National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

NPQSL provides recognition of leadership development and professional achievement for senior leaders. Candidates access high-quality learning materials and accounts of practice from outstanding leaders. Senior leaders reflect on their own leadership through discussion and debate with peers and put theory into practice. The qualification has been designed to stimulate and challenge thinking, build knowledge, skills and expertise, promote change and improvement in leadership behaviours, capability and capacity.

NPQSL is assessed and accredited by the National College for Teaching and Leadership. The qualification has a flexible, modular structure that combines core modules with the freedom to specialise and to develop candidate’s own professional areas of interest through the choice of elective modules.

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Eligibility Criteria

NPQSL is suitable for senior leaders with cross-school responsibilities, an experienced middle leader, a deputy head, a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO), an advanced skills teachers or a senior member of staff. If you would like to discuss eligibility, please contact us at

Outstanding Leaders Partnership Delivery Model

Candidates are expected to complete the qualification within a 12 month period and benefit from:

  • three face-to-face training events
  • four facilitated online courses working alongside peers*
  • regular online conferences to support and compliment learning
  • access to two 360° leadership diagnostics
  • support from a nominated in-school mentor
  • facilitation from serving school leaders in outstanding schools
  • local and flexible access to high quality leadership training
  • mobile  enabled  virtual  learning  environment  enabling  flexible  access  to  course  resources  and support community

*Online courses take around 15hrs and cover a three week period. The courses are facilitated by sector experts and provide a structured pathway through the module resources. Course activities are completed collaboratively helping enhance comprehension and application.


Candidates are required to submit an assessed task that demonstrates they can deliver successful and sustainable improvement in their school or setting. The written evidence is drawn from work leading a cross-school team, on a school improvement priority, for an extended period. This submission requires support by an in-school sponsor and verification from their Headteacher.


The  course fee,  exclusive of  final assessment,  is  £1,250  and will be  invoiced upon registration. The National College for Teaching and Leadership have committed to funding final assessment for all eligible candidates1    submitting  prior  to  September  2017.  For  candidates  submitting  after  this  date  the assessment fee will be no more than £4402.

1All English state-maintained schools and academies

2Subject to change

About Outstanding Leaders Partnership

The Outstanding Leaders Partnership (OLP) is led by the Dean Trust and managed by Best Practice Network. OLP is licensed by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and boasts an excellent delivery team of active leaders from outstanding schools. The OLP strategic board is comprised of:


Ashton on Mersey TS | Bury Secondary Learning Collaborative | East Cheshire Association of Primary

Headteachers |The Heath Family | Trafford TSA | Weatherhead High School


“I could clearly see from the self-diagnostic completed at the beginning and end of the qualification how I had improved in key areas. The two compulsory modules, Closing the Gap and Succeeding in Senior Leadership, were essential in this. I was also grateful for the quality and amount of support available.” Shaun Worsley, Aut-14 NPQSL Graduate

“My project has had a dramatic impact on progress and attainment in writing across the school and is now filtering its way through all subjects. I have definitely become more effective in my leadership role as a result of undertaking this qualification and more confident to address change.” Jane Rhodes, Aut-14 NPQSL Graduate

“To spend the time with aspiring leaders with such a range of attributes and understanding was very inspiration. The environment was set-up beautifully so that we understood what was required of us, could see the benefit of the tasks to schools, students and our career paths.” Tanya Thomas, Aut-14 NPQSL

How to register

Candidates can start the qualification in the Spring or Autumn term. To register for the Autumn intake, please complete our online registration form.

Further Information

For further information and to learn more about the other leadership qualifications available contact us on 0117 9209 424, email or visit