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National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

The revised and updated National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership will help you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to be a highly effective senior leader in a school.


"Excellent delivery - credible, informative, fun and interesting." 

"Really good practical session - great pace - good techniques."

"This course has given me the ideas, tools and confidence to drive forward."

"Having access to a range of materials and research on the Leadership Live website has been great."


(Leadership Live NPQSL delegates)

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership will help you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to be a highly effective senior leader in a school.

The course is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities for example:

  • an experienced middle leader
  • a deputy headteacher
  • an assistant headteacher
  • other senior staff

The course takes between 12 and 18 months.

What will I study?

There are six modules:

Teaching and Curriculum Excellence

  • Use a range of techniques to gather evidence on teaching quality and the impact of interventions across a school
  • Reduce variation within the school and against comparative schools by improving pupil progress, attainment and behaviour
  • Develop and maintain a rich, high-quality school curriculum


Strategy and improvement

  • Analyse performance data to identify the causes of variation within a school and against comparative schools (for example, in relation to national benchmarks, historical performance or between different groups)
  • Ensure data collected is necessary, proportionate and manageable for staff
  • Work with the governing board effectively to identify and agree approaches to school priorities
  • Design and implement sustainable change across a school


Increasing Capability

  • Identify excellent professional development practice
  • Identify talent within an organisation and put in place arrangements or tools to develop and retain it
  • Design professional development strategies, which engage all staff (including new/recently qualified teachers) and anticipate future professional development needs


Leading with Impact

  • Lead, motivate and influence others, including beyond the line management chain, to deliver whole- school objectives
  • Develop a communications plan that promotes or defends the school’s performance, policies or decisions effectively


Managing Resources and Risk

  • Deploy resources across a school effectively and efficiently to deliver school priorities (for example, in relation to the use of Pupil Premium funding)
  • Monitor the use of resources across a school, identifying opportunities and pressures (for example, in relation to teacher workload)
  • Systematically identify, manage and mitigate risks to the school, its pupils and staff


Working in Partnership

  • Identify a range of local and national partners that can support school improvement
  • Put in place systems, processes or structures which facilitate knowledge transfer and shared best practice within and beyond the school
  • Identify the most effective partnerships for improving pupil progress


The course consists of:

  • 24 hours of face-to-face learning
  • Regular sessions with your own coach
  • Three hours of self-study prior to each face to face session
  • Online learning
  • Work on an in-school development project for an additional minimum two hours a week

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, to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching. You must submit a written account of the project for assessment.

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 facilitated by experienced teachers and Head teachers, with a combination of theoretical 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 £850, including externally verified final assessment and 360° diagnostic.