National Professional Qualification for Headship

The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is the first choice qualification for anyone aspiring to be a Headteacher.

The qualification not only focuses on the key skills needed for Headship, but also meets the highest standards for leadership development anywhere in the world. NPQH is a high bar that will challenge and develop talented leaders from all backgrounds to deliver educational excellence in a self-improving system, and high quality outcomes for pupils and students..

Who is this for?

NPQH is suitable for candidates who are highly motivated to become a Headteacher and no more than 18 months from applying for headship. Candidates must pass the gateway assessment before registering with a provider.

How to Apply

The application deadline has now passed for NPQH to start in Spring 2017.

We would like to wish good luck to everyone who submitted an application and we look forward to working with you.

New Candidates

The application gateway will reopen in summer for NPQH Autumn 2017. If you are interested in applying for NPQH Autumn 2017 and wish to receive course updates then please register your interest by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 0117 920 9424.

Location NPQH is delivered at high quality venues throughout the Midlands.
Fees Please see below for fees

The qualification is assessed and accredited by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and consists of a flexible, modular structure that combines core modules with the freedom to specialise and to develop your own professional areas of interest through the choice of elective modules. Modules cover three learning areas:

  • Educational excellence
  • Operational management
  • Strategic leadership

All modules focus on improving the effectiveness of leadership practice and consist of workplace learning and practice activities; face-to-face workshops and online learning. Candidates will have the opportunity to:

  • Access high-quality learning materials and look at accounts of practice from outstanding leaders
  • Reflect on their own leadership through discussion and debate with peers
  • Put theory into practice and continue to improve their own leadership in order to have a greater impact within their institution

Activities within modules have been designed to stimulate and challenge thinking, build knowledge, skills and expertise, and promote change and improvement in leadership behaviours, capability and capacity.

Delivery model

Trainee heads are expected to completion the qualification within a 12 month period. Trainee headteachers benefit from:

  • five face-to-face training events
  • five online courses working alongside peers*
  • termly face-to-face and online coaching sessions
  • regular online conferences to support and compliment learning
  • access to two 360° leadership skills diagnostics
  • support from a nominated in-school mentor
  • facilitation and coaching from serving school leaders in outstanding schools
  • a nine-day school placement (identified according to location, phase and specialism)
  • mobile enabled virtual learning environment enabling flexible access to course resources and support community
  • option to accrue Credits and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points to contribute towards a Master's degree
  • *Online courses take around 15hrs and cover a four week period. The courses are facilitated by sector experts and provide a structured pathway through the module resources. Course activities are completed collaboratively helping enhance comprehension and application.


The assessment criteria will be used to judge whether trainee Headteachers are ready for Headship. The criteria will be drawn from the NPQH competency framework. The final assessment process will comprise three assessed tasks and a final presentation/interview:

  • Task 1: Leading school improvement priority in own or agreed school
  • Task 2: Leading school improvement tasks, working in partnership with the placement school
  • Task 3: Case study and presentation/interview


School type Fee payable
State-maintained schools and academies £2250*
Independent/Overseas Schools £2250 + assessment fees

All English state-maintained schools and academies have historically had their final assessment funded by the National College. We are awaiting word as to whether final assessment will be again funded for trainee heads starting spring 2017. The fee for final assessment is currently being revised and will not be confirmed until January 2017.


School leaders who have a Masters degree in Educational Leadership can request an exemption from the elective module. Exemptions are only available for qualifications undertaken within the last three years and will entitle candidates to a discount of £100 from the course fee.

Delivery for your school alliance

If your school alliance has at least 10 staff that you wish to register for NPQH then we can set up a bespoke group for you. This will provide you with the benefit of using your own facilities for face to face training and determining the dates and delivery model (twilights, school holidays, half-days etc).

A collaborative group will also bring a financial benefit as the candidate fees can be reduced to reflect the number of candidates and any savings made by using your school’s facilities.

For more information, please contact us on 0117 9209 206 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.