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NPQs

National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are the most widely recognised qualifications in the education sector for current and aspiring leaders. NPQs are open to all teachers and leaders in schools in England and Wales.  The new, reformed NPQs are an exciting suite of professional qualifications and are significantly different to previous NPQs. 

Accredited by the Department for Education (DfE), NPQs provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels.  The first cohort of NPQs launches in November 2021 with a second cohort starting in February 2022.

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from autumn 2021.  This is to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

What are NPQs?

NPQs have been designed with teachers and leaders in mind using the latest evidence and can be completed flexibly around existing commitments.

During the programmes you will:

  • learn from the evidence-based curriculum of your chosen qualification, drawing on effective pedagogy, current research and international best practice helping you improve in your current role, or take the next step in your career
  • take part in a blend of face-to-face sessions, webinars, and self-directed study
  • answer a short, assessed case study question.

Specialist NPQs

National Professional Qualification in Leading Teacher Development (NPQLTD)

For those keen to specialise in supporting the training and development of others

National Professional Qualification in Leading Teaching (NPQLT)

For those keen to develop as subject leads or teachers responsible for improving teaching practice in a subject or phase

National Professional Qualification in Leading Behaviour and Culture (NPQLBC)

For those keen to develop expertise and responsibility for leading behaviour and culture.

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from autumn 2021.  This is to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

Leadership NPQs

The three existing NPQs have been refreshed, ensuring that they are underpinned by the latest evidence of what works:

National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

For school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities

National Professional Qualification in Headship (NPQH)

For school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school

National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

For school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from autumn 2021.  This is to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

Our national lead providers

Unity Teaching School Hub will be delivering the full suite of new and reformed National Professional Qualifications in partnership with two national lead providers:

Teacher Development Trust 
 
Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership

Local facilitation expertise

Our NPQ facilitator teams brings together expertise and experience from across the area and wider region; all are passionate about professional learning and have a strong understanding of locality contexts.

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from autumn 2021.  This is to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

Assessment in the new NPQs

Assessment of NPQs has been refreshed to reduce the workload burden on teachers, while still providing an opportunity to apply knowledge.

To pass an NPQ, teachers need to engage with at least 90% of the course and complete a final assessment. The final assessment takes the form of a case study representing a likely situation to be faced by a teacher at the relevant NPQ qualification level or role. It will test teachers on a variety of ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements from within the relevant NPQ Content Framework. Teachers will be allowed an eight-day calendar window to provide a written response to the case study in an ‘open book’ setting.

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from autumn 2021.  This is to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

Funding available for eligible participants in 2021/2022

Details of scholarship funding available from the Department for Education can be found here.

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from autumn 2021.  This is to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

Frequently asked questions

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from autumn 2021.  This is to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

Q: When can I access these qualifications? 

NPQs in Leading Teaching, Leading Behaviour and Culture, Leading Teacher Development, Senior Leadership, Headship and Executive Leadership are available from November 2021.

Q: Do candidates for NPQs have to have QTS?  

While it is not a requirement that participants should have QTS status, providers should assess candidates’ suitability for NPQ qualifications bearing in mind that content frameworks contain sections on teaching and learning. This would need to be considered in line with the context of the individual circumstances. Participants must have a Teacher Reference Number in order to register for an NPQ programme. The NPQ Registration service has information on how to apply for a TRN if a participant doesn’t already have one.

Q: I don’t know my TRN. Can you help?

 You must have a TRN to register for an NPQ course. If you do not know what your teacher reference number (TRN) is, you can find this on your payslip, teachers’ pensions documentation or teacher training records. If you are unable to locate your TRN or not been assigned a TRN, please follow the guidance on the NPQ Registration service provided 

Q: I am not a teacher and don’t have a TRN - can I still access an NPQ? 

A person receives a TRN when they receive QTS. However, a person who does not have QTS can get a TRN if they want to take an NPQ.  If you want to take an NPQ and do not have a TRN, you need to first check you are suitable for the programme with your provider and once you have chosen your course and provider, the registration service signposts you to how to get a TRN so that you can access an NPQ.

Q. Will teachers and leaders who have previously undertaken an NPQ be eligible for the new suite?

The eligibility criteria for participants who have previously undertaken an NPQ (including those who have previously withdrawn from or failed an NPQ) is currently under review and more information will be available in due course.

Q. Can participants take multiple leadership NPQs under the new suite?

The new suite of NPQs is designed to provide training and support for teachers and leaders at all levels and through the entirety of a teacher’s career. Teachers are permitted to take more than one leadership NPQ to support their career progression, for example if they move to a more senior role. We would expect teachers to have successfully completed their NPQ before undertaking a further NPQ.

Q. Can participants receive funding for multiple specialist NPQs under the new suite?

Teachers can take more than one specialist NPQ, for example if they move to a different role at the same level, but we would recommend that they review the frameworks to help inform their choice.  We would expect teachers to have the backing of their school leader(s) when applying for these qualifications.