The Leaders Apprenticeship with NPQSL has been designed for aspiring or recently appointed middle leaders looking to improve their leadership capability. The programme delivers the Department for Education’s leadership qualification NPQSL with the comprehensive wraparound support of an apprenticeship. Candidates accepted on to the programme benefit from:


Full National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership

Completion of Level 5 Departmental Manager standard

Dedicated apprenticeship tutor and a separate personal NPQ tutor

Up to 60 masters credits

Apprenticeship Levy funding

    Am I eligible?

    Our dual award 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, a SEN coordinator, an assistant headteacher, or other senior staff members.

    Candidates must work a minimum of 30 hours per week and be able to evidence level 2 English and Maths prior to undertaking end-point assessment.

    When does it start? 

    Application is open now for our Spring 2021 intake.

    We are only offering a limited number of spaces on this dual award programme so early application is advised.

    Where do I find further information about NPQSL?

    Our Senior Leader dual award includes the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL). For more information about NPQSL click here.

    The Outstanding Leaders Partnership is the leading provider of NPQSL nationally and the quality of our provision is rated ‘Exceptional’ by the DfE’s external quality assurance agent.

    You can view our performance against the national metrics here.

    Candidates completing the dual award benefit from:

    • Increased awareness and understanding of self and of the behaviours needed to lead across a school
    • Increased capability and capacity to take on a leadership role
    • Evidence-based sustainable school improvement activity improving pupil progress and attainment, and the effectiveness of teaching
    • The ability to make informed decisions and approach new challenges in an effective and efficient manner
    • The ability to review and evaluate practice in order to bring about change and get the best for young people and staff within the organisation
    • One-to-one support from a dedicated personal tutor including monthly check-ins online & in-person
    • Time set-aside from your working day to engage in learning
    • Entitlement to an NUS student discount card

    Programme outline

    The following timeline shows the key points of engagement for a typical candidate undertaking the dual award.

    We have carefully developed our dual award programme to be relevant to managers and aspiring managers working in the education sector. We have mapped the content of our NPQML or NPQSL qualifications so they are closely aligned to the knowledge and theory aspects of the apprenticeship standard. In addition, candidates will cover relevant skills and behaviours for the apprenticeship through work-based learning, building their confidence and supporting their career progression.

    Delivery includes:

    • Face-to-face activity delivered locally through our national network of partner schools
    • Facilitated online courses working alongside peers nationally
    • One-to-one support from a dedicated personal tutor including monthly check-ins online & in-person
    • Content individually tailored to the prior skills and knowledge of each candidate
    • A variety of accompanying enrichment activities including podcasts, live webinars, reading, structured reflection, and project planning.

    How do I access the funding?

    You can access funding for the Apprenticeship component of this dual award from your school’s apprenticeship levy. Schools will be able to access the funding through their apprenticeship service (AS) account.

    If your school needs help setting up your AS account, just let us know and we’ll guide you through it.

    The level of funding depends on each candidate’s learning needs, with a maximum allocation of £7,000 to cover the cost of the apprenticeship.   Note, there is an additional fee of £95 to cover the cost of the NPQSL certification.  This cannot be funded from the apprenticeship levy.  

    School type Accessing apprenticeship levy funding
    Levy paying Academies and Trusts Drawn down directly using your Apprenticeship Service account
    Maintained schools (LA funded) Drawn down by the Local Authority from levy fund
    Non-levy paying schools Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will fund 95% of the course fee through the ‘co-investment’ scheme

    How do I apply?

    To apply for our dual award please complete our full application form.

    After submitting your full application, a member of our team will be in touch to support you onto this dual award.

    Complete full application

    Leaders Apprenticeship with NPQML / NPQSL

    Covid-19: Leaders Apprenticeship with NPQML / NPQSL