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NPQSL: National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership

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

Spring cohort 2023

About the programme


Why join UCL?

The UCL Centre for Educational Leadership looks forward to working with you on their newly designed NPQ supporting you to deepen your knowledge of Senior Leadership within a collaborative and open learning environment.

Based on the latest research and evidence this new programme will enable you to take your new learning and develop your skills and put them into practice.

Our programmes put you and your school at the heart of the programme through a professional learning group approach that helps you to share your thinking and understanding within a well-planned framework. You will experience a blended approach of face to face, self-directed study materials and in school support to enable you to progress professionally and develop networks to enhance your career.


What will you learn?

  • School Culture - you will strengthen your school culture through contributing to its strategic direction, managing resources and fulfilling the statutory duties to enable all pupils and teachers to thrive and succeed.
  • Teaching - you will learn how to lead teachers at all levels in your school to develop their pedagogical knowledge and classroom skills to enable the best outcomes for all children and young people no matter what their starting point is.
  • Curriculum and Assessment - you will learn how to support and improve high quality teaching, learning and assessment by ensuring high level support, planning and policy development for the teachers in your school. 
  • Behaviour and Support - you will be able to contribute and implement the development of good models of behaviour and learning across the whole school community including liaising with and training key stakeholders to ensure a safe learning environment for all.
  • Implementation - you will learn how to implement change successfully within your context by understanding the stages of implementation and applying them with the support of your facilitators and colleagues.

What are the benefits for your school?

We know that our children and young people need teachers who are committed to their education and are confident learners themselves. Our programmes have been developed with teachers and leaders to:

  • Create professionally confident teachers and leaders.
  • Grow the next generation of leaders with the skills and knowledge to use the evidence-base for the benefit of their children and young people.
  • Retain the best teachers who are excellent, collaborative role models for their schools and communities.
  • Inspire leaders who are able to harness the power of rich learning environments for their children and young people no matter the current circumstances.

Is this programme for me?

Yes, if you are responsible for leading across a school on whole school improvement or if you aspire to senior leadership.


How long will it take?

18 months followed by an 8 day open book summative case study task.

Summary of programme and learning hours

Audit before start of the programme

Total hours in year one/two: 2 hours.

Online induction conference at the beginning of year one

Total hours in year one/two: 4 hours.

Face to face events – terms two, three and four

Total hours in year one/two: 15 hours.

Self-directed learning, learning journal and implementation project

Every term year one/two: 13 hours per term (minimum).
Total hours in year one/two: 39 hours.

Online learning community: discussion session

Every term year one/two: 1 hour each term (minimum).
Total hours in year one/two: 3 hours.

Peer learning group

Every term year one/two: 2 hours each term.
Total hours in year one/two: 8 hours.

Line manager sessions

Every term year one/two: Termly 1 hour meeting.
Total hours in year one/two: 4 hours.

Total programme hours

Total hours in year one/two: 75 hours.


When will it start and how much will it cost?

The programme will start in February 2023. There will be an induction conference taking place on two dates in February 2023 which will be confirmed during the application process. Participants are required to attend one of these conferences.

The cost is £1055* for those in independent schools. British International Schools, contact us directly for prices. The programme is fully funded in English state schools (read more below).

*A discount has been applied for this NPQ programme for the Spring 2022 cohort.


Are scholarships available for this programme?

Full scholarship funding, with no cost to the participant, for the NPQ in Senior Leadership is available to those who meet the following criteria:

  • Are, or are aspiring to be, a senior leader with cross-school responsibilities.
  • Work in a state funded school and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England.

Programme route map

NPQSL Route Map Feb 2023.
Route map (text version)
NPQ programme induction (January 2023 - February 2023)

Watch online programme information webinars  
Induction Conference 2hrs – February/March

Module 1 (February 2023 - July 2023)

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Learning audit: 30 mins – February

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Online self-directed study: 8hrs – February/July

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Peer learning group 1: 2hrs – March

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Face to face event 1: 5hrs – June

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Formative assessment tasks: 1hr – June/July

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Line manager / mentor check-in: 1hr – July

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Module engagement form: 15 mins – July

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
End of module completion form: 15 mins – July

Module 2 (July 2023 - January 2024)*

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Learning audit: 30 mins – July/September  

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Online self-directed study: 8hrs – July/January

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Peer learning group 2: 2hrs  – September/October

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Face to face event 2: 5hrs – January/February

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Formative assessment tasks: 1hr – December/January

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Peer learning group 3: 2hrs – November/December

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Line manager / mentor check-in: 1hr – January

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Module engagement form: 15 mins – January

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
End of module completion form: 15 mins – January

Module 3 (January 2024 - July 2024)*

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Learning audit: 30 mins – January

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Online self-directed study: 8hrs – February/July

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Face to face event 3 5hrs – April/May

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Peer learning group 4: 2hrs – March

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Formative assessment tasks: 1hr – May/June

Facilitated activity / 1 to 1 meeting / virtual or live event
Line manager / mentor check-in 1hr – Jun

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
Module engagement form: 15 mins – July

Self-directed study UCL eXtend
End of module completion form: 15 mins – July

Final assessment preparation (August 2024 - September 2024)

Ensure 90% engagement– January/February

Ensure Access to Assessment Platform – January/February


*Please note, Line Managers / Mentors will be asked to complete a short Programme Impact Report at the end of module 2 and 3 to gauge how engagement with the programme is supporting School / Improvement. This is separate from the Line Manager / Mentor Check-in which is more participant focused.

Runs over 18 months: Implementation project: Work-based reflective learning, integrating research with practice and aligned to the EEF process model for school improvement (not assessed).

After 18 months: Final summative assessment (September 2024)


How to apply

To apply, please go to DfE NPQ Registration Service and choose UCL as your provider | Find out more about the application process.


What do participants say?

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."

Participant
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."

Participant
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."

Participant