DRET Teaching School Hub

NPQ for Executive Leadership

NPQ for Headship

National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership

DRET Teaching School Hub work in partnership with the National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) as an Associate College to deliver NPQ Programmes. The NIoT are rooted in schools; they know the unpredictability of school life – the day-to-day challenges that teachers face. Their time-efficient NPQs have been drawn up specifically to meet the needs of time-poor, commitment-heavy teachers and leaders. Teachers know best what teachers need – our programme will give you only the information essential to providing the best education possible for your pupils.

The NIOT's NPQEL is designed for people at the top of the profession: school leaders who want to be – or already are – an executive headteacher or an academy trust CEO, with responsibility for leading several schools. Developed by some of the most successful executive leaders in the country, the course will harness the NIoT’s cutting-edge research, putting it to practical use. Because our course has been designed by school leaders, 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.


  • 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 NPQEL enables you to make a greater impact in your job.
  • Realise your vision: You will learn the skills necessary to set an ambitious vision for your schools or trust, creating an environment where staff and pupils can thrive.
  • Follow in large footsteps: Successful leaders from trusts in a range of contexts will offer insights based on their own experience.
  • 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.
  • 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.



What you’ll learn:

  • How to build and maintain a coherent culture across an academy trust
  • How to ensure effective teaching and to support curriculum and assessment development
  • How to manage behaviour effectively and to support pupils with additional and special educational needs and disabilities
  • How to ensure a consistent professional-development programme across the trust
  • 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 course is made up of six modules, studied over 18 months. Each module usually contains a combination of self-study units, nationally delivered in-person conferences, online masterclasses delivered by specialists, individual and group coaching, and virtual visits to trust schools.

Time commitment:

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


In order to receive NPQEL 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.  


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 course, you will not be funded again for the same NPQ.


To apply, you must be a school leader who is, or is aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools. 

The National Institute of Teaching run a central cohort for the NPQ Executive Leadership. You can complete the NIoT's application form or, to find out more, contact us directly or express your interest here: https://forms.gle/hbARnaS4VboweN8S6