Develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to be a highly effective senior leader in a school.
Who can apply
You should be in a leadership role with cross-school responsibilities, for example:
- an experienced middle leader
- a deputy head
- a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
- an advanced skills teacher
- other senior staff
You’ll be looking for professional development, but not aspiring to headship at this stage of your career.
Apply with one of the schools or organisations licensed to offer this qualification that matches your needs. Visit their website to find out how the qualification is structured and when it starts. You can contact your preferred licensee to discuss your requirements in more detail.
The normal duration of study is 12 months. Depending on your experience and other commitments, you could complete in 6 months or it may take a maximum of 18 months.
You’ll need to complete 2 essential modules, 2 further modules of your choice and a final assessment.
Each module requires up to 50 hours of learning, including:
- around 20 hours of practical learning in your school
- face-to-face peer and facilitated learning
- reading and reflection
- online learning
You must complete both of the following modules.
Closing the gap
As part of this module, you’ll learn about:
- data collection, analysis and interpretation to identify attainment gaps and diagnose causes
- improving teaching to narrow pupil attainment gaps
- raising expectations and achieving high standards of behaviour
- the use of best practice to address within-school variation
- collaboration between teams both within school and across schools
Succeeding in senior leadership
Explore the style of your leadership and find out how you can apply it to your workplace to address school improvements. As part of this module, you’ll learn about:
- leadership in different contexts and professions, particularly in relation to senior leadership
- the characteristics of highly effective leadership and the importance of emotional intelligence
- how adults learn and the use of diagnostic tools
- your own leadership, including strengths and areas for development
- strategies for effective professional development
- how to create and sustain a positive working culture
Further study modules
You need to complete 2 of the following modules as well.
- Effective partnership working
- Effective whole-school management
- Improving the quality of teaching
- Leading change for improvement
- Leading professional development
- Research and development in teaching
- School self-evaluation
Find out more about what you’ll cover in these study modules.
The final assessment comprises 2 assessed tasks from the work you lead across your school. You’ll need to show that you can:
- make successful and sustainable improvements in your own school
- use the experience to reflect on and improve your own leadership skills
Costs and scholarships
Costs vary between licensees. Licensees will be able to provide full details of their costs, but, as a guide, the cost of NPQSL is £1,400.
You’ll also need to pay £440 for your final assessment if you apply from:
- an independent or non-maintained schools
- a school outside England
Many of our licensees offer group discounts and various packages – contact your chosen licensee to find out more.
A limited number of scholarships are available for applicants from the English state-maintained sector. Find out more about scholarships.
Applicants based outside England
You’ll need to travel to England for the face-to-face aspects of the programme (around 20 to 25 days). If you’re able to do this, please contact your chosen licensee for costs.
For larger groups of overseas candidates (24 or more), please contact email@example.com.
You may be exempt from some study modules if you’ve:
- completed one of our leadership development programmes
- undertaken a Master’s or another type of postgraduate course
Convert your study to credits for a Master’s degree
You can use your NPQSL qualification to contribute towards a Master’s degree. Read our Master’s-level accreditation guidance.
For more information, contact a licensee in your area.