Wednesday, 31st March 2020

We are delighted to announce that the Teacher Development Trust has been appointed by the Department for Education in England to be a new Lead Provider for the new suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for school leadership. This is an exciting continuation of our experience training leaders at all levels in the art, the craft and science of School Improvement through People Development. It builds on our recent research paper, A Culture of Improvement: Reviewing the research on teacher working conditions.

Improving a school is fundamentally about developing the knowledge and expertise of its people. This is the principle that the Teacher Development Trust puts at the heart of our work to develop school leaders. We’re the national charity for effective professional development and our team includes experienced leadership experts, curriculum designers and deliverers. Our NPQ coalition includes partnerships with national bodies, schools and experts, such as the NAHT, Forum Strategy, Greenshaw Learning Trust and River Learning Trust, Kat Howard and Claire Hill (authors of the book Symbiosis: The Curriculum and the Classroom) and Jonny Uttley (co-author of Putting Staff First).

These are brand new NPQ frameworks and this is the moment to re-shape the profession. We’ve been part of the DfE development of these frameworks since their conception, as well as having played a major role in building the DfE CPD Standards and the Early Career Framework. We’re designing our qualifications as routes into the Chartered College of Teaching’s programmes and accreditations, strengthening collegiality and professional identity.

Where, when and what?

These qualifications will be available for participation from Autumn 2021. We are currently recruiting local NPQ Delivery Partners across the country. Once these are in place, we will be able to let you know where our NPQs will be available.

Our catalogue of NPQs will be based on the new DfE NPQ Frameworks and will include:

  • A new Specialist NPQ in Leading Teacher Development
  • A new Specialist NPQ in Leading Teaching (& Curriculum)
  • A new Specialist NPQ in Leading Behaviour & Culture
  • Completely updated versions of the NPQSL, NPQH and NPQEL (for senior leaders, headteacher and executive headteachers, respectively)


We’ll be applying the latest research in instructional design. Participants will be guided through a blended learning experience where they can flexibly engage with core materials on our central platform. Local Delivery Partners will support and guide participants as they progress through the core materials, engaging them in discussion in online forums, getting to know them in advance of virtual and in-person sessions that they run. Finally, all participants from across our national network of Delivery Partners will come together for termly, national, virtual forums, to inspire participants with the best system wisdom.

Key curriculum themes

The new frameworks are rich with knowledge and skills. We weave five big ideas throughout the learning:

  1. Effective communication and teamwork: the skills and habits of getting people to work well together, being understood, working effectively;
  2. Leadership clarity & team alignment: simplicity at the core of great leadership, with everyone understanding their role;
  3. Change management & implementation: overcoming resistance, gaining buy-in and ensuring sustainability and fidelity;
  4. Professional learning: the detailed mechanisms that underpin teams where everyone improves;
  5. Self-management: the self-awareness and skill to maintain wellbeing, prioritise time and bring the best understanding of yourself to each leadership challenge.

Curriculum Design principles

Our curriculum design breaks down the content in an accessible way, using the most up to date evidence about instructional design, cognitive science and behavioural psychology. We have six key principles that inform our curriculum design:

  1. Learning activities will allow participants to hold a mirror up to their current setting, understanding the underlying mechanisms, reflecting on what works, understanding the history of change;
  2. Participants will be given a window into other settings, broadening their understanding of leadership in different phases, contexts and areas to help them respond to a range of needs;
  3. Case studies will focus on narrated expertise, not just showing what works, but the expert thinking underpinning it and how to apply and practice it themselves. The best leaders get to work alongside other great leaders and this approach will allow them to feel they are virtually mentored by some of the most effective leaders in the system;
  4. A focus on implementation & change will challenge participants to repeatedly apply learning to real-life problems, thinking in detail how their skills of team-leadership, communication and change management can overcome doubts, managing up and down to gain buy-in, with ideas that can be applied in real roles;
  5. A flexible learning journey that builds on key learner personas, using detailed examples of real participants to help facilitators understand each learners’ needs, including their home life and learning environment, their school context, their own career aims and worries;
  6. A continued focus on practice challenges, equipping participants with the necessary knowledge, habits and skill to overcome the most common and difficult situations that they are likely to encounter.

What about TDT’s existing services?

These new qualifications will be added to our existing membership and training services. We will continue to offer:

Sign up here to get more information about delivering or participating in the new TDT National Professional Qualifications.