National Professional Qualification
for 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.

Develop a Broad Understanding of System Leadership

Awards 100 Master's Credits

Establish and Sustain a MAT's or Schools Group's Strategic Vision

Apply Now for Autumn 2024

The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL) is accredited by the UK Department for Education (DfE). The qualification is delivered by Best Practice Network, a provider of UK accredited qualifications for education professionals worldwide.

NPQEL is suitable for colleagues aspiring to, or already in, leadership roles across more than one school. For example, Principals, Heads of Primary / Secondary, Executive Headteachers, Directors of Education, Finance and HR Directors, COOs.

What are the benefits?

The fully blended learning approach with HEI backed content (meaning that participants can put their NPQEL work towards postgraduate qualifications with a university), combined with executive coaching and enrichment activity from within and outside the education sector, make this an exciting and valuable opportunity for executive leaders.

Benefits for candidates

  • National and international networking
  • Increased awareness and understanding of self and of the behaviours needed to lead across multiple organisations
  • Time to reflect on leadership practice and ability to check learning and development needs
  • Increased capability and capacity to take on a multi-school organisation - having the skills, knowledge and understanding to do the job more effectively

Benefits for schools

      • Increased national partnership opportunities and insight into the systems, sectors and sources of effective leadership practice
      • Increased commitment to building relationships with a range of stakeholders within the organisation and the wider community
      • A professionally aware and informed leader who can make evidence-based strategic 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


    Why did you sign up for the NPQEL with OLP?

    What has been a highlight of the NPQEL programme for you?

    Has the programme made a difference to you personally as a leader in terms of behaviour?

    National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for International Schools

    Outstanding Leaders Partnership began delivering National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) to international schools in 2018. Since then, thousands of international schools colleagues have completed our prestigious qualifications, helping them to become more effective school leaders.

    The majority of our international NPQ candidates complete the qualifications through our remote online delivery model where the face-to-face elements are delivered via interactive facilitated webinars. International face-to-face NPQ delivery is also available, please contact us for your nearest group. If you would like to host NPQs in your school or schools group then please visit our partnerships page.

    Remote Online Delivery for International Schools

    For colleagues working in international schools, we are able to deliver the National Professional Qualification for Leading Teaching (NPQLT) entirely online.

    Participants access the qualification resources through our award winning Virtual Learning Environment, Canvas, where they engage with international schools colleagues from around the world to discuss the resources and collaborate to complete the various tasks.

    NPQLT candidates will attend 3 face-to-face events if they choose to complete the programme via the blended delivery model. Our international delivery network allows us to bring face-to-face training to a school near you and facilitated by local school leaders (please contact us for international locations).

    Candidates access online learning and support via our virtual learning environment (VLE) Canvas. Through Canvas, candidates are able to engage with their peers, access multimedia content and submit work for assessment.

    NPQEL Qualification Structure

    NPQEL Framework

    The NPQ frameworks are based on a robust method of design and development, building on the evidence base and expert guidance already established in the ECF and the ITT Core Content Framework. The NPQ frameworks reflect the Teachers’ Standards and Headteachers' Standards to ensure coherency with the requirements already used by the teaching profession.

    Please see the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership Framework below. If your computer or device does not support the Adobe plugin you can download the framework pdf here.

    Who is this for?

    NPQEL is suitable for colleagues aspiring to, or already in, leadership roles across more than one school. 


    Applicants must have full support from their school/organisation. A head teacher, member of the SLT, line manager or Chair of Governors (or similar authoritative role) must confirm their support and that all information submitted is true and correct. This is a Department for Education mandatory requirement.

    To apply for NPQEL, applicants must have the following:

    • Teacher Reference Number (TRN)
    • 2 years teaching experience
    • Leadership aspiration/experience
    • 3 years experience as a headteacher

    If you are unsure if you meet the above requirements or have other relevant experience then please contact our team who will be able to support your application.

    What does it cost?

    The cost of NPQEL International is £5950 plus VAT where applicable. VAT is chargeable on courses funded by private individuals.

    Next Steps

    We are now accepting applications for the NPQEL. Click below to apply.

    Apply Now