National Professional

Qualification for Headship

The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) remains the first choice qualification for anyone aspiring to be a Headteacher or Principal. If you have ambitions to run your own school, then completing your NPQH with the Tauheedul College of Teaching and Leadership will make sure you’re heading in the right direction.

Our programme is an intensive and challenging experience based around excellence, critical reflection and quality school-based practice. We will ensure you become a highly skilled, well-developed leader who is ready to make the transition to headship and hit the ground running.

Our innovative curriculum and practical placements will equip you with the confidence, skills, professional knowledge and experience needed to stand out and make your mark.

Our Offer

  • High levels of personalisation and progression – an individual leadership plan allowing you to work systematically towards the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers
  • Immersion in good or outstanding schools – opportunity to undertake leadership placements in some of the best schools in the country
  • World class people – support from expert and leading practitioners, including NLEs, LLEs and former Ofsted Inspectors
  • High quality leadership learning – 8 face-to-face executive training days, rooted in the latest research and cutting edge professional practice
  • Character education – focus on leading schools that provide an outstanding, rounded education
  • Career pathway planning – dedicated time to prepare for Final Assessment, free headteacher application appraisal and membership of the TCTL Alumni

Who is the Programme for?

You should be highly motivated to be a Headteacher, no more than 12–18 months from applying for headship posts and ready to take up a headship as soon as you graduate. You do not need to be working within an educational establishment to apply, although this is likely to strengthen your application.

You’ll need to have the full support and endorsement of your Headteacher, line manager or sponsor. Your line manager will also have to commit to playing an active role in your learning, and encourage and promote your involvement in leadership and other professional development opportunities.

What’s Involved?

The NPQH follows a modular curriculum based on Master’s level criteria and focuses on developing the knowledge, skills and attributes of a successful Headteacher.

To achieve the NPQH qualification you’ll need to successfully:

  • Complete 3 essential modules and 2 further study modules of your choice
  • Undertake a placement at a school, in a different context from your own, for a minimum of 9 days
  • Undertake a final assessment

You may be exempt from some study modules if you’ve undertaken a Master’s or another type of postgraduate course. Find out more about exemptions.

The Modules

The three essential modules you must complete are:

In this module, NPQH participants will be prepared for their first headship. They will be taught the essential legal and accountability components of headship and governance, with a focus on how successful heads operate in practice. Knowing how to achieve a successful strategic relationship with the governing body and be held to account by it will be addressed, as will relationships with key groups within and beyond the school.
This module will teach NPQH participants about the key management systems required in an effective school, particularly teacher performance, pupil behaviour and financial management. This will include legislation linked to these management systems. They will be taught how to implement a consistent and effective staff performance management system (teacher appraisal) so they can quickly tackle staff underperformance and address capability across the whole school. Human resources (e.g. employment legislation, staff recruitment and deployment) will be addressed.
Through this module, NPQH participants will know how to develop, improve and sustain high quality teaching across a school. They will also know and understand the importance of teachers’ subject knowledge, effective planning and accurate pupil assessment.

You will need to study two elective modules. The modules available with Tauheedul College are:

In this module, participants will further develop their skills in the analysis and interpretation of a range of quantitative and qualitative data to monitor and evaluate progress, identify strengths and weaknesses and set school improvement priorities. School evaluation and working with key groups (governors, teachers, parents, pupils) to consider evidence will be included in this module. Participants will learn how to interrogate research evidence and use it discerningly.
In this module, NPQH participants will be taught how to lead the development and implementation of a broad, flexible curriculum that includes the national curriculum and is appropriate to context and needs. The curriculum should ensure all pupils achieve their full academic potential and improve their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The module covers curriculum design, development and delivery, including use of effective assessment to monitor, support and improve pupils’ progress.
This module will enable NPQH participants to know how to work with staff to establish and implement effective professional development that improves teaching and pupil attainment. Participants will be taught about delegation, talent development, succession planning and teamwork that is characterised by high expectations and collective responsibility for school improvement.
In this module NPQH participants will develop the essential knowledge linked to leading change in practice. Building on Michael Fullan’s research work and using one of his analytical tools, participants will develop their own knowledge to help them lead change in their school as a senior leader.

Programme Structure

The NPQH forms a 12 month programme of study which includes eight full day face to face workshops across the year, including a dedicated workshop designed to support and challenge you in preparation for the Final Assessment tasks.

All modules are led by experienced headteachers. Face-to-face events are supplemented by workplace learning, reading, reflections and online learning.

We also provide free coaching from serving practitioners. During this coaching, you will not only receive support and challenge from a credible leader, you will also learn vital coaching skills to utilise once you take up your first headship.

Read our NPQH Information Leaflet to find out more about our unique offer.


In order to gain the qualification, you must successfully complete the NPQH final assessment; a series of tasks designed to judge whether you are ready to take up your first headship.

The final assessment comprises 3 tasks:

  • Leading and evidencing a school improvement priority in your school
  • Leading and evidencing a school improvement priority in a placement school
  • Presentation/interview assessment


12 months.


The TCTL NPQH currently runs in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham and East London.


TCTL is committed to building leadership capacity within the system and the Tauheedul Scholarship Fund is offering £500 scholarships towards fees to:

  • Schools in Challenging Circumstances – applicants from schools with an Ofsted Inadequate or Requires Improvement rating
  • System Leaders – applicants from schools who can demonstrate that they are providing school-to-school support
  • Small Schools – applicants from schools with 250 pupils or less on roll and secondary schools with 500 pupils or less on roll

Scholarships are available to those from the Maintained and Independent Schools sector*

* The NCTL is currently funding the external Final Assessment fee for all maintained schools in England. To secure this funding, all applicants are expected to submit for Final Assessment by September 2017. Failure to submit by this date will incur an additional £1500 external assessment fee. Applicants from the non-maintained and independent schools sector will need to pay the additional £1500 external Final Assessment fee regardless of submission date.


An application round for the North West is currently open with a closing date of 12 January. To register your interest in the next round, please call 0330 313 9870 or email to register your interest.

Key Information

Programme NPQH
Duration 12 months
Entry requirements Senior Leaders ready to take up headship in 12-18mths
How to apply Applications are made direct to TCTL

£500 Scholarships available
Participants from the Independent Schools sector (not including special schools) will need to pay an additional £1500 external Final Assessment fee.

“The whole course provided by the TCTL really focusses your mind and offers you clear insight and direction into becoming a headteacher – so much so, that after only 8 months on the course I was encouraged to go for a Headship post by my coach. I secured an interview, and used a lot of ideas and guidance from the TCTL modules throughout my 2-day interview and presentation process. I’m pleased to say that I have now accepted my first headteacher post, from my very first application and interview! I know I would not have even got past the application stage or even applied for the post, had it not been for my coach, placement school head teacher and all the fantastic advice, guidance and clarity of thought, provided by the TCTL programme for the NPQH: a true testament to the quality of training I have received in a short space of time.”
Stuart McCartney, Newton Primary School, Chester
“The organisation and delivery of the NPQH has been excellent. The facilitators have been very informative and willing to share real life experience from their own headships. The course materials have also been excellent and useful tools to support planning and preparation.”
Mohammad Sajjid Sarwar, Marlborough Junior School, Birmingham
“The course facilitators were very adept at placing the theory being delivered into practical, real-life situations. They effectively used their own school leadership experiences to ensure we understood that what we were learning could benefit us within our school.”
Robert Downey, The Grange Secondary School, Runcorn