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National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership

The NPQSL is an established qualification that provides national recognition of your leadership development and professional achievement as a senior leader. It is aimed at individuals who not only have responsibility for leading a team, but are also involved in leading across teams on a range of issues that affect the whole school or organisation. It is aimed at senior leaders, including experienced middle leaders, deputy heads, SENCOs and ASTs and other senior staff looking for further professional development but not yet within 18 months of headship. You do not have to have completed any prior leadership development programmes to embark upon this qualification. The NPQSL qualification will support you in becoming a highly effective senior leader, with the skills, confidence and knowledge to contribute to the strategic development of your school or organisation as part of the senior leadership team.

Our Programme

Our programme is delivered though a blended learning approach; a combination of face to face days, on-line learning, school experience, self –study and personal reading. As a competency based programme there is a focus throughout on the development of skills and understanding alongside leadership behaviours. Whilst on the programme day-to-day leadership development in your current school will allow you to:

  • lead on a strategically challenging project
  • engage in challenge and support from your coach and/or head teacher
  • integrate new learning into your leadership practice
  • develop those leadership behaviours identified through the 360 diagnostic
  • negotiate and tackle specific whole team/school improvement priorities

Those not currently working in a school will undertake these activities in the school(s) that they have identified, and who have committed to support them.
The course duration is 12 months with an expectation that participants go for final assessment
within 12-18 months from induction.  

Use of a Leadership Diagnostic 

All participants are required to complete a 360 leadership review based around key leadership behaviours. This enables participants to use feedback from peers, those they report to and those that report to them, to celebrate strengths and identify areas for development. Ideally, this review is completed prior to induction. At induction, coaches and participants consider how best to develop identified areas. We encourage the review to be redone at the end of the programme.


During induction, you will:

  • meet your facilitators
  • have the opportunity to discuss your 360-degree diagnostic report with your coach
  • gain an overview of the programme to include an understanding of our ‘blended learning’ approach
  • reflect on your desired leadership development outcomes
  • gain an understanding of the final assessment process
  • gain an understanding of how our on-line platform, Leadership Moodle, can support your learning
  • explore the range of high-quality and current resources and activities available on Leadership Moodle
  • start to form strong professional relationships with colleagues that you will develop during and beyond the course

Face to Face Days

Facilitators, themselves excellent and inspiring leaders, quickly get to know you and your learning needs, following you through from induction to final assessment. 
Participants attend 3.5 face-to-face training days including induction together with 2 focussed school improvement visits to other schools and an assessment day.
Activities during these days stimulate the sharing of best practice and reflection with key speakers from a range of phases and contexts providing case studies and accounts of practice for critique. During the programme there will be a school improvement focus half day. This will be personalised to meet the needs of each individual and may include a thematic visit to another school. Participants carrying out similar themes for their school improvement final assessment projects will be grouped and will work alongside an expert in that area, supported by their facilitators, to ensure you are well prepared for their final assessments.

Content covers six learning areas:

  • Strategy and Improvement 
  • Teaching and Curriculum Excellence
  • Leading with Impact
  • Working in Partnership 
  • Managing Resources and Risks
  • Increasing Capability

All focus on improving the effectiveness of leadership practice as well as developing
behaviours around commitment, collaboration, personal drive, resilience, awareness, integrity and respect.

Support and Challenge Through Coaching

Coaching is an integral part of our leadership programmes. At application, your school is required to identify an appropriately experienced and senior leader/headteacher to act as your coach. As part of your training, we will develop your coaching skills and provide opportunities for peer coaching to take place.
Coaching will give you the opportunity to draw together, and integrate your new learning, reflect on progress, build on strengths and identify any further development required. At application stage, your coach is required to provide a brief supporting statement of their commitment. Coaches may become a reviewer for your 360-degree diagnostic. Throughout the programme coaches will facilitate the integration of new learning into school-based practice and ensure that participants’ improvement projects will enable them to meet the criteria required to pass final assessment. They may also be required to verify the evidence provided by participants for their final assessment.

Final Assessment

In order to gain the NPQSL qualification, participants are required to complete an assessment task in their own school. Participants must complete the following task:

  • Lead an improvement project in their school lasting at least 2 terms to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching
  • Submit a written report that does not exceed 5000 words (excluding supporting documents/materials), demonstrating how you meet the criteria which includes design, implementation and evaluation of the project

Details of this process will be given to you during your induction. Final assessment is competency based and is carried out by an external assessor.

Sessions and Duration

The course duration is 12 months with an expectation that participants go for final assessment within 12-18 months from induction.

Wednesday 18th September 2019 Induction half day
Thursday 14th November 2019 1st face-to-face full day
Tuesday 4th February 2020 2nd face-to-face full day
Wednesday 29th April 2020 3rd face-to-face full day
To be arranged Assessment full day



Priory School, Mountfield Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2XN


Course cost £849.00 per participant or free if eligible for funding, as detailed below. The DfE has recently confirmed that £10 million of the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF) has been set aside to support teachers and leaders in challenging areas to access the reformed National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). This funding will cover the full participant costs of the course for teachers working in Lewes and other category 5 or 6 schools.
Please complete and return the booking form to karen.clinton@priory.e-sussex.sch.uk by Wednesday 11th September 2019, to confirm your place/places.


Page Downloads Date  
Application Form NPQSL 04th Jun 2019 Download
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