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 headteacher, trust director or chief executive, with responsibility for leading several schools
Length18 months
Study Time60hrs online study; one 2-day residential; three 4hr in-person sessions; nine 1.5hr local webinars; four 1.5hr national webinars; four 1.5hr case studies
Programme Start OptionsFebruary 2023
CostFully funded for all staff in state-funded schools and state-funded organisations that offer 16 to 19 places in England
£4,050 for all others more information here

Outstanding leadership across a group of schools or trust

A completely updated NPQEL for those who are, or aspiring to be, an executive headteacher, trust director or chief executive, with responsibility for leading several schools

  • Gain a nationally recognised, prestigious, government-backed qualification and make progress in your career
  • Strengthen your expertise as both a strategic and operational leader, creating the culture, governance and strategy needed for a group of schools to flourish successfully and coherently
  • 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

Benefits for you

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of how to apply the evidence on multi-school improvement through people development, working with leaders, staff, pupils, governors and the wider community to create lasting and sustainable change
  • A blended learning experience which fits around your role where you learn and discuss key content online delivered in a way that suits the busy working lives of trust leaders
  • 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 and delivery at local venues

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 leadership 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 blend of flexible online learning, online discussion, virtual workshops and face to face workshops, for a few hours study each week over 18 months with one weekend residential. This is followed by an assessment where you will complete a 1500-word case study assessment to demonstrate your understanding of real leadership and change.

TDT NPQEL Programme overview graphic

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. It will help you to:

  • Provide strategic leadership across a group of schools in effective teaching, curriculum, assessment and culture
  • Oversee the development of cross-school approaches to embed effective workforce development, change and implementation
  • Create and manage cross-school systems and processes, working with partners and boards.

Funding and Cost

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

  • are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher, or have a school trust CEO role with responsibility for leading several schools
  • are employed in state-funded schools, as well as those employed in state-funded organisations that offer 16 to 19 places in England

The course fee is £4,050 for all others – more information here

Start your application

Register your interest in the box provided below

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.



Register now for our NPQs starting in Autumn 2023:

Register Now for our NPQs starting in 2023-24

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Find your local partner

Image showing map of Teacher Development Trust's Delivery Partners

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.

Meet your course tutors:

If you choose to study with the TDT central team, your lead tutor will be Sir Steve Lancashire and David Weston.

Founder and former Chief Executive of the Reach2 Multi Academy Trust, one of the largest and most successful primary academy trusts in the country. Steve has been involved in primary education for thirty years and as a Headteacher for the past twenty years, most recently as Executive Headteacher of Hillyfield Primary Academy. Hillyfield is a double outstanding school and REAch2 was founded on its success.

Steve is a National Leader of Education and has been a lead adviser for the Department for Education, taking the lead in supporting schools to move from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’.

As the founder and Chief Executive of REAch2, Steve seeks to establish a family of schools that share his passion and drive to secure the best possible outcomes for primary aged children and to ensure that primary education has a strong national voice. Ensuring there is enough capacity in the education system to enhance existing good schools and to tackle the issue facing failing schools is at the heart of Steve’s vision so that all young people have access to an exceptional education.

Steve was Knighted for services to education in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2016.

David is the founder and Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust.

He is Chair of the Department for Education’s Teachers’ Professional Development Expert Group and, alongside Bridget Clay, wrote Unleashing Great Teaching: the secrets to the most effective teacher development.

David taught maths and physics for ten years in two schools in London and the South East. He is a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. David speaks and writes frequently for the education sector and national media and has had a number of radio and TV appearances on the subject of teaching, teacher development and LGBT issues.

Find out more about the NPQEL from David Weston and Sir Steve Lancashire in our video below:

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

“The course material is utterly brilliant. Such high quality and carefully crafted. The spirit and ethos of TDT is forefront.”

Key Dates

Spring 2023 Cohorts

QualificationStart DateFinal Delivery SessionAssessment window startAssessment window end
NPQELMonday 6th February 2023w/c 15th  July 2024Monday 2nd September 2024Monday 9th September 2024

The following calendar lists the NPQ Executive Leadership sessions for the Spring 2023 cohort. Please note that you should ensure that you can attend every session. A limited number of catch up videos and study packages may be allowed if sessions are missed.

Session NameDateStart TimeEnd TimeLocation and notes
Introductory National Webinar (virtual)8th February, 202310am11.30amZoom
Cohort face-to-face introduction (1)6th March, 202310am3pmNCVO Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL
Local Webinar (2)25th April, 202310.30am12 middayZoom
Face to Face seminar 114th June, 202310am3pmNCVO Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL
National Webinar 2 (virtual)29th June, 20231.30pm3pmZoom
Local Webinar (3)10th July, 20231pm2.30pmZoom
Local Webinar (4)21st September, 20233pm4.30pmZoom
Residential & face to face seminar 219th – 20th October, 20231pm on 19th3pm on 20thBirmingham region, TBC
National Webinar 37th November, 202310am11.30amZoom
Local Webinar (5)29th November, 20239am10.30amZoom
Local Webinar (6)18th January, 202410.30am12 middayZoom
Face to face seminar 36th February, 202410am3pmNCVO Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL
National Webinar 419th February, 20243.30pm5pmZoom
Local Webinar (7)12th March, 20243pm4.30pmZoom
Local Webinar (8)23rd April, 202412.30pm2pmZoom
Local Webinar (9)13th June, 20242pm3.30pmZoom
Face to face seminar 48th July, 202410am3pmNCVO Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL
Download our NPQEL brochure