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NPQ in Senior Leadership

Our NPQSL is designed for ambitious classroom teachers and leaders who want to be – or already are – senior leaders with cross-school responsibilities.

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 Senior Leader, Senior Leader
National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL)
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


Senior leaders set the tone in a school. They are the members of staff who, on a day-to-day basis, ensure that teachers and pupils feel safe, happy and encouraged to succeed.

Our NPQSL will build your confidence when it comes to helping to implement your school’s strategic direction and establishing an environment where pupils can thrive and find fulfilment. And it will provide access to cutting-edge research, developed by people who know what teachers need.

You will learn how to be an empathetic leader: to ensure that staff feel supported and valued, to communicate effectively with parents and carers, and to make school a safe, welcoming place for every pupil who attends.


  • Essential knowledge: There is no fluff – every minute spent working towards an NPQSL enables you to make a greater impact in your job.
  • 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.
  • Flexible training: The course has been designed with teachers’ schedules in mind. So training is delivered in bite-sized chunks, and you can learn at a time and pace that suits you.
  • 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 NPQSL programme that specifically addresses the most complex challenges of school leadership.

Our blend of online and in-person learning will include masterclasses with teachers and teacher-educators who are specialists in their fields. 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. Every single element of our programme is specifically designed to help you become the best and most effective leader you can be.


What you’ll learn:

  • How to support the headteacher and senior leadership team in maintaining 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 implement strategies, working in partnership with parents and carers
  • How to work within a governance and accountability regime

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 virtual visits to a school.

Time commitment

There are two to three scheduled events every half term, some online and some in-person. There are also between 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 NPQSL 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 NPQSL 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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