Who is NPQML for?

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) is a new qualification that provides national recognition of your leadership development and professional achievement as a middle leader. NPQML is aimed at individuals with responsibility for leading a team and is suitable for:

  • Staff who have recently taken on a middle leadership role or a new responsibility
  • Staff who are more established and experienced in their middle leadership role
  • Subject/curriculum leaders
  • Key stage / Pastoral leaders   
  • Advanced skills teachers / Lead Practitioners
  • Assessment coordinators
What is the NPQML programme?

The qualification is part of the National College’s new leadership curriculum, which offers more flexible development opportunities to support leaders at every stage of their career. The curriculum has five levels, with each level offering a choice of modules that can be combined to pursue a nationally recognised qualification or studied alone. Levels one to three are currently available.

NPQML sits at level one of the leadership curriculum. It’s designed to support participants in becoming highly effective middle leaders with the skills, confidence and knowledge to drive successful team performance and improved classroom practice.

To achieve the qualification, participants will need to complete two Essential modules (‘Leading teaching’ and ‘Managing systems and processes’) and one Elective module (chosen from a wide range of options).

Included in the cost of the programme will be:

  • Online materials for the two Essential modules and one Elective module
  • Twilight face to face training for each module
  • Online discussions and support
  • Peer group meetings
  • A 360 degree diagnostic
What modules are available as part of the NPQML qualification?

Modules deal explicitly with leadership and management of a team or department and are designed for those with a very clear remit at middle leader level. All modules reflect the recent and significant changes in schools and national policy and provide access to a wider set of leadership resources to challenge and support participants.

As a national qualification, NPQML may be used to contribute towards Master’s Level Study at a number of universities across the country.

Essential Modules

Leading Teaching

Managing systems and processes

Elective modules

Leading inclusion: achievement for all

Leading an effective team

Leading and developing staff

Succeeding in middle leadership

Leading change for improvement

Leading in a diverse system

The modules for the Middle Leadership pathway can also be grouped within the three key strands of the leadership curriculum:


Educational Excellence


Operational Management


Strategic Leadership

You may choose to study individual elective modules to improve your skills and knowledge in a particular area without undertaking the full qualification. These modules can be “banked” for a period of time until you wish to undertake the full qualification. Essential modules are only available as part of the full NPQML qualification.

Each module can be completed in approximately 40 hours although you can spend longer using the online materials for your own learning if you so wish.

How is the programme assessed?

Although individual modules are not assessed, there will be the requirement of one extended school improvement task that relates to your leadership role and to your school’s improvement priorities. This extended school improvement task will need to draw on learning from all the modules studied, but particularly the two Essential modules, and include a brief evaluative paper summarising learning from the Elective module.

The work will be undertaken over at least two terms to enable you to show evidence of the impact of your leadership.

How long does it take?

The qualification can take between 6 and 18 months to complete with each module requiring between 40 and 50 hours of learning. This comprises face to face sessions, online learning and workplace learning. The majority of middle leaders are likely to spend 12 months completing the programme.

How much does NPQML cost?

As a cluster we will be offering the programme at £695 per participant. This is a non-refundable charge and must be paid once your place has been confirmed.

Is funding available?

To help with the costs of the programme, the National College are offering a range of scholarships. The likelihood is that scholarships for NPQML will be awarded on a “first come first served basis” and participants will be able to indicate that they require a scholarship when they register for the programme. We are able to access scholarships through our link with Leadership East. Participants should indicate if they wish to apply for a scholarship when submitting their initial application.

There are two types of scholarships available to participants from Maintained schools.
(Maintained schools include community schools and colleges, foundation schools and colleges, voluntary-aided schools and colleges, voluntary-controlled schools and colleges and local authority nursery schools, non-maintained special schools, pupil referral units, secure units, academies, free schools and advisers/consultants employed by local authorities or diocesan authorities)

1.Small Schools scholarship
For participants from schools with a hundred pupils, or less, on roll at the last January return full scholarships are available.

2.Part scholarship
For participants from Maintained schools with more than 100 pupils part scholarships of £158 are available.

How to apply?

To register an interest in the programme please contact the Teaching School Administrator at