National Professional Qualifications

The STEP Ahead Teaching School Hub are running courses for eight National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). Further details about each qualification can be found below.

Programme overview:

  • The specialist and leadership NPQ’s begin with a two week online induction
  • Each NPQ is launched with a full day face to face conference, and there is a second full day face to face conference in year two of the leadership NPQs
  • The specialist NPQs have six six-week courses (half termly)
  • The leadership NPQs have nine six-week courses (half termly)
  • After completing the NPQ, there is a three month assessment window to complete the assessment

Commitments

Your annual time commitments:

  • Each NPQ is launched with a full day face to face conference
  • There is a second full day face to face conference for leadership NPQs

Total time commitment across the programme: one day for specialist NPQs and two days for leadership NPQs.

Your time commitments each half term:

  • Three study modules completed independently online (one hour per module)
  • Three study modules completed online with a buddy (one hour per module)
  • One online clinic facilitated by a Visiting Fellow at STEP Ahead TSH (two hours)
  • One online community with peers on your NPQ cohort (one hour)

Total time commitment: approximately nine hours per half term.

Funding Eligibility:

Teachers and leaders employed in state-funded schools, as well as those employed in state-funded 16 to 19 organisations in England, can access fully-funded NPQ training scholarships. Participants will only be eligible for funding for each NPQ once. The DfE requires all those undertaking an NPQ to have a Teacher Reference Number.

Specialist NPQs

National Professional Qualification in Leading Teaching (NPQLT)

For teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage or phase.

On this programme, you will learn how to:

  • Explain important ideas about the science of learning
  • Understand what good teaching practice is and how to implement it
  • Support colleagues to design a broad and coherent curriculum
  • Plan effective lessons and stimulate your pupils’ thinking
  • Help colleagues adapt their teaching to different needs
  • Contribute to the design of school assessment systems
  • Align your professional development with wider school improvement priorities

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Leading Teaching Framework.

National Professional Qualification in Leading Teacher Development (NPQLTD)

For teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school.

On this programme, you will learn how to:

  • Make sure professional development in your school is focused on a shared responsibility for improving outcomes for all pupils
  • Diagnose what teachers know and can do, starting professional development from that point and adapting the approach based on their developing expertise
  • Help teachers improve through evidence-based professional development focused on improving classroom teaching
  • Gain an understanding of what teachers have learned by reviewing patterns of performance over a number of assessments
  • Develop and lead a team of colleagues who can facilitate a range of professional development approaches
  • Contribute to a programme of professional development of mentors, trainees and early career teachers

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Leading Teacher Development Framework.

National Professional Qualification in Leading Behaviour and Culture (NPQLBC)

For teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour or supporting pupil well being in their school.

On this programme, you will learn how to:

  • Create a culture of high expectations across your school
  • Support the development of a positive, predictable and safe environment for pupils
  • Assist pupils with complex behavioural needs
  • Nurture improvement through evidence-based professional development
  • Put new approaches to leading behaviour and culture into practice in your school setting

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Leading Behaviour and Culture Framework.

National Professional Qualification in Leading Literacy (NPQLL)

For teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading literacy across a school, year group, key stage or phase.

On this programme, you will:

  • Learn how to support staff, of all subject specialisms, to develop pupils’ language and literacy
  • Learn how pupils develop aspects of literacy
  • Learn how to support, develop and teach pupils literacy using evidence informed approaches
  • Learn how to lead literacy through curriculum, culture and motivation
  • Understand how effective literacy education can support your school
  • Contribute to effective professional development for literacy, linking it to teaching, the curriculum and assessment across the school

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Leading Literacy Framework.

Leadership NPQ’s

National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

For school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities.

On this programme, you will learn how to:

  • Set clear goals and communicate shared values that improve the culture in your classrooms and school
  • Establish a safe and positive environment for pupils
  • Support colleagues to meet individual needs and make sure all pupils have access to a rich curriculum
  • Lead school-wide professional development for staff
  • Make and act on evidence informed decisions
  • Work well with parents, carers, other schools and the wider community
  • Lead by example, be accountable for decisions and make sure colleagues know their responsibilities

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Senior Leadership Framework.

National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH)

For school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school.

On this programme, you will learn how to:

  • Set clear goals and communicate shared values that improve classroom and school culture
  • Transform pupils’ knowledge, capabilities and beliefs about learning
  • Create a fair and structured approach to learning and testing
  • Establish a safe and positive environment for pupils
  • Support colleagues to meet individual needs and make sure all pupils have access to a rich curriculum
  • Lead school-wide professional development for staff
  • Establish good financial, human and educational resource management
  • Make and act on evidence-informed decisions
  • Work well with parents, carers, other schools and the wider community
  • Lead by example, be accountable for decisions and make sure staff know their professional responsibilities

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Headship Framework.

National Professional Qualification in Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)

For leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, managers of Private, Voluntary and Independent nurseries, headteachers of school-based or maintained nurseries or childminders with leadership responsibilities.

On this programme, you will learn how to:

  • Set a strategic direction for your early years setting and apply ambitious standards for all children
  • Champion evidence-based practice
  • Plan and deliver care and a high-quality curriculum to support children’s development
  • Establish communication, language and literacy approaches to support children’s learning
  • Make sure all children experience success
  • Identify children who need support and make appropriate referrals
  • Create an environment for all children and colleagues where everyone feels welcome and safe

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Early Years Leadership Framework.

National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

For school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools.

On this programme, you will learn how to:

  • Create a positive and effective culture across your schools or trust
  • Support school leaders and your senior team to put in place an evidence-informed approach to designing the curriculum
  • Give clear feedback to teachers and make sure they are supported with guidance and training to do their jobs effectively
  • Create and sustain a positive, safe and predictable environment for all pupils across your schools or trust
  • Work with school leaders and your senior team to make sure professional development priorities are aligned with plans to improve your school or trust
  • Work effectively in partnership with parents, the community and other schools and trusts
  • Participate in governance and be fully transparent and accountable

For further information, you can view the National Professional Qualification (NPQ): Executive Leadership Framework.

Expression of interest

To express interest in a specialist or leadership NPQ, please use the NPQ Registration Form 2022-23.

After receiving your expression of interest, the STEP Ahead Teaching School Hub will be in touch.

Please note that an expression of interest does not guarantee a place on one of the NPQs.