The earlybird registration window for NPQ programmes starting in Autumn 2019 will close on Friday 26 July 2019. Full scholarship funding may be available for candidates in eligible regions. Contact our NPQ team to find out more.

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) provides recognition of leadership development and professional achievement for senior leaders who are looking for further professional development but not yet aspiring to headship.

Key Features

F2F events

Facilitated by school leaders from outstanding schools


Award winning online courses

Flexible facilitated study working alongside peers


MA credits

Gain Masters credits towards an MA in Educational Leadership with Chester University

Who is this for?

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities such as an experienced middle leader, a deputy headteacher, an assistant headteacher, or other senior staff.

This includes those who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities e.g. a Director of a Teaching School Alliance.

Qualification overview

NPQSL provides recognition of leadership development and professional achievement for senior leaders. Candidates have access to high-quality learning materials and accounts of practice from outstanding leaders. Senior leaders reflect on their own leadership through discussion and debate with peers and put theory into practice.

The qualification has been designed to stimulate and challenge thinking, build knowledge, skills and expertise, and promote change and improvement in leadership behaviours, capability and capacity.

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership has a flexible combination of blended learning and support opportunities that includes face-to-face sessions, online learning, leadership learning groups, dedicated personal tutor and peer support. Candidates will complete three modules covering three learning areas: Strategy and Improvement, Teaching and Curriculum Excellence, and Managing Resources and Risks, each facilitated within a 4-week period. All focus on improving the effectiveness of leadership practice and developing behaviours around commitment, collaboration, personal drive, resilience, awareness, integrity and respect.

NPQSL delivery model

NPQSL allows you to accrue 60 credits towards an MA in Educational Leadership with Chester University. Assessment criteria is matched so there is no extra cost for the credits and you can enter the MA course by making a secure claim for previous learning through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) process.

Programme delivery

The face to face elements of our NPQ programmes are delivered in groups around specific locations. These locations are usually chosen for their ease of access and/or proximity to the majority of applicants.

Distance learning

In the event that there isn’t a convenient group to attend near you it is possible to study for an NPQ in a distance learning group. We will replicate the face-to-face events and activities online. Overseas candidates will be grouped according to time zones to try to meet each learner’s scheduling needs.

What does it cost?

For candidates within the UK the NPQSL costs £1250. Full DfE scholarship funding is available for leaders from schools in Category 5 & 6 areas subject to certain criteria.

More details about eligibility criteria for scholarship funding.

International candidates wishing to complete the NPQSL should click here for course costs.

Application Process – NPQSL

In order to be accepted onto NPQSL with OLP, prospective candidates must secure support from their Headteacher to:

  • provide release time, mentoring and other support needed to enable the applicant to complete the qualification
  • provide a school improvement priority task for the applicant to lead a team for an extended period
  • provide evidence/verification that the applicant has completed this task when submitting for final assessment

Only applicants with a completed corresponding Headteacher declaration form will be accepted onto the qualification & offered a place in one of our delivery groups.

You can download the NPQSL Headteacher declaration form from the link below:

NPQSL Headteacher Declaration Form

Terms and conditions

Please make sure that you read our terms and conditions before you register.

How to register

Registrations are taken through our partner Best Practice Network. The registration window for programmes starting in Autumn 2019 is now open and will close on Friday 20 September 2019.