We have recently experienced the first round of NPQ assessment and, as an NPQ assessor for many years, I was pleased to be involved in marking the new format. Assessments no longer involve an in-school project, instead, it is a reflection on a case study which lands with all participants across the country at the same time. With eight days to reflect on the case study and write a response, participants were naturally a little concerned - but my reflections are that they don't need to worry – they did a great job!
Our assessors noticed the following excellent competencies. Participants showed their strong analytical skills in reading the extensive case study information and identifying the relevant and important data. There was excellent synthesis of the evidence in order to diagnose the priority issues to be tackled. Once the key area for improvement had been identified leaders put together a comprehensive implementation plan which took into account how they would address wider stakeholders to gain further clarity, collaborate across the school to identify a change team, use the research evidence to consider high leverage interventions and plan with an end in mind so that they knew what the success criteria would be.
All that before diving into action. By focusing on the explore and plan stage the proposed action plans were more robust and well-considered such that if they were implementing this in their own school, they would be able to walk the walk and be more assured of successful outcomes.
The two qualifications that really stood out to me were:
Leading Teaching where it was clear the extensive research base behind pedagogy is really becoming explicit in schools – spreading deep into the practice of leaders of teaching at subject and phase level.
Leading Teacher Development which is based on the same robust evidence around Teaching and Learning but layers onto that the evidence about structuring and implementing professional development of teachers so that there is the common language of pedagogy across the school. This qualification I believe is a superb investment for a school, training leaders to embed excellent teaching not only in their own practice but also in their influence upon others’ development in school.