Develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours that you need to be a high-performing headteacher.
These qualifications are changing. For more information, see National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) reforms.
The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) supports the professional development of aspiring and serving headteachers.
Apply with one of the providers accredited to offer this qualification. Contact your preferred provider, or visit their website, to find out more about the qualification.
The Department for Education accredited providers to design, deliver and assess one or more of the national professional qualifications (NPQs). You can only take an NPQ with an accredited provider.
To ensure that your NPQ is accessible, high quality and nationally consistent, your provider’s programme must meet the requirements of the:
- NPQ content and assessment framework, which sets out the knowledge and skills that providers must teach as part of each NPQ, and the tasks and criteria against which providers will be required to assess their candidates
- NPQ quality framework, which sets out the standards of provision that providers must meet to retain their accreditation
Read them at the National professional qualifications: frameworks page.
Who can apply
You should be, or aspire to be, a headteacher or head of school.
This includes headteachers or heads of schools with roles across schools, for example, national leaders of education.
Study can last between 2 academic terms and 18 months, depending on your provider.
During this time you will:
- develop knowledge and skills across 6 content areas, which set out what an effective headteacher or head of school should know and be able to do
- have the opportunity to develop up to 7 important leadership behaviours, which set out how an effective leader should operate
- undertake a placement at a school, in a different context from your own, for a minimum of 9 days
- complete a final assessment that evaluates your capability against the knowledge and skills set out in the 6 content areas
The 6 content areas across which you will develop your senior leadership knowledge and skills are:
- strategy and improvement
- teaching and curriculum excellence
- leading with impact
- working in partnership
- managing resources and risks
- increasing capability
The 7 leadership behaviours that you will have the opportunity to develop are:
- personal drive
Structure and teaching methods
The structure of the NPQH and teaching methods will vary between providers, but will include:
- on-the-job leadership training
- challenge and support - through a coach and/or mentor
- access to high-quality resources, drawing on up-to-date research and evidence
- professional development from and with credible peers
- opportunities for structured reflection
- lead a school change programme, lasting at least 2 terms, to improve pupil progress and attainment
- design an action plan to meet your placement school’s resourcing and capability needs
Through these 2 projects, you will need to demonstrate your competence through an assessment linked to the knowledge and skills set out in the 6 content areas.
Costs vary between providers. You should contact a provider for full details of their costs.
There has been high demand from teachers and school leaders to access NPQ scholarships in recent months. As a result, access to scholarships for new applicants for NPQs is currently suspended. This is to allow us to fully assess demand against available funding for those who have already applied. We will update this page if we are able to reopen applications for this year’s scholarships at a later date.
If you started your course prior to 24 July 2020, you will receive funding for the full course fee if you continue to meet the eligibility criteria below and have not previously been enrolled on an NPQ course of the same level.
We are now working with providers to understand what funding can be made available for eligible participants who registered for a future course before 24 July 2020. We are doing this as quickly as possible. In the meantime, your chosen NPQ provider is best placed to confirm the position with you in respect of your course, financial arrangements and their specific terms and conditions.
Eligibility for funding required a teacher or school leaders to be working in opportunity areas or areas defined in achieving excellence areas as categories 5 and 6, or employed at a school which is subject to the oversight of a multi-academy trust or diocese which also includes other schools in those areas.
Access to funding remains conditional on successful verification of participants’ registration information against the database of qualified teachers (DQT), so you must ensure that the information supplied to your NPQ provider matches your DQT record. You can check and update your DQT record via the Teaching Regulation Agency.