National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)

Beyond the first few years of teaching, our priority is to help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers so every child in every classroom in every school gets the best start in life.

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NPQs Sept 2021

NPQs at a glance

The DfE have replaced the existing Middle Leadership National Professional Qualification (NPQ) with three new specialist NPQs to best address the broad range of responsibilities of current and aspiring middle leaders.

These qualifications are:

  • Leading teacher development NPQ: developing teachers who are responsible for the training and development of others, including early career teachers;
  • Leading teaching NPQ: developing teachers who are subject leads or responsible for improving teaching practice in a subject or phase;
  • Leading behaviour and culture NPQ: developing teachers who have responsibilities for leading behaviour and culture.


DfE have also refreshed the three existing NPQs in Senior Leadership, Headship and Executive Leadership. These refreshed qualifications acknowledge the complexity of school leadership and address that many senior leaders deliver through leadership teams in addition to having specific whole school responsibilities of their own.

Scholarship funding to support participants to access the reformed suite of NPQs is planned from September 2021 and details will be confirmed in due course.

Our Specialist and Leadership NPQs will provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice, such as behaviour management, to those leading multiple schools across

They complete the golden thread, running from ITT through to school leadership, rooting teacher and school leader development in the best available evidence and collective wisdom of the profession.

National Professional Qualifications, beginning 2021

National professional qualifications (NPQs) are a national, voluntary suite of qualifications designed to support the professional development of teachers and school leaders. They are trusted, transferable qualifications that equip teachers with the expertise to lead sustainable improvement across their schools. While respected across the sector, there is room for NPQs to keep getting better.

The main changes to NPQs are:

There are three new NPQs which are specialist qualifications:

  • NPQ for Leading Teaching (NPQLT).
  • NPQ for Leading Behaviour and Culture (NPQLBC).
  • NPQ for Leading Teacher Development (NPQLTD).

The national professional qualification for middle leaders (NPQML) has been discontinued.

The content in the remaining NPQs (NPQSL, NPQH and NPQEL) has been adapted based on an evidence base approved by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

A golden thread

The new NPQ framework continues a ‘golden thread’ throughout every stage of a teacher’s career. Schools and trusts can have confidence that all their educators, from early career teachers to leaders of multiple schools, are building and developing their practice from the same evidence-based framework.

Underpinned by evidence

The new frameworks have been developed by looking at a wide evidence base including how children learn, what impacts their behaviour and how they are assessed, alongside what makes effective professional development for teachers and leaders, all approved by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

More options to keep getting better

Teachers can specialise in leading teaching (bringing evidence-based teaching and learning into the classroom), behaviour management or teacher development in their school. The new specialist NPQs are designed to be complementary, giving teachers multiple career pathways and options at every stage.

Focus on what educators need to know and be able to do

Leadership CPD has often focused on personal traits, such as the qualities of dynamic and charismatic leadership. The new and reformed NPQs pay less attention to generic management and leadership styles. They pay more attention to the knowledge and skills that teachers and school leaders need to tackle the persistent problems of their daily roles.

Together, these reforms will become the cornerstone of a successful career in teaching.


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