Because our programme has been designed by teacher-educators who have spent their own careers in schools, there will be no time wasted: we will provide only the information essential to helping you do your job efficiently, effectively and in a way that inspires pupils to success.

Aspiring Headteacher, Headteacher
National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH)
Start Date:
February 2024
Programme Length:
18 Months
DfE funding available (see detail below)
  • Overview
  • Benefits
  • Why study at the NIoT?
  • Curriculum
  • Time commitment
  • Location
  • Assessment
  • How to apply
  • Funding


The step from senior leader to headteacher can be a daunting one. The buck really does stop at the headteacher's desk - but that responsibility comes with the priceless opportunity to make a genuine difference in children's lives.

Our NPQH provides a bridge from successful senior leadership to headship. It will build your confidence when it comes to the essential aspects of headship, such as leading curriculum and assessment, developing behaviour strategies and implementing school improvement.

But it will also remind you that effective leadership of a school, ultimately, is about people. You will learn how to be an empathetic, humane headteacher: to encourage and support members of staff, to communicate effectively with parents and carers, and to make school a safe, welcoming place for every pupil who attends.

Headship can be a lonely place. You are surrounded by people, but they all look to you for advice and guidance. An NPQH will provide you with an invaluable community of likeminded leaders and headteachers, to whom you will be able to turn for advice and support throughout your headship.


  • Realise your vision: You will learn the skills necessary to set an ambitious vision for your school, creating an environment where staff and pupils can thrive.
  • Research-informed practice: You’ll have access to the latest and best evidence of what works in education, but will also be supported in turning it into real, hands-on practice.
  • Essential knowledge: There is no fluff – every minute spent working towards an NPQH enables you to make a greater impact in your job.
  • Community of educators: You’ll be part of a diverse community of educators, all learning from one another during the course – and potentially afterwards, too.
  • Personalised learning: You’ll be able to focus on specific areas of leadership where you want to improve your knowledge and subsequently transform that knowledge into action.
  • Fulfilment: The better and more knowledgeable you are at your job, the more enjoyable and exciting you will find it – and that enthusiasm will be passed on to your pupils.

Why study at the NIoT?

We are a new, pioneering institute, representing a diverse community of schools. We have worked with some of the leading names in education to develop an NPQH programme that specifically addresses the most complex challenges of high-level work in schools.

Our blend of online and in-person learning will include masterclasses with some of the most experienced figures in education today. And we offer a chance to work with schools across a wide range of contexts.

It is an exciting time to be a school leader right now: there is an ever-increasing body of evidence of what works in education. We will be generating our own research, and putting those findings to immediate use in the classroom. We are part of a new school-led movement to change education – if you join us, you will be helping to shape the teaching profession for the future. And you will be learning alongside similarly driven, enthusiastic school leaders, building networks and forging connections.

We are rooted in schools. We know the unpredictability of school life – the day-to-day challenges that teachers face. Our time-efficient programmes have been drawn up specifically to meet the needs of busy school leaders. Our programme will give you only the information essential to becoming the best and most effective leader you can be.


What you’ll learn:

  • How to build and maintain a clear and nurturing school culture
  • How to ensure effective teaching and to support curriculum and assessment development
  • How to establish and sustain a positive, predictable, safe environment for pupils
  • How to manage behaviour effectively and to support pupils with additional and special educational needs and disabilities
  • How to establish an effective professional-development programme
  • How to manage a large organisation, implementing strategies, working in partnership with parents and carers and ensuring effective governance and accountability

How you’ll learn:

The programme is made up of eight modules, studied over 18 months. Each module contains a combination of self-study units, locally delivered in-person sessions, online masterclasses delivered by specialists, coaching and a virtual visit to a school.

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: Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Blackpool, Blackburn and Preston.

South, East and London: Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Norwich, London and South Essex

North and East: Tyne and Wear, Doncaster, Redcar and Halifax

South and West: Birmingham, Bristol, Swindon, Coventry, Trowbridge and Worcester

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

To join the next NIoT NPQH cohort, first complete our application form. You will also need to register with the Department for Education before you begin the programme.


For staff from state-funded schools or 16-19 organisations in England, places are fully funded by the DfE. There will be no cost to the participant.

You can study towards more than one NPQ, but will only be eligible for funding for each NPQ once. If you withdraw from or fail your programme, you will not be funded again for the same NPQ.

If you are not eligible for funding, please get in touch for further information on programme costs.

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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