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National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) is a revised and updated programme that will help you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence that you need to lead a high-performing team in a school and to improve classroom practice.


"Informative, relaxed and well delivered"
"Fantastic to be able to communicate with other Middle Leaders to share experiences and develop my own understanding"  
           "I’ve realised the potential I have at managing a team and how I can do that, largely due to this course"
           "I like the way the facilitators make sure the sessions are relevant to our own context. I am at a large urban secondary. We                      have participants from primary,  secondary and special in this session and they make it relevant to us all.’


 (Leadership Live NPQML delegates)

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) is a revised and updated programme that will help you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence that you need to lead a high-performing team in a school and to improve classroom practice.

The course is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a middle leader with responsibility for leading a team for example:

  • key stage leader
  • curriculum area leader
  • pastoral services leader
  • subject leader
  • special educational needs coordinator (SENCO)
  • head of department

The course takes between 12 and 18 months.

What will I study?

There are six modules and a final assessment.

Teaching and Curriculum Excellence

  • Grow excellent, evidence-based teaching in a team and a curriculum that develops pupils academically and prepares them for adult life
  • Improve the progress, attainment and behaviour of all pupils, including those who are disadvantaged or have particular needs (for example, Pupil Premium, SEND, EAL or the most able pupils)


Strategy and improvement

  • Manage and analyse performance data to evaluate progress, identify trends, define team priorities and develop improvement strategies (for example, in relation to disadvantaged pupils or those with particular needs)
  • Implement successful change at team level


Increasing Capability

  • Hold others to account, line manage and evaluate performance effectively
  • Support all members of their team with appropriate, targeted opportunities for professional development, including newly-qualified teachers, teaching assistants, and stronger or weaker performers
  • Recognise their own strengths and weaknesses and identify learning linked to their needs
  • Evaluate the impact of professional development on teacher development and pupils outcomes


Leading with Impact

  • Anticipate other peoples’ views or feelings and moderate your approach accordingly
  • Adopt different leadership styles to ensure the team meets its objectives
  • Present, communicate or defend challenging messages confidently and positively to a range of audiences


Managing Resources and Risk

  • Deploy staff, financial and educational resources within a team efficiently, to enhance pupil progress and attainment
  • Manage risks within a team effectively (for example, in relation to staffing, finances or teacher workload), using a risk register
  • Deliver a safe environment for pupils and staff


Working in Partnership

  • Realise the benefits of collaborating with others, including teachers, teaching assistants and non- teaching staff, other schools, parents/carers and other organisations
  • Support their team to build and sustain relationships with others which develop and share good practice and improve performance


The course consists of:

  • 18 hours of face-to-face learning
  • Regular sessions with your own coach
  • 3 hours of self-study prior to each face to face session
  • Online learning
  • Work on your own in-school development project


Our course includes a 360° diagnostic test. The diagnostic tool is based around the seven leadership behaviours on which you will be focusing during the programme:

Commitment; Collaboration; Personal Drive; Resilience; Awareness; Integrity; Respect

It is designed to enable you to collect the views of your colleagues (peers, team members, line managers, governors) so you are able to analyse your specific needs and leadership competency areas to target, using the programme and your leadership in school to develop and extend areas of knowledge, understanding and competence.

You will have the opportunity to complete the diagnostic at the start and again at the end of the programme and so judge and reflect on the progress you have made.

You must lead an improvement project across your school, lasting at least 2 terms, aimed at improving pupil progress and attainment and the capability of your team.

You must submit a written account of the project for assessment, demonstrating how you have met the criteria set out.

The project will be assessed by an independent agency.

Our face to face sessions are generally delivered in school settings, location dependent on the delivery partner. Sessions are led by experienced teachers and Head teachers, combining theory and practical knowledge.

These face to face sessions are supported by online learning. With our online system you will be able to access all course materials and final assessment information and track your progress.

We have facilitators across the Midlands – check our course calendar and delivery partners pages for more details. All our partners are serving or former school leaders, with a great track record of delivering quality training. 

The course costs £750, including externally verified final assessment and 360° diagnostic.