DRET Teaching School Hub

How will the reformed NPQ programmes develop me as a school leader?

#AmbitionNPQs: join us for the Spring NPQ programmes!

With only three cohorts to run for the current funding initiative for fully-funded NPQs, there has never been a better time for teachers and leaders to access high-quality CPD without schools encountering a significant cost. The reformed NPQs offer a professional network of colleagues, evidence-informed content delivered by experts in school leadership and the flexibility to undertake study online around the busy role of a school leader. With full scholarship funding available to a range of colleagues and additional targeted financial support to smaller schools to remove the financial barrier of cover implications, these programmes aim to make it as straightforward as possible for colleagues to access their entitlement to training relevant to the specific domains of school leadership. 

Here, Sonia Thundercliffe, Assistant Principal for Staff Development at Havelock Academy shares her experiences as a participant on the NPQ Senior Leadership. 


At the start of 2021 I was seconded on to the senior leadership team at Havelock Academy.  Consequently, when the new suite of NPQs were announced, I jumped at the opportunity to undertake the qualification for senior leadership.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the programme – it is without doubt the most effective CPD I have ever embarked. 

The curriculum is wide and varied, covering everything from behaviour and culture to staff development and importantly implementation.  It is a holistic programme that will ensure that my knowledge, skills and expertise will be broad and balanced, supporting me in my journey through school leadership. 

My concern initially was the impact the qualification would have on my working day – I felt strongly that I did not wish to be away regularly from the Academy.  This fear was alleviated quickly on realising that after the initial conference; the course modules were self-study, and the communities and clinics were scheduled to fit in with the working pattern of teachers and school leaders.  The self-study sessions are evidence informed and well sequenced to allow for the continued building of my knowledge.  The sessions with my buddy and the clinics allow me to regularly revisit my learning and offer me further opportunities to consider, question and apply my learning.  Equally the conference, buddy sessions and clinics have afforded me the opportunity to share successes; garner support from my peers and enhanced my ability to network and build links with other educationalists and establishments. 

My ability has a leader has grown as a result of this programme, enabling me to secure a promotion within my Academy, undoubtedly as a result of the NPQ.  Moreover, my development as a leader is bringing about impactful but sustainable change at our Academy.  I would recommend anyone in leadership to undertake this qualification to enhance your ability to effectively lead a school in 2022 and beyond.