IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


National Professional Qualifications

Apply for the Spring 2023 entry with us by 26 January 2023 and get free access to the World Education Summit. Our programme supports educational leaders to develop their leadership practice.

Applications open until 26 January 2023

Apply early to secure your first choice of programme. Consult the information below and then register with the DfE NPQ Registration Service selecting UCL as your national provider.

Once you have registered, UCL will within five days provide you with a link to our short online enrolment form, which must be completed by Sunday 29 January 2023.

Get free access to the World Education Summit

By applying with us, you will get access to this year’s prestigious World Education Summit featuring the biggest names in education. Taking place online in March, the UCL pass gives access to all areas and all resources for one year.

A unique link will be sent you once your choice of NPQ has been confirmed.

About the programmes

Scholarship update

The DfE have now extending funded training scholarships for all NPQs for the next two years, to support participants undertaking NPQs in 22/23 and 23/24. You can register for one of our NPQs on the DfE NPQ Registration Service.

Scholarships are available for all teachers and leaders in state schools

DfE funded scholarships are available for all teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England.

Applicants should discuss with their line manager before applying, recognising that the programmes require a significant commitment from both schools and participants.

The UCL Centre for Educational Leadership is proud to have again been designated as a Department for Education (DfE) approved provider for all of the reformed National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). UCL has delivered the programmes since their inception in 1997.


The qualifications are designed and delivered through collaborative partnerships between UCL, regional, national and international delivery partners.

Together, UCL and school partners have drawn on their leadership professional learning expertise to design the current programmes ensuring they are informed by research and practice.

  • NPQ Leading Literacy (NPQLL) - this programme will develop participants’ expertise in leading literacy by developing a deep understanding of evidence-based practice in language reading and writing.
  • NPQ Leading Teaching (NPQLT) - designed for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage or phase.
  • NPQ Leading Teacher Development (NPQLTD) - designed for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading the development of other teachers in their school. They may have responsibilities for the development of all teachers across a school or specifically trainees or teachers who are early in their career.
  • NPQ Leading Behaviour and Culture (NPQLBC) - designed for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour and/or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school.
  • NPQ Senior Leadership (NPQSL) - designed for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities. 
  • NPQ Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL) - designed for early years leaders qualified to at least Level 3 with full and relevant qualifications working in a wide range of Early Years (EY) settings including Private, Voluntary or Independent (PVI) with leadership responsibilities.
  • NPQ Headship (NPQH) - designed for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school. 
  • Early Headship Coaching Offerthis bespoke programme consists of tailored resources, coaching and peer networking opportunities to support ongoing professional development and wellbeing. The additional support offer is designed for those in their first five years of headship.
  • NPQ Executive Leadership (NPQEL) - designed for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or a school trust CEO with responsibility for leading several schools.

Why choose a UCL NPQ?

UCL IOE is ranked number one globally for Education in the QS World University Rankings for 9 years running. The 2017-2022 version of our NPQ programmes have been rated outstanding and over 95% of participants would recommend working with us.

We were recently inspected and we are proud to say that Ofsted judged that ‘leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action towards ensuring that the ECF training & NPQ professional development is of a high standard. Read the Ofsted report here.

Our NPQs are designed and delivered with national partners who share our belief in equity and research-informed professional development that supports educational leaders to develop their leadership practice.

Most of our programmes, uniquely, include an implementation or research project that allows new leadership learning to be applied in the work-place.

Applying for a UCL NPQ

Applications are now open for the Spring 2023 cohort.

A guide for applicants

Before applying for one of the new NPQ programmes it is important that applicants are aware that the process has changed from previous years.

The new UCL IOE's NPQs are delivered in partnership with regional Delivery Partners. The UCL application form will list our partners and the qualifications that are available. Applicants should select a Delivery Partner that best meets their needs and offers the required programme.

Another change from previous NPQ programmes is that before applying to UCL IOE, applicants must first register with the Department for Education.

Step 1: Explore

Step 1 involves applicants identifying which NPQ is right for them and choosing a preferred lead provider. Information about the programmes and our local partners can be found on the UCL IOE website, the websites of our Delivery Partners or in the individual programme flyers. It is also crucial at this stage for a prospective participant to ensure that their head teacher supports their application.

Step 2: Register

Step 2 involves applicants registering with the DfE and choosing the UCL IOE as their Lead Provider. This is done through the DfE NPQ Registration Service platform and requires the following information:

  • Teacher Registration Number (TRN)
  • Name as recorded by the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA)
  • Choice of NPQ 
  • Choice of Lead Provider i.e. UCL IOE

Once registration is complete the DFE will send the details to UCL IOE.

Step 3: Apply

Step 3 involves the prospective participant completing a short UCL IOE application form.

A link to this form will be sent once the details of registration are received by UCL IOE from the DfE. The form requires headteacher/principal’s and line manager details.

This needs to be returned within 5 days of receipt.

Step 4: Begin

Step 4 involves the participant being contacted by UCL IOE and our regional partner who will provide all the information required to begin their NPQ programme. A list of regional partners can be found in the Delivery Partner Network section right below.

Delivery Partner network

Collaboration lies at the heart of our success, and we have developed a nationwide network of partnerships with the newly established Teaching School Hubs (TSHs) and Delivery Partners who have a deep understanding of the local context.

Our current partners:

AISL (China)

Balcarras Teaching School Hub & Odyssey Teaching School Hub

CATS Global Schools, South-East UK

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

Cheshire Teaching School Hub

Chiltern Teaching School Hub

Coventry and Central Warwickshire Teaching School Hub

East London Teaching School Hub

East Manchester Teaching School Hub

Exchange Teaching School Hub

Heads Up

Infinite Learning, UAE

  • Delivering the following NPQs: NPQLL, NPQLT, NPQLTD, NPQLBC, NPQSL, NPQEYL, NPQH, EHCO
  • Website: Infinite Learning - NPQs

Inspire Learning NW Teaching School Hub

Milton Keynes NPQ Partners

  • Delivering the following NPQs: NPQLL, NPQLT, NPQLTD, NPQLBC, NPQSL, NPQEYL, NPQH, EHCO
  • Area(s) covered: Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire          
  • Contact: MKNPQ@oakgrove.school

North East London Teaching School Hub

South Central Teaching School Hub

Sussex Coast Schools Alliance

South East London Partnership (Haberdashers’ and Odyssey)

  • Delivering the following NPQs: NPQLL, NPQLT, NPQLTD, NPQLBC, NPQSL, NPQEYL, NPQH, EHCO
  • Contact: k.agboola@haaf.org.uk 

Tanglin Trust School (Kuala Lumpur / Singapore) 

Teach West London

The Black Sea Group of Schools

Delivering the following NPQs: NPQLBC, NPQLT, NPQSL, EHCO
Contact: info@abc.edu.az 
Website: https://abc.edu.az/ 

TSH Berkshire

  • Delivering the following NPQs: NPQLL, NPQLT, NPQLTD, NPQLBC, NPQSL, NPQEYL, NPQH, EHCO
  • Areas covered: Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham
  • Contact: janetroberts@lgs.slough.sch.uk   
  • Website: TSH Berkshire - NPQs

The Alban Teaching School Hub

The Collegiate Trust

The Golden Thread Teaching School Hub

Wandle Teaching School Hub, SW London

  • Delivering the following NPQs: NPQLL, NPQLT, NPQLTD, NPQLBC, NPQSL, NPQEYL, NPQH, EHCO
  • Areas covered: Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth
  • Contact: dwallace@chestnutgrove.org.uk
  • Website: WTSH - NPQs

Wycombe Abbey Schools International (China)


Currently, the DfE have changed scholarship criteria to make NPQs fully funded for all teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19.

Funding is available once per NPQ. An example of this would be if a participant starts a course and withdraws or not pass, then the participant will not receive funding for the same course in the future (note: participants can still be funded for different NPQs if they meet the eligibility criteria).

Programme fees

The new scholarship criteria doesn’t include independent schools. The fees for independent schools are listed below and are only available to those that apply for the NPQ programmes through the DfE Digital Service. There are also separate / similar price schedules for British International Schools which are available on request.

  • NPQ for Leading Literacy - £885*. VAT is not applicable.
  • NPQ for Leading Teaching - £885*. VAT is not applicable.
  • NPQ for Leading Teacher Development - £885*. VAT is not applicable.
  • NPQ for Leading Behaviour and Culture - £885*. VAT is not applicable.
  • NPQ for Senior Leadership - £1,055*. VAT is not applicable.
  • NPQ for Early Years Leadership – £1,055*. VAT is not applicable.
  • NPQ for Headship - £1,985*. VAT is not applicable.
  • Early Headship Coaching Offer - £800. VAT is not applicable.
  • NPQ for Executive Leadership - £4,099. VAT is not applicable.

*A discount has been applied for this NPQ programme for Autumn 2022 and Spring 2023 cohorts.

Benefits to participants

Working with UCL and our delivery partners, participants will have:

  • access to world-leading research, evidence informed practice and knowledge exchange
  • an increased awareness and understanding of self as leader and of the behaviours needed to lead teams, schools or a group of schools
  • increased leadership confidence to implement school improvement, drive culture and ethos, curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment and develop organisational effectiveness for the leadership level you are working at
  • time to reflect on leadership practice and to network with a wide range of school leaders
  • access to bespoke UCL Library resources.

Benefits to schools

Working with UCL, schools will:

  • develop a strategic approach to leadership focused on improving pupil outcomes
  • access programmes designed to enhance staff wellbeing, agency, recruitment and retention within your organisation
  • engage in a joined-up approach to school improvement in your school and region
  • grow leadership capacity built on evidence-informed practice that is responsive, agile and bespoke to your context.

Programme Structure

Each of the UCL NPQs is based on a common approach and includes the following components:

Learning audit and personal learning journal

Participants will use the audit to identify which aspects they are confident with and those that require development. They can then tailor aspects of the programme to their needs.

The personal learning journal will be a record of their learning, activities and, more importantly, focussed reflections through the programme. Each module has a dedicated learning audit.

Face to face events

These will be facilitated learning events, the induction and consolidation conference at the start and end of the specialist programmes in the equivalent of terms 1 and 3. They will be designed to adapt to the current Covid situation. Leadership programmes have 3 face to face days in the equivalent of terms 2, 3 and 4.

Online learning

A wide range of self directed online learning activities designed to be accessed over short periods to reduce the impact on work-load. Online materials provide preparation for the face to face / live sessions and provide essential content to support each module.

Peer learning group

These are semi facilitated groups of six, similar to action learning sets. Participants will be assigned to the same group of six throughout the programme so allow peer support for the implementation project. There are four sessions across each of the programmes.

Specialist Learning Communities

For all groups there will be specialist learning communities on the UCL eXtend digital learning platform. These will be specific to programmes, but also specific to subjects and phases. You will be able to connect with other participants both nationally and globally.

Work based application

The implementation project will be the tool that is used to apply your learning from the programme. This will be agreed with your line manager who will meet with you each term to provide support and challenge on the development of the project.

The projects will be presented at the consolidation conference at the end of the programme for specialist programmes.


There needs to be a minimum of 90% engagement in the programme to be eligible for final assessment.

Formative assessment opportunities are included within each programme. The summative assessment follows the formal part of the programme using a case study approach which needs to be completed within an eight day window.


Quotes from participants, facilitators and headteachers about their experience of working with UCL CEL and our school partners. We hope that these will inspire you and encourage you to apply to us as a National Provider for the NPQs.

It was always a high priority, as a headteacher, to provide my staff with a career pathway which focused on leadership from their early career. Every teacher is a leader from day one and needs support in learning how to grow and develop their teams to enable successful school improvement to take place for the benefit of the children. In a small school, teachers, will after their first year of teaching, become subject leaders requiring another set of leadership skills. The NPQs provided my staff with an opportunity to: explore leadership strategies, which developed their ability to communicate their vision more effectively with other stakeholders and to plan for change ; to recognise their own leadership traits, how these might impact on others and how they can build an ethos of trust and collaboration; to consider ways of managing their time more effectively; to look at change models and how others might react to change; and to explore the benefits of working in partnership.

I found that staff completing the NPQs grew in confidence as leaders, cultivated enthusiastic teams within their classes, and the school, that achieved successful school improvement. As a Teaching School, we ran local clusters of the NPQs working with UCL, which provided high quality professional development for staff with an opportunity to grow their confidence as leaders and to provide opportunities to discuss their leadership journey."

Claire Rivers FFCCT, Women in Education Coach, Ex Headteacher of St Mark’s CEP School, Teaching School Director and Chair of the Sussex and East Sussex Teaching School Network.
I started my journey into leadership by completing the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders (NPQML). This gave me much improved confidence and made me think more as a leader. The course really inspired me and allowed me to develop and grow into an effective leader. The face-to-face sessions, delivered by inspirational leaders, truly gave me the drive to improve, take risks and reflect on my own practice.

I then completed the NPQSL and began to focus on impact and improving standards for the whole school. Again, this was a fantastic course with excellent content. Being able to think strategically and meet like-minded leaders was a fantastic opportunity. The NPQ courses linked theory and practice perfectly. It gave me the confidence to lead a team of professionals and gave me the skills to reflect and monitor impact. I could not recommend the programmes highly enough working with my local cluster and UCL the support given at all levels is fantastic. I am now Deputy Head teacher and leading the school for two days a week. Without completing these courses, I would not be in this privileged position where I get to support, develop and lead a fantastic team. I will be continuing my NPQ journey and will be completing the NPQH this year."

Simon Page, Deputy Head at Stonegate School, East Sussex
 As a federation of schools, the NPQs have been a focussed part of our leadership continuum. We have identified colleagues to participate in these programmes and over the last few years, over 20 of them have participated including moving from NPQML to NPQSL. The impact is very clear. Four secured Headship and the others have moved to senior positions within and outside of our federation. Many of them have been involved in supporting other schools in school development. We were also able to shift our Ofsted grading to good with outstanding leadership in a short space of time. More importantly, the impact on our children is clear to see. Our leaders have the understanding and ability to respond to change and lead developments for our pupils resulting in much better progress for our children."

Helen Horsley, Head of South Coast Alliance, member of the NPQ Governance group.
I love facilitating the NPQ programmes, not only is it a joy to work with so many great teacher leaders but it is a privilege to see the depth of learning that is experienced when teachers from different phases come together to learn. These programmes have an impact on participants professionally and personally and as a result benefit the pupils that they are working with."

Facilitator at St. Richard’s Catholic College
Great to meet other practitioners and share our experiences, challenges and successes with a view to self-developing. The course has made me consider other perspectives on features of teaching practice which I just took for granted. Leadership accreditation will look brilliant on your C.V. and the expert course leaders are welcoming, engaging and entertaining."

Participant at Beacon Community College
The NPQSL programme has allowed me dedicated time and space to work on key leadership skills and to explore research led material to drive forward specific change in my school. This change project, as part of our SDP, has had a direct impact on pupil progress for all pupils from 3-19, across three phases and is now going to be embedded into the continuous cycle within the school as it is effective and sustainable. I have enjoyed the local cluster delivery of the NPQSL, meeting other leaders and discussing relevant leadership issues especially during the Covid-19 year. The use of Zoom to enable the NPQSL programme to continue was an asset."

I undertook the UCL IOE NPQSL in the 2017-18 academic year, at a point when I was reviewing the direction of my career. Having mainly worked in curriculum focused roles, I was keen to challenge myself by pursuing SEND/inclusion based leadership roles. I found the in-person training engaging and thorough. It was a really positive experience as the facilitators were all in senior leadership positions themselves and were able to discuss the theoretical aspects of the course from the standpoint of experiencing them. I enjoyed the networking aspect of the course as well, learning from peers from a range of different schools who brought their varying experiences to the course. My ‘in-school’ cohort also provided a supportive team environment, especially when it came to discussing how our projects were going. For me the focus on leading change was a real highlight, and the strategies I learned on the course have stayed with me and informed my leadership practice, for example in leading a TA review, and planning Year 6 transition in the midst of a global pandemic!

More than anything, completing the NPQSL helped restore my confidence in my abilities following a challenging period in my life, and restored my ambition to become a senior leader. During the course I was appointed SENDCo, an SLT level role, and since then I have been promoted to Assistant Head for Inclusion, so I have successfully realised my ambitions since undertaking the course. It’s hard work, sometimes challenging but very rewarding and I am glad of the skills and knowledge I gained from the NPQSL."

I would highly recommend the NPQSL for anyone looking to make the transition from Middle to Senior Leadership. One of the key strengths of the programme was that it guided and gave me space (with excellent literature and skilled facilitators) to be reflective about the type of senior leader I wished to become. I now feel much more confident in 'sharing a vision' and 'implementing change'. As a result of the 'Leading Effective Partnerships' module I now have a greater understanding of the importance of developing relationships with stakeholders beyond the immediate school community. Investing in this programme at the start of anyone's senior leadership journey will not only help you to lead with impact and maybe avoid some of those new role pitfalls but will also mean that the staff and students you work with in your school community will flourish under your leadership. 

The UCL IOE NPQSL was a very important stage in my career development. The reading material was excellent and the workshop sessions were lively and provocative. The school project that I organised gave me enormous insight into successful leadership. Completing an NPQSL gave me the confidence to apply for and be offered a senior leadership post. Highly recommended."

I took part in the NPQSL programme in 2016 and absolutely relished the experience. I benefited hugely from the opportunity to think, plan and reflect critically, intellectually and strategically on issues of leadership and management both independently and collegiately with other professionals with similar yet interestingly varied roles and responsibilities. The topics and material covered were well-pitched and appropriately challenging and facilitated engaging and useful discussions which enabled tangible ideas, suggestions and actions to be generated. The programme became a direct support and motivator to my daily experience as a senior leader acting as a clear catalyst in the impact of my work as much as my personal professional development. I would certainly recommend the programme as an effective way to develop and hone the necessary skills and qualities needed for successful senior leadership."


I have really enjoyed taking part in the NPQML to have professional discussions with colleagues across my local area about how best to use educational research in order to lead with impact. It has encouraged me to launch a project which has been a rewarding experience and had a positive impact on the students I teach. The course is well structured and thought out, I have been impressed with their flexibility during the pandemic. How it made me grow as a leader: It has given me more focus and made me more reflective and strategic. I would really recommend this to staff who are looking to become a middle leader or who have recently taken on this responsibility."