DRET Teaching School Hub

NPQ for Senior Leadership

NPQ for Senior Headship

National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

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.

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.

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.



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.


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.  


Funding for autumn 2024 will target those teachers and leaders who work in the most challenging schools or educational settings, serving more disadvantaged communities. 

Scholarship funding to cover the full NPQ course cost will be available to teachers and leaders from: 

  • the 50% of schools with the highest proportion of students who attract pupil premium funding 
  • 16 to 19 educational settings identified as having high disadvantage 

For the early years leadership NPQ, highly disadvantaged early years settings will also be eligible.    

Further details about funding will be available later in the year.

Scholarships will continue to be available to all teachers and leaders from publicly funded schools and 16 to 19 educational organisations for the following NPQs

  • leading primary maths  
  • SENCO  
  • headship

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.


To apply, you must be, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities. For example, you might be an assistant or deputy headteacher, or a head of department or faculty. 

  Apply here