Guidance

National professional qualification (NPQ) courses

Funded professional development courses for teachers and leaders to develop skills, progress careers and improve outcome school outcomes.

Applies to England

NPQs can:

  • provide training and support for teachers and leaders at all levels
  • be completed around existing commitments
  • improve outcomes for children and young people
  • support staff development

Specialist NPQs

Specialist NPQs can help you develop your classroom teaching or specialism.

Leading teacher development - help teachers in your school develop their skills

Leading teaching - lead the teaching and learning of a subject, year group or phase.

Leading behaviour and culture - promote a culture of good behaviour and high expectations

Leading literacy - promote literacy across a whole school, year group, key stage or phase

Leading primary mathematics - use mastery approaches to lead maths teaching in your school

Leadership NPQs

Leadership NPQs can help you develop your leadership skills or progress to a leadership role.

Senior leadership - develop leadership expertise to improve outcomes for teachers and pupils

Headship - become an expert school leader and outstanding headteacher

Executive leadership - develop the expertise to run a multi-school organisation and lead change and improvement

Early years leadership - manage your staff and organisation to provide high-quality early years education and care

Special educational needs and disabilities co-ordinator (SENCO) – perform a SENCO role effectively and set the strategic direction of special educational needs policy in a school. Courses will begin in autumn 2024.

NPQ providers

Providers are:

  • chosen by the Department for Education (DfE) in a fair and open procurement process
  • subject to quality assurance through Ofsted inspection
  • not the same for every NPQ

The individual NPQ course pages list the providers for each NPQ.

All NPQs are underpinned by a framework that sets out what you should know and be able to do after completing an NPQ.

NPQ training providers use these frameworks to design their courses.

Course structure

Courses last between 12 and 22 months (including the time to undertake assessment and receive results), depending on your chosen NPQ. The course structure, curriculum and method of delivery may vary between different providers.

During your NPQ, you will:

  • learn from an evidence-based curriculum of your chosen qualification, drawing on effective pedagogy, current research and international best practice to give you the knowledge and skills to improve in your current role or take the next step in your career
  • take part in a mixture of face-to-face sessions, webinars and self-directed study
  • answer an assessed case study question (the summative assessment)

NPQs are developed in collaboration with the sector, informed by the best available research and evidence endorsed by the Education Endowment Foundation.

Early headship coaching offer

If you’re in your first 5 years of headship, you may also be eligible for the early headship coaching offer. This offer provides unassessed structured support, coaching and networking opportunities.

Funding

Funding for NPQs is currently provided by DfE. This makes NPQs free for most teachers and leaders in state-funded settings in England.

Published 3 July 2020
Last updated 2 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the fact that further details of the NPQ for SENCOs are available.

  2. First published.