News story

Changes to NCTL's national qualifications and the NCTL membership website

NCTL is making changes to the way its national qualifications for school leaders will be delivered in the future.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


To support the move to a school-led system, we’re making changes to the way the following national qualifications are delivered:

  • National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)
  • National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)
  • National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)
  • Chairs of Governors’ Leadership Development Programme
  • Clerks to Governing Bodies Training Programme

In addition, we have moved a significant amount of our web content to GOV.UK and our membership website has now closed.

National qualifications

NCTL works with licensees across the country to deliver our national qualifications. The next step in the transition to a fully school-led system is for NCTL to complete the handover of the design, delivery and awarding of these qualifications to the schools and organisations currently licensed to offer the qualifications. This means:

  • Licensees will continue to deliver the national qualifications to new and existing participants until 2016.
  • Licensees, rather than NCTL, will decide who can go onto their NPQH programme.
  • NCTL will no longer develop the training materials for the qualifications.
  • Levels 1 to 3 (NPQML, NPQSL and NPQH), the Clerks to Governing Bodies Training Programme and the Chairs of Governors’ Leadership Development Programme will continue to be delivered by licensees and they will retain exclusive access to the relevant programme materials until 2016.
  • Over the next 2 years, we will work closely with licensees to ensure they continue to develop and adapt this content so it remains relevant and engaging.
  • We will continue to award the national qualifications for the duration of the current contract and will consult with licensees and others in the school system to agree how this will work beyond 2016.
  • We will continue to quality assure the qualifications until the current licence period ends and will pass this responsibility to the school system in the future.
  • We will not be launching levels 4 and 5 of the leadership curriculum.

The payment of scholarships is not affected by this announcement. There is already an expectation that these payments will reduce over time and that schools or individuals will ultimately fund their involvement themselves. Our aim is to cease or, at a minimum, substantially reduce scholarship payments by 2016.

School business management programmes

We will not be licensing the school business management programmes. Our school business management materials will be made freely available to the school system so that as many schools and school business managers as possible can benefit from them.

There will be support, subject to eligibility criteria, until 2016 to targeted groups of school business managers in undertaking school business manager programmes. Read more about these changes.

Online services

From September 2014, membership will no longer be needed to access NCTL web content and member-only services will close. This means:

  • Training materials for our national qualifications will move to a new IT platform until 2016 and will be available exclusively to participants on NPQML, NPQSL and NPQH.
  • We will seek to move online forums to new platforms and will work with licensees and schools to identify, adopt and develop new online services in the future.
  • Information and resources relating to NCTL’s areas of work will continue to be available on GOV.UK.

Contact us

General enquiries

Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Department for Education
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street

M1 2WD

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, excluding UK bank holidays.

Published 1 May 2014