National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL)

Image of executive leader with her staff in a school
ForThose who are, or aspiring to be, an executive leader across schools, or a trust CEO
Length18 months
Study Time88 hours:
45hrs online study; one 2-day residential; three 4-hour in-person sessions; 14 x 1.5hr virtual sessions
Programme Start OptionsNovember 2021 or February 2022
Fully funded for all staff in state-funded schools in England more information here

Outstanding leadership across a group of schools or trust

  • Gain a prestigious, government-backed qualification and make progress in your career
  • Grow your expertise as both a strategic and operational leader, creating a culture, governance and strategy that creates a successful and coherent group of schools 
  • Learn flexibly around your job with a blend of online learning, virtual sessions and local face to face workshops as well as a core residential weekend
  • A completely updated NPQEL for those who are, or who are aspiring to be, an executive leader or chief executive

Benefits for you

Our NPQEL qualification is aligned to the Chartered College of Teaching’s Chartered Leader Status giving you options to continue with your journey beyond this qualification.

Benefits for Participants

  • Develop expertise and leadership in the art, craft and science of multi-school improvement through people development, working with staff, pupils, governors and the wider community to create lasting change
  • A blended learning experience which fits around your role where you learn and discuss key content online – no more sitting listening to presentations for hours
  • Local virtual and face to face sessions that focus on real problem-solving, creating understanding, connecting with your peers and gaining depth of knowledge
  • A residential stay helps you develop networks with key national leaders and peers
  • Ongoing preparation to give you confidence to pass the final assessment
  • Facilitation and support from serving executive leaders in excellent trusts
  • A free additional support programme in your first year of headship with online support and group coaching with other current or aspiring headteachers

Benefits for your school or trust

  • A skilful and research-informed executive leader with the capacity to strategically lead a group of schools or trust 
  • Practical capability to get on with the job of developing others with the skills to lead with people and teams, creating change and impact
  • A professionally aware and informed leader who can make evidence-based decisions and approach headship in an effective and efficient manner
  • The ability to review and evaluate practice in order to bring about change and get the best outcomes for young people and staff across the organisations

A 18-month blend of flexible online learning, online discussion, virtual workshops and face to face workshops along with a core weekend residential. This is followed by a 8-day assessment window where you will complete a 1500-word case study assessment to demonstrate your understanding of real leadership and change.

Graphic showing the TDT NPQEL curriculum outline and delivery model

Our online modules guide you and your colleagues through understanding and implementing effective approaches to people-powered school improvement.

This completely reformed Leadership NPQ has an evidence-based curriculum design, connecting you to the latest research and best practice. Our research-rich course covers all of the core content in the government’s Framework for this qualification and this is aligned with core themes around: effective communication, creating change, working with teams, managing yourself. Key areas include:

  • Strategically leading effective teaching, curriculum, assessment and culture across schools
  • Leading effective professional development, change and implementation
  • Creating and managing cross-school systems and processes, working with partners and boards.


The course fee is £3,899. 

Some participants in state-maintained schools in England may be eligible for full scholarship funding from the government – details will be available soon.

More information

The Teacher Development Trust is an internationally leading charity in the fields of staff development and school improvement through people development. Founded by practising teachers and leaders in 2012, we’ve helped hundreds of schools and leaders to create lasting improvement.



Applications for February 2022 NPQs are now closed. Join our NPQ mailing list to be informed of future NPQs from TDT:

Find your local partner

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Our network of UK and international delivery partners will be happy to support you along your learning journey with exceptional facilitators who have a strong track record of leadership and supporting other leaders.

If you may be interested in becoming a facilitator, please click here.

“The course had a huge impact on my professional life this year […] it reignited my desire to learn in an academic sense”

Download our NPQEL brochure