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National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)

The application window for NPQH opens on Monday, 9th May 2016. There have been some significant changes to the application gateway to streamline the process. Applicants must now complete a written application with support from their Headteacher (or sponsor) and submit this to by 12.00 noon on Thursday 9th June. Applications will be assessed externally as part of the national approach and applicants will be informed of outcomes by 5th July 2016 in preparation for programmes commencing in September 2016. Application forms and application guidance are available below.

NPQH – further information

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National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

The application window for the NPQSL available through Learners First opens on Monday 9th May 2016 and closes at 4.00pm on Thursday 30th June 2016. The NPQSL programme duration is 12 months (this includes induction, module delivery, completion of tasks and final assessment submission).

Application forms are available below. Completed forms should be returned to

Group of business people working and discussing togeher at office

NPQSL – further information

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National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)

The application window for the NPQML available through Learners First opens on Monday 9th May 2016 and closes at 4.00pm on Thursday 30th June 2016. The NPQML programme duration is 12 months (this includes induction, module delivery, completion of tasks and final assessment submission).

Application forms are available below. Completed forms should be returned to

NPQML people 200

NPQML – further information
DFE 5 year plan

Learners First – an inclusive teaching school partnership

Learners First is an inclusive teaching school partnership of over 200 schools from all phases. Established in August 2012 Learners First is a not-for profit company whose main focus is to build excellence and address underperformance in equal measure through system-led school improvement and leadership development. The principle objective is to better deliver the mission in a greater number of schools and settings. Learners First aims to achieve this through investment in three core interdependent areas of work:

  • Leadership development and transformation
  • System-led school to school support
  • Governance and governor development


The DFE has set out its plans for the next five years in the white paper ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’.

Educational_excellence_everywhere“Where great schools, great leaders and great teachers exist, we will let them do what they do best – helping every child to achieve their full potential. Where they do not, we will step in to build capacity, raise standards and provide confidence for parents and children. We will put children and parents first. We will set high expectations for every child, ensuring that there are no forgotten groups or areas and we will focus on outcomes.”

Educational Excellence Everywhere – March 2016
News and upcoming events

Interested in a Career in Teaching?

Teaching is a hugely fulfilling career and Learners First Schools Partnership has an amazing track record of recruiting, developing and employing high quality trainee teachers across South Yorkshire.  As a trainee you could be eligible for a bursary of up to £30,000 and there may be opportunities for you to earn while you train through the salaried routes.

Learners First is an accredited provider of the School Direct teacher training programme and offers high quality school-based training in early years, primary and secondary schools. Our training programmes give you the opportunity to ‘learn on the job’ alongside outstanding school leaders as well as achieving a PGCE qualification and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Trainees are supported every step of the way and through the professional networks and the wider Leadership Curriculum, employment, career progression and professional development opportunities are plentiful with Learners First.


You could be on your way to an exciting career in teaching sooner than you think with fantastic training and enhanced employment opportunities with Learners First Schools Partnership. We are currently recruiting the future generation of outstanding trainee teachers to our early years, primary and secondary programmes and would welcome a conversation if you would like to find out more or how to apply.

Please contact or visit the School Direct pages.

If you have the drive, passion and commitment, we have the professionals and programme to support you on your journey to becoming an outstanding teacher!

We will be hosting a School Direct Open Event on Wednesday 28th September from 4.00pm – 6.00pm at The Source Skills Academy Meadowhall, 300 Meadowhall Way, Sheffield S9 1EA. To book a place please email Louise Stephenson or call 01709-731272.

The governance handbook - November 2015

Governing boards are the strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school and academy. They play a vital role in ensuring the best possible education for every child by creating robust accountability for school leaders.

Lord Nash

Lord Nash

The Governance Handbook has been re-named to make clear that it applies to all those involved in governance. It now refers throughout to the ‘board’ to emphasise that it applies equally to the governing body of a small maintained school as it does to the board of a large MAT.

This advice is about governing bodies in schools maintained by local authorities and boards of trustees in academies. It explains:

  • their roles and functions
  • their legal duties
  • where they can find support

Governance Handbook 2015

Governor Development Programme 2016/17

Effective governance has always been crucial to the success of schools and academies but never more so than now when governance features so decisively in the current Ofsted Framework. Our Governor Development continues to be a core area of work for Learners First.

For details of our Autumn Term 2016 programmes and events please follow the link below.

Governor events

School-to-School Support

Learners First’s approach to school-to-school support is dynamic and innovative. Any support that is provided, brokered or commissioned by Learners First is designed to be bespoke and tailored to meet the needs of the identified school(s) to maximise its impact. For details of our programmes and events please follow the link below.

School2School support

Support Staff Development Programme

This programme aims to support colleagues currently employed in Support Staff roles in school to make the transition into teaching. The programme has been designed and will be delivered by a range of Specialist Leaders of Education and serving school leaders from a variety of schools, contexts and phases.

For further details follow the link below.

Support staff development

Schools and Academies

subscribed to Learners First during 2014-2015

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE)

have been designated and are available for deployment through Learners First

middle and senior leaders and aspirant headteachers

have accessed the nationally accredited, licensed leadership programmes through Learners First since 2012

Serving School Leaders

contributed to the design and delivery of leadership programmes during 2014-2015


See what our course delegates say

Thank you for the invitation this morning.  I thought the quality of the seminar was excellent.

Dave Vernon
Vice Principal/AST
Tuxford Academy, Newark

Ofsted seminar – 21st Sept

I am just writing to thank you and all the people who delivered/facilitated the NPQH course through Learners First. I am pleased to say that I received confirmation of my successful completion of the qualification over the summer. I have gained lots from the course and feel that without the excellent face to face days, visits to schools and the support that you have offered it would not have been as enjoyable and beneficial to my career as it has been. Can you please pass on my thanks to all concerned and I hope that Learners First continue to provide these outstanding leadership opportunities for years to come.

Karl O’Reilly, St Luke’s School, Scunthorpe

“I like the Learners First approach. It is engaging, stimulating and down to earth with excellent use of relevant expertise.” “Poses lots of questions and gives time and a professional ‘community’ to reflect with and bounce ideas off.”


“An excellent course which has allowed me to develop as a Senior Leader. Often courses are “busy” but you get nothing out of them for you personally, but this is quite the opposite. Also, feedback has felt valued.”


“I really enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside secondary and special school teachers.”

“It has improved my practice in terms of management of people.”