NPQSL – 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's it for?

This level has been developed for those leading beyond a team at a senior level within an organisation. It covers areas that are relevant to participants with responsibilities and accountabilities which are traditionally associated with senior leadership roles (e.g. deputy or assistant head). The modules may also be appropriate to a Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) who has responsibility for supporting other schools. The modules will also be suitable for experienced  middle leaders who are ambitious for and keen to take up a senior leadership role.

How much does it cost?

For 2016/17, NPQSL with Learners First costs £1,120. This price includes the cost of *assessment (paid for by the DFE) for those starting on the programme before 31st January 2017.

*You’ll also need to pay £440 for your final assessment if you apply from either:- an independent or non-maintained school OR a school outside England

What's involved?

The normal duration of study is 12 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
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NPQSL Modules

In order to graduate from NPQSL you will be required to successfully complete two essential and two elective module. The two essential modules are:-

  • Succeeding in Senior Leadership

  • Closing the Gap


See below for further details of the 2 essential modules and the 7 elective modules.

NPQSL module exemptions

Exemptions are available for completion of the following National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) programmes within the last 3 years.

Leadership Pathways

– 1 elective module of NPQSL

Tomorrow’s Heads (for 1 or 2 years)

– 1 elective module of NPQSL

You cannot claim exemption for any essential modules.

NPQSL Assessment

For teachers starting the course after 01st September 2014, the final assessment comprises 1 task leading on a project across your school.

You will 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

* Full details are available in the NPQSL Final Assessment document in the download section.

NPQSL Modules

NPQSL modules are delivered under license by the National College of Teaching and Leadership

HMG Id templates

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

Senior Leaders have now chosen to undertake the nationally accredited NPQSL with Learners First since 2012.

NPQSL - Essential and Elective Modules
Succeeding in Senior Leadership

Succeeding in Senior Leadership (SISL) is an essential module

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
Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap (CTG) is an essential module

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
Improving the Quality of Teaching

Improving the Quality of Teaching (IQT) is an elective module

Learn how to improve teaching and learning across your school. Look at the importance of school-wide policies, models of teaching and approaches to evaluating pupil progress.
In this module, you’ll learn about:

  • effective pedagogy – outstanding teaching and learning, including pupil progress
  • international research and evidence on leading teaching and learning
  • lesson observation and strategies for improving performance
  • whole-school data analysis
  • the Ofsted inspection framework (teaching and learning)
  • supporting and challenging others to make improvements
  • achieving high-quality teaching and positive behaviour through classroom management
Effective Whole School Management

Effective Whole School Management (EWSM) is an elective module

Strengthen your management of school processes and systems. Learn how to manage performance, behaviour, finances, health and safety, welfare and curriculum.

In this module, you’ll learn about:

  • performance cultures that motivate staff and promote school improvement
  • effective performance management and appraisal systems
  • national curriculum requirements and freedoms
  • health and safety legislation, including governor accountabilities
  • child protection issues
  • successful financial management practice in schools
Effective Partnership Working

Effective Partnership Working (EPW) is an elective module

Learn how to develop successful partnerships with parents, governors, other schools and the wider community.

In this module, you’ll 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:

  • the research evidence on the value of collaboration and partnership working
  • the principles and benefits of effective partnerships
  • the principles and practice of a self-improving system and school-to-school support
  • working with parents and governors to improve outcomes
  • distributed leadership within partnerships
  • joint practice development across partnerships
  • evaluating the impact of partnership working
Leading Change for Improvement

Leading Change For Improvement (LCFI) is an elective module

Learn the essential knowledge needed to lead change to achieve school improvement.
In this module, you’ll learn about:

  • how organisations change to improve and the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful change programmes
  • international evidence relating to effective change, including different ways of approaching change
  • leadership and management processes and tools that support change in schools
  • how team leaders contribute to and influence school-wide change
  • the professional qualities of effective team leadership in changing situations
Research and Development in Teaching

Research and Development in Teaching (RDIT) is an elective module

Learn how to promote and lead research and development within and between schools.
In this module, you’ll learn about:

  • the current evidence about teaching and learning in the 21st century
  • using research evidence to inform thinking and decision making
  • different approaches to research and development
  • stubborn problems and those known as ‘wicked issues’
  • school-based enquiry and finding creative, innovative solutions
  • knowledge transfer within and between schools
School Self Evaluation

School Self Evaluation (SSE) is an elective module

Develop the knowledge and skills to undertake whole-school self-evaluation. Understand its links to strategic planning and managing performance.
In this module, you’ll learn about:

  • whole-school strategic planning, school-improvement planning and principles of accountability
  • the Ofsted inspection framework
  • the strategic responsibilities of a governing body
  • systems and processes for monitoring, reviewing and evaluating performance across the school
  • the range of data available from across the school
  • how to use data to make a judgment about strengths and areas for improvement
  • identifying key risks and issues within the data, and escalating appropriately
Leading Professional Development

Leading Professional Development (LPD) is an elective module

Learn how to design and implement a strategy for professional development which engages all staff. Improving leadership development raises the quality of teaching, learning and outcomes for pupils.

In this module, you’ll learn about:

  • the role of leaders in supporting and promoting a culture of continuous professional development
  • the research evidence about adult learning and effective professional development
  • professional development linked to improvement and impact
  • collaborative learning within and across schools
  • creating and developing professional learning communities