National professional qualification (NPQ) courses

Fully funded, flexible professional development courses for teachers and leaders to improve skills, progress careers and deliver improved outcomes for schools.

Applies to England

NPQs are designed to:

  • provide training and support for teachers and leaders at all levels
  • be completed flexibly around existing commitments
  • deliver improved outcomes for children and young people

If you’re a teacher or leader, an NPQ can help you:

  • improve your skills
  • progress in your career
  • increase your confidence in your role
  • support staff development in your school

Specialist NPQs

Specialist NPQs are designed for classroom teachers and leaders.

Leading teacher development - become a teacher educator and support teachers in your school to expand their skills.

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

Leading behaviour and culture - create a culture of good behaviour and high expectations where staff and pupils can succeed.

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

Leading primary mathematics - help your school use mastery approaches and teach maths effectively.

Leadership NPQs

Leadership NPQs are designed for teachers and leaders in leadership roles or wanting to achieve leadership skills.

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

Headship - learn how to become an expert school leader and outstanding headteacher.

Executive leadership - develop the expertise to run a multi-school organisation and effectively 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-ordinators (SENCOs) NPQ – gain essential knowledge and skills to 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 a fair and open procurement process by the Department for Education (DfE)
  • subject to quality assurance through Ofsted inspection

The individual NPQ pages list the providers for each NPQ.

All NPQs are underpinned by a framework setting 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

Study can last between 12 and 18 months, depending on your chosen NPQ. The course structure, curriculum and method of delivery may vary between different providers.

During your period of study, you will:

  • learn from the evidence-based curriculum of your chosen qualification, drawing on effective pedagogy, current research and international best practice to equip you with 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)

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.


NPQs are currently fully funded by DfE, so they’re free to take for most teachers and leaders in state-funded settings in England.

Learn about funding for NPQs.


NPQs are part of a wider set of  teacher development reforms which together create a ‘golden thread’ of support, training and development available through a teacher’s entire career.

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

Published 3 July 2020