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National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)

The NPQML final assessment process has been designed to enable you to demonstrate that you can deliver successful and sustainable school improvement in your school setting and can use the experience to reflect upon and improve your own leadership competencies.

An NPQML participant should:

  • Lead a small team for a minimum of two terms, delegating appropriately to show impact on their capability
  • Show impact on progress and attainment of pupils
  • Have opportunity to collaborate beyond your team
  • Have access to up to date and relevant school progress and attainment data

The final assessment process will comprise of one project, split into two parts drawn from your work in your school in which you lead at team level. The task must be linked into the school’s improvement priorities and produce demonstrable positive impact and sustainable change.

Participants must:

  • Lead an improvement project in their team, lasting at least 2 terms, aimed at improving pupil progress and attainment (part A) and the capability of their team (part B)
  • Submit a written account of the project, demonstrating how they have met the criteria across six content areas. This should cover the initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.
  • Submit supporting documents/material as evidence

National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

The NPQSL final assessment process has been designed to enable you to demonstrate that you can deliver successful and sustainable school improvement in your school setting and can use the experience to reflect upon and improve your own leadership competencies.

An NPQSL participant should:

  • Interrogate whole school data
  • Lead teaching, learning and administration across the whole school
  • Apply leadership theories in order to lead and manage change and enhance leadership behaviours
  • Influence the development of the school curriculum

The final assessment process will comprise of one project, split into two parts drawn from your work in your school, in which you lead, for an extended period, on a school improvement priority across your school. The task must be linked into the school’s improvement priorities and produce demonstrable positive impact and sustainable change.

Participants must:

  • Lead an improvement project working across the school, lasting at least 2 terms, to a) reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment b) improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching
  • Submit a written account of the project, demonstrating how they have met the criteria across six content areas. This should cover the design, implementation and evaluation of the project
  • Submit supporting documents as evidence and evidence/verification from your sponsor and headteacher

National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)

The NPQH programme is designed to develop your leadership potential through leading a whole school change programme.

The NPQH Final Assessment process has been designed to provide opportunities for you to demonstrate your leadership in practice through the successful completion of school improvement work undertaken in your own and other schools

An NPQH participant should:

  • Be working towards the four domains of the National Headteacher Standards
  • Have an in-depth understanding of whole school data, self-evaluation and finance. Using this to develop strategic priorities and presenting these to stakeholders including governors or equivalent
  • Lead whole school teaching, learning, administration, accommodation and environment using models of leadership appropriate to context
  • Improve the school through building effective partnerships with stakeholders including pupils, staff, parents, external professionals, other organisations and the wider community
  • Use global research relevant to the leadership of change and the implementation of evidence based improvements in teaching and learning
  • Generate school sustainability through the recruitment, retention, support and challenge of staff. Putting effective systems in place to manage and reward staff performance

The final assessment process will comprise of two projects

  • Task 1 – Leading a whole-school change programme in your home school
  • Task 2 – Designing an action plan to meet the placement school’s resourcing and capability needs

Task 1 – Participants must:

  • Lead a change programme at whole-school level, lasting at least two terms, to improve pupil progress and attainment.
  • Present the plan to the Governing board prior to implementation, and gather their feedback.
  • Submit a written account of the project, which aims to evidence the criteria across six content areas. This should cover the design, implementation and evaluation of the programme
  • Submit supporting documents/material as evidence.

Task 2 – Participants must:

  • Undertake a placement in a contrasting school (for example, by performance, pupil profile, geography etc.), lasting at least 9 working days.
  • Research the placement school’s current and/or projected resource and capability challenges, and design an action plan to address these.
  • Present the plan to the placement school’s governing board and gather their feedback.
  • Submit a written account of the project which aims to evidence the criteria indicated
  • Submit supporting documents/material as evidence

National Professional Qualification for Executive Headship (NPQEL)

NPQEL is suitable for those aspiring to, or already in, leadership roles across more than one school. This includes headteachers, executive headteachers, chief operating officers and directors of school improvement.

An NPQEL participant should:

  • Have an in-depth understanding of the scheme of delegation as it impacts on the support and challenge required of trustees and/or the local governing body, including the provision of impact reports to trustees, directors and/or governors
  • Challenge and monitor more than a single school/academy rigorously so that strategic evaluation is contingent on the individual school circumstance and secures improvement across multiple schools
  • Know how to support schools with the right balance of internal and external school partnership with expertise within and across the schools, central support (e.g. from a MAT or Teaching School) and external validation and challenge
  • Monitor progress and track impact, practicing high quality assurance, proactively focusing the strategic approach of the leadership team and modelling good practice
  • Know the schools well in the context of what succeeds in similar contexts across multiple schools, MATs and local authorities through highly effective networking, horizon scanning and an evidence-led approach to securing school improvement with improved outcomes for pupils
  • Have an understanding of how tools including decision making and risk analysis can be applied in the education sector
  • Understand the local and national context and be able to contribute to debate and decision making at these levels

The final assessment process will comprise of two projects

  • Task 1 – design a sustainable business development strategy for your organisation, analysing the benefits, costs, and risks of different options
  • Task 2 – lead a project to improve progress and attainment in several schools

Task 1- participants must:

  • Design a sustainable business development strategy for their organisation, analysing the benefits, costs and risks of different options (for example, growth and stabilisation).
  • Present their chosen strategy to their governing board/board of trustees, record it, answer questions, and gather its feedback.
  • Submit a written account of the project to the provider for assessment, which aims to evidence the criteria across five content areas. This should cover the design, implementation and evaluation of the project.
  • Submit supporting documents/material as evidence

Task 2- participants must:

  • Lead a project to improve progress and attainment in several schools. The precise focus of the project should be negotiated and agreed with representatives of the relevant schools.
  • Present their plans to a group of relevant stakeholders (for example, the relevant governing boards, teachers and community representatives), record it, answer questions and gather their feedback
  • Submit a written account of the project, which aims to evidence the criteria across four content areas. This should cover the design, implementation and evaluation of the project.
  • Submit supporting documents/material as evidence

Information about assessment of each of the NPQs is available under the relevant qualification. For further in formation call us on 01234 880150 or complete the contact form below with your query.


Please contact us for more details on 01234 880172 or complete the contact form below.


Information about costs and scholarships for candidates is shown the relevant NPQ page.


Contact Us

For further information on the full range of assessment services that we provide for individuals or organisations please complete the contact form or call us on 01234 880172.