NPQH – new from September 2017

The DFE’s vision is for an education system that drives social mobility, ensuring that every child and young person can access a high quality education, regardless of location, prior attainment, and background. After the quality of teaching, it is the quality of school leadership that is the most important educational determinant of pupils’ success. Excellent school leaders at all levels are critical to ensuring that every child can unlock their full potential.

The DFE has reformed the NPQs to better prepare leaders for the range of leadership roles in today’s school system. The new NPQs are due to commence in September 2017. The DFE will be announcing the organisations accredited to deliver the new qualifications after the general election on 08th June.

Learners First are taking ‘registrations of interest’ from school leaders wishing to start on the new NPQ programmes (NPQML, NPQSL, NPQH) from September 2017. To register your interest, simply email teachingschool@learnersfirst.org with your name, school, local authority and the programme you are interested in. Learners First will contact you after the DFE has announced its new providers.

Who is NPQH for?

NPQH is for aspiring headteachers and principals. You should be highly motivated to become a headteacher, no more than 12-18 months from applying for headship posts and have the full support of your headteacher or line manager.

New features of NPQH
The programme has been significantly redesigned with new features designed to produce the most outstanding generation of school and academy leaders to date.

  • A higher bar on entry, with a challenging assessment event which has been reduced to one day
  • Essential modules focusing on key aspects of headship
  • The modular approach will require participants to complete three essential and two elective modules potentially enabling them to progress to higher level qualifications
  • A longer placement lasting a minimum of 9 days, combining a whole school strategic leadership task, as well as an opportunity to work with outstanding headteachers in a different context
  • Access to peer learning and optional coaching to extend and maximise learning throughout the whole programme.
  • A credible, valid and reliable final assessment

How much does it cost?

For 2016/17, NPQH with Learners First costs £2,557.

You’ll also need to pay £1,500 for your final assessment if you apply from:

  • an independent or non-maintained school
  • a school outside England

Whats involved?

The duration of study is 6 to 18 months. During this time you’ll:

  • undertake a placement at a school, in a different context from your own, for a minimum of 9 days
  • complete 3 essential modules and 2 further study modules of your choice
  • undertake a final assessment

You can control the pace and focus of your study by completing the work in a timeframe that suits you, and by choosing modules that interest you. In order to graduate from NPQH you will be required to successfully complete three essential and two elective module.

Essential modules

You must complete the following 3 modules.

  • Succeeding in headship
  • Leading and improving teaching
  • Leading an effective school

Elective modules

You need to complete 2 of the following modules as well.

  • Closing the gap
  • Curriculum development
  • Leading change for improvement
  • Leading inclusion: Achievement for All
  • Leading staff and effective teams
  • School improvement through effective partnerships
  • Using data and evidence to improve performance

Our approach to NPQH

Learners First’s approach sees the collaboration of a number of Teaching Schools and their alliance partners working together to deliver the highest quality leadership curriculum and NPQH programme. The collaborative and inclusive nature of this approach ensures the NPQH participants have access to a wide range of outstanding school leaders with a proven track record of successful school leadership.

In the National College’s annual review of licensee provision, Learners First was awarded a ‘GOLD’ rating for the quality of delivery of our programme. “Strong and effective quality management is evident at all stages in the work of the licensee”…. “high quality facilitator training is at the heart of delivery” ….. “nearly 100% of delivery is undertaken by current leading practitioners and this is a real strength of the delivery as evidenced by the participants feedback”.

The Teaching School partnership is fully representative of a wide range of schools and academies giving NPQH participants selecting Learners First as their preferred provider ample opportunity to access outstanding experiences across all phases including primary, secondary, special, early years, post-16 from across a wide range of socio-economic, faith school and geographical contexts. Our provision is very much focussed on the ‘for schools, by schools’ philosophy and for us outstanding head teachers and school leaders, including a high number of National and Local Leaders of Education (NLEs and LLEs), will be central to the design and delivery of NPQH.

How is NPQH assessed?

The final assessment comprises 3 tasks: 1 in your school, 1 in your placement school and a presentation/interview assessment. Through this process, you’ll need to show:

  • how you have led the school improvement work in your own and other school settings
  • your ability to present and perform at interview

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others”

~ Jack Welch, CEO General Electric 1981-2001

NPQH – selecting your provider

An announcement on the process for the next intake of applicants for NPQH is expected shortly from the Department For Education.



For general enquiries about NPQH provision at Learners First please contact us at:-

Email: teachingschool@learnersfirst.org

Tel: 01709 731272.


NPQH Applications

Learners First are awaiting information from the DFE and NCTL regarding the NPQH programme for 2017/18 onwards. As soon as information becomes available we will contact anyone registering their interest with us.

Please email teachingschool@learnersfirst.org to register your interest in the NPQH programme. Please note that this is simply to receive information as it becomes available in respect of the application process.

Useful Links and Documents


Aspirant heads have now chosen to undertake the nationally accredited NPQH with Learners First since 2012

NPQH – Essential and Elective Modules

All modules are delivered under licence from the National College of Teaching and Leadership


Succeeding in headship (essential module)

Learn about the essential legal and accountability components of headship and governance with a focus on how successful heads operate in practice. As part of this module, you’ll learn about:

  •  the non-teaching aspects of the Ofsted framework
  • how to establish yourself as a headteacher, including building trust and credibility with governors, staff and parents
  • how to manage your time and maintain resilience
  • effective leadership in high-performing international systems
  • main management tools, including operational and strategic planning
  • implementing change effectively

Leading and Improving teaching (essential module)

Learn how to develop, improve and sustain high-quality teaching across your school. As part of this module, you’ll learn about:

  • effective teaching and the head’s role and responsibilities in leading and improving teaching
  • the Ofsted inspection framework
  • holding all staff to account for performance
  • high standards of behaviour
  • classroom management in relation to high-quality teaching and positive behaviour
  • monitoring, evaluating and improving teaching
  • teacher appraisal, including how to improve teacher performance and address underperformance
  • how to work with pupils and parents to improve pupil attainment

Leading an effective school (essential module)

Learn about the key management systems required in an effective school, particularly teacher performance, pupil behaviour and financial management. As part of this module, you’ll learn about:

  • the main management processes (including behaviour, personnel and financial management)
  • governing body and headship accountabilities
  • managing performance, professional development and sustained school improvement
  • managing misconduct and grievance
  • behaviour management
  • strategic financial planning and operational budget management
  • HR law, including pay and conditions, and employee rights
  • health and safety in schools
  • child protection

Curriculum Development (elective module)

In this module NPQH participants will be taught how to lead the development and implementation of a broad, flexible curriculum that includes the National Curriculum and is appropriate to context and needs. The curriculum should ensure all pupils achieve their full academic potential and improve their spiritual, moral, social and culture development. The module covers curriculum design, development and delivery, including use of effective assessment to monitor, support and improve pupils’ progress. Participants will be taught about the importance of subject knowledge, curriculum-based budgeting, curriculum analysis and information technology to support teaching. Legal and statutory accountabilities in relation to the curriculum, including the teaching of synthetic phonics, key stages 2 and 4 requirements, will be covered. Using evidence from high performing systems and international perspectives, NPQH participants will be shown how, within their context, to make appropriate and innovative use of their autonomy and curriculum freedoms. Establishing links with parents, the community and business partners will also be covered.

Closing the Gap (elective module)

This module will teach NPQH participants how to close gaps in achievement and attainment that can occur across specific groups of pupils, particularly addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils, including those entitled to free school meals. The module considers how to identify gaps, diagnose causes and address within-school variation (e.g. differences in performance by teachers with similar groups of pupils). Evidence drawn from research will be used to demonstrate which pupils perform least well nationally and why. Using examples drawn from headship, participants will be taught about strategies for monitoring, evaluating, reviewing and improving pupil attainment, improving teacher performance and addressing within school variation. They will also learn how to make sure teachers work effectively together to narrow identified gaps.

Using data and evidence to improve performance (elective module)

This module teaches NPQH participants how to analyse and interpret a range of quantitative and qualitative data to monitor and evaluate progress, identify strengths and weaknesses and set school improvement priorities. School evaluation and working with key groups (governors, teachers, parents, pupils) to consider evidence will be included in this module. Participants will learn how to interrogate research evidence and use it discerningly.

Leading staff and effective teams (elective module)

This module will enable NPQH participants to know how to work with staff to establish and implement effective professional development that improves teaching and pupil attainment. Participants will be taught about delegation, talent development, succession planning and team work that is characterised by high expectations and collective responsibility for school improvement. Through examining their own practice, along with relevant national and international research, participants will know how to lead and develop teams committed to sharing and improving their practice. Participants will be taught how leaders can develop high performing teams that will significantly improve teaching across the curriculum.

Leading change for improvement (elective module)

This module will teach NPQH participants the essential knowledge linked to leading change in order to achieve school improvement. Participants will review various case stories and accounts of practice to evaluate how leaders implement change for improvement and consider a range of approaches to leading change for improvement (including models from Michael Fullan, J Kotter, and G Bridge). Building on Michael Fullan’s research work and using one of his analytical tools, participants will develop their own knowledge to help them lead change in their school when they take up headship.

School improvement through effective partnerships (elective module)

This module will teach NPQH participants how to work successfully with different partners to address school improvement priorities. Using international research evidence drawn from a range of sectors, participants will consider how to establish both formal and informal partnerships that benefit pupils. Participants will know how to secure more effective links with the school’s existing partners and be taught about the range of school improvement partnerships with, for example, teaching schools, chains of academies, voluntary and business organisations.