National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)

School leaders standing together

Leadership matters. Make a real impact in your school with our NPQs.

Apply for our February 2022 cohort by 5 December to secure your place before Christmas.

Teach First's February NPQLT and NPQH cohorts are full. But our Delivery Partners may still have availability - apply directly with them.

  • Broaden and deepen expertise in your specialist area.
  • High-quality, evidence-led training designed by experts.
  • Flexible training that fits around your schedule and prior knowledge.
  • DfE funding available to all state school teachers and leaders.
  • Free one-to-one support and coaching.
  • Join a passionate network striving for educational equality.
School leaders standing together

Fulfil your school's potential. Invest in an NPQ today.

NPQs

What are NPQs?

National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are the most widely recognised qualifications in the education sector for current and aspiring leaders.

Accredited by the Department for Education (DfE), NPQs provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels. From those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice, such as behaviour management, to those leading multiple schools across trusts.

We’re delighted to be one of a select group of national providers to design, deliver and assess the reformed NPQs in collaboration with several Delivery Partners (Teaching School Hubs and multi-academy trusts working with us to deliver the NPQs).

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of NPQs are there?

There are three specialist NPQs for teachers and school leaders who want to broaden their expertise in particular areas. The following programmes are for those who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject or year, leading behaviour and/or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school, or leading the development of other teachers in their school. 

For those looking to progress into senior leadership and beyond, the following NPQs build foundational knowledge to rapidly progress your school or trust’s key improvement priorities – all while creating and embedding a culture that allows your school, staff and pupils to thrive:

Please see the 'Our programmes' tab on this page for more detail on each NPQ.

Teach First's February NPQLT and NPQH cohorts are full. But our Delivery Partners may still have availability - apply directly with them.

What can NPQs do for your school?

Our NPQs support teachers who want to take the next step on their leadership journey and are motivated to make a difference in their school. Teachers will develop core knowledge and skills to prepare them for the long-term, as well as gaining the tools, examples and practice to start making a positive impact in their school straight away.

How is Teach First delivering NPQs?

Building on our existing expertise in providing high-quality leadership training, our programmes are delivered across the country with our Delivery Partners.

If your school is affiliated to one of our Delivery Partners, you’ll be able to do your Teach First NPQ with them. We’ll let you know at the point of application if this is the case. If your school is not affiliated to one of our Delivery Partners, you can apply to and complete your NPQ directly with us.

Our Delivery Partners (full list)

Become a Teach First Delivery Partner (for Teaching School Hubs and Mutli-Academy Trusts).

Need more information?

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Department for Education logo with text - 'Accredited NPQ provider'

Schools are

10x more likely

to improve with effective leadership

Teachers talking
I’m so glad I did my NPQ with Teach First. Practical, research informed and manageable… The new NPQs look even better!
James Bennett,
Assistant Head of Year at Ark Academy

Benefits

Broaden and deepen expertise in your specialist area

Boost your career with a highly respected NPQ. We’re one of the few organisations accredited to provide these nationally.

Our NPQs provide the opportunity to refresh and fill gaps in knowledge, allowing for different levels of prior experience. Each programme focuses on both the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ - we’ve designed the learning to be relevant and practical through the use of real-life examples, case studies and best practice from a range of contexts specific to your role and level.

High-quality, evidence-led training designed by education experts and school leaders

Our leadership training is built around the latest research and best practice to make a real, long-term impact.

All our NPQs are focused on effective implementation. They’re designed with input from our Delivery Partners, subject and phase experts, and our alumni community to bring concrete school experience to our content. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, our NPQs offer the specialist knowledge and expertise you need to make a real difference in your school.

Strengthen leadership and culture in your school

Our NPQs build leadership skills and capacity by equipping programme members to lead diverse and inclusive schools. This is embedded across the programme learning, from developing staff to how you lead your curriculum.

We’ll help you identify how to support your pupils and staff so that you can tackle school improvement priorities even more effectively. Each stage of our programmes is tailored to your school’s individual needs and designed to address your daily challenges.

Flexible training that fits around your schedule and prior knowledge

Most of the NPQ learning opportunities can be accessed online – meaning you can fit the programme around your schedule at a pace that suits you. You’ll also attend our live and in-person learning in small groups, where you’ll consolidate your knowledge, prepare for the next stages and connect with other leaders on your programme. Our online resources and tools will help you reflect on and track your leadership development, all while tackling the issues impacting your school.

This learning approach automatically tailors the curriculum to each teacher’s starting point, current context and workload, and ensures access to all. We’ll provide the opportunity to 'have a go' at applying learning throughout the programme in a manageable, bitesize way.

DfE funding and free one-to-one support for schools most in need

Full DfE funding, with no cost to the participant, is available across the suite of NPQs for those schools that meet the eligibility criteria. Full details on available funding can be found in the ‘Cost’ tab of each individual programme page.

What’s more, if you work in a school serving disadvantaged communities, you may be eligible to apply for Teach First’s free one-to-one support which runs along your NPQ of choice.

You’ll be supported by an experienced former school leader who will coach and guide you throughout your NPQ. You can make a request to be considered for this additional support when you apply for your programme.

Join a passionate network striving for educational equality

Share experiences with other school leaders, learn how they’ve faced similar challenges and build a professional network that will support you throughout your career.

Need more information?

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

The support on the programme is fantastic and it works around our school schedule. There’s flexibility and a really good working understanding.
Claudenia Williams,
Senior Leader programme member

In an external review, we were awarded

10/10

for both the NPQ programme design and support of our programme members.

Student on work experience

Impact

Why does supporting school leadership matter?

Key facts:

  • 90% of teachers say leadership development opportunities encourage them to stay in a school.
  • Around 850,000 young people are not benefiting from good or outstanding leadership, according to Ofsted.
  • Effective leadership makes schools ten times more likely to improve at their next Ofsted inspection.

Why Teach First?

We’ve got a strong and proven track record in leadership development:

  • For nearly 20 years we've trained and developed more than 19,000 teachers and leaders, including 10,000 trainees on our teacher Training Programme, rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted.
  • 100% of headteachers were satisfied with our Leading Together programme (which works with a school’s senior leadership team) and Headship First programme (which supports those new to headship).
  • Right now, Teach First is working with over 1,000 school leaders across the country, developing their expertise and impact in challenging environments.

Why choose a Teach First NPQ? 

We’ve been an accredited NPQ provider for several years with excellent feedback from programme members:

  • 90% of our NPQ alumni said they can now implement improvements in their school.
  • We were awarded 10/10 in an external review of our NPQs for both the programme design and support of our programme members.
  • 91% of our programme members rated their one-to-one support from us as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.  

Need more information?

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

I’ve chosen to do my NPQH with Teach First because I looked round at a great number of providers and I wanted to know that I was getting involved with an organisation that shared my ideals.
Alex Pett,
Headship programme member

90% of our NPQ alumni

said they can now implement improvements in their school.

Teacher writing on whiteboard at front of class

Eligibility

Is my school eligible?

While NPQs are open to all teachers and leaders in schools in England, we prioritise working with schools that teach a high number of pupils from low-income backgrounds. 

Our criteria are agreed with the Department for Education (DfE) and used to identify schools that will benefit most from working with us. We use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Pupil Premium (PP) information for each school to guide us. 

We work with schools that are ranked in the top 70% most deprived areas (based on IDACI) and where the proportion of pupils eligible for pupil premium is in the top 50% of all state-funded schools. 

If your school is affiliated to one of our NPQ Delivery Partners, your school is automatically eligible to take part. Contact the relevant Delivery Partner for further information. 

If you’re not sure whether your school is eligible, or if you think your school would benefit from our support but doesn’t match the standard elibility criteria above, please email us at TFSLP@teachfirst.org.uk. 

Need more information?

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

two teachers talk and walk down corridor

Our programmes

Whatever stage you’re at on your leadership journey, our range of NPQs can offer the knowledge and expertise you need to make a real difference in your school.

Teach First's February NPQLT and NPQH cohorts are full. But our Delivery Partners may still have availability - apply directly with them.

NPQ in Leading Teaching (NPQLT)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including by subject and phase (with content such as how to sequence a curriculum and plan effective assessment)
  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice
  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and school focus.

Who's it for?

Teachers and school leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject or year. For example, head of subject, key stage head or head of department.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Apply now

If you are a current Teach First partner school, you can nominate your teachers on the School Portal

If your school is part of one of our Delivery Partners, please apply directly with them.

NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture (NPQLBC)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including behaviour, school culture and developing others
  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice
  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and school focus.

Who's it for?

Teachers and school leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour and/or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school. For example, head of year or roles with other pastoral responsibilities.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Apply now

If you are a current Teach First partner school, you can nominate your teachers on the School Portal

If your school is part of one of our Delivery Partners, please apply directly with them.

NPQ in Leading Teacher Development (NPQLTD)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a specialist in areas related to your role, including designing and delivering continual professional development (CPD) to others across the school
  • work with serving school leaders and subject matter experts to turn new learning into changes in your own and others’ practice
  • access a blended learning programme that is full of practical and tangible examples, flexible and tailored to your needs and areas of development and school focus.

Who's it for?

Teachers and school leaders who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school, for example CPD lead or ITT lead.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Apply now

If you are a current Teach First partner school, you can nominate your teachers on the School Portal

If your school is part of one of our Delivery Partners, please apply directly with them.

NPQ in Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a leader with some areas of cross and whole school responsibility
  • access content across a breadth of areas, such as teaching, behaviour and professional development
  • be supported to effectively implement change and improvement in an area related to your role and context.

Who's it for?

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

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Apply now

If you are a current Teach First partner school, you can nominate your teachers on the School Portal

If your school is part of one of our Delivery Partners, please apply directly with them.

NPQ in Headship (NPQH)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a leader with whole-school responsibility
  • access content across a breadth of areas such as school culture, curriculum and assessment, and organisational management
  • be supported to effectively implement change and improvement in an area you identify as a school priority.

Who's it for?

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

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Apply now

If you are a current Teach First partner school, you can nominate your teachers on the School Portal

If your school is part of one of our Delivery Partners, please apply directly with them.

NPQ Additional Support Offer for New Headteachers

This additional support offer is aimed at new headteachers taking the NPQH in their first two years of headship. It’s also suitable for a leader who has taken the NPQH before headship - as long as the additional support is taken within two years of becoming a new headteacher.

More information here

NPQ in Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

This programme will help you to:

  • develop as a leader with trust-level responsibility
  • access content across a breadth of areas such as organisational management, working in partnership, and additional and special educational needs and disabilities
  • effectively implement change and improvement in an area you identify as a trust priority. 

Who's it 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.

Find out more about this programme and apply below:

Learn more

Apply now

If you are a current Teach First partner school, you can nominate your teachers on the School Portal

If your school is part of one of our Delivery Partners, please apply directly with them.

Teach First 1:1 support

Teach First is offering free 1:1 support on all of our NPQ programmes, for teachers and leaders working in schools serving disadvantaged communities.

This free support comes in the form of an experienced former school leader who will coach and guide you throughout your NPQ. You can apply for this in your application, and we will allocate this support on a priority school basis.

More information here

Need more information?

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for a different leadership programme?

Structured, detailed and very manageable... The support I received from [my Development Lead], was also terrific!
NPQ programme member

91% of our programme members

rated their one-to-one support from us as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Teacher handing out worksheets to students

Our leadership programmes

Great leaders drive successful schools. Our world-class training gives those eager to step up and build a fairer education system, the tools and networks to do it.

A teacher smiling at one of their pupils.

Explore our bank of resources, shared by our community of teachers and schools

Join our NPQ programmes

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