National Professional Qualification

for Middle Leadership

Middle leaders hold a unique and critical position within the school. In all schools, middle leaders are close to teaching and learning and responsible for translating the school’s policies and strategies into practice. They are, in fact, critical to successful school improvement.

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) is a qualification aimed at those in their first years of middle leadership and those hoping to move into a middle leadership position. The programme tackles issues surrounding leading a team within an organisation. On completion of our NPQML, you will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to drive your team forward.


You are likely to be a recently appointed or ready to be appointed Head of Department, Head of Year, Key Stage Co-ordinator, Middle Leader in a Children’s Centre or experienced teacher with responsibilities hoping to move to a middle leadership position. You should be highly motivated to be a middle leader. You do not need to be working within an educational establishment to apply, although this is likely to strengthen you application.

You’ll need to have the full support and endorsement of your Headteacher, line manager or sponsor. The 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.


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

To achieve the NPQML qualification, you’ll need to successfully complete:

  • Two essential modules and one further elective module of your choice
  • 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 two essential modules that you must complete are:

Through this module participants will know how to develop, improve and sustain high quality teaching within a team. They will also know and understand the importance of using data and identifying strategies for closing the gaps in attainment.
This module focuses on the importance of effective management structures, systems and processes. Participants will learn about the role of team leaders in implementing whole school policies with their team in a systematic and consistent way. The module will explore a number of models and theories of leadership and consider the relationship between leadership and management.

You will need to choose one elective module. The modules available with Tauheedul College are:

This module focuses on how to develop individual team members to improve teaching and individual performance. Participants will explore how to spot talent and grow potential for the benefit of the individual, the team and the school. The module will also focus on teacher appraisal, performance management and how to respond to underperforming teachers in a timely way.
This module focuses on how team leaders can develop a highly effective team with a culture of high performance and high levels of trust. It will recognise the varied and sometimes complex nature of team structures in schools. Participants will learn about the characteristics of highly effective teams and the research evidence relating to how to build, lead and sustain such a team.
Through this module participants will understand more about their own leadership and how they can develop their leadership capacity and capability. With a focus on the relationship between personal effectiveness and leadership development, the module will also consider effective professional learning, well-being and resilience.


In order to gain the qualification, you must successfully complete the NPQML Final Assessment; a task designed to demonstrate your ability to be an effective middle leader. The assessment is competency based, testing the main competencies that are required for successful middle leadership. You must lead and evidence a school improvement priority at a team level in your own school.


We know that having the opportunity to share your experiences with peers is an important part of your learning. That’s why we offer 10 hours of face-to-face workshops for each essential module and a 5 hour session for the elective module.

Within these sessions, we build in dedicated sessions to support your preparation for Final Assessment. The face-to-face events are supplemented by workplace learning, reading, reflections and online learning.


TCTL Development Centres currently offering the NPQML:

Location TCTL Provider Contact Information
Blackburn St. Bede’s Roman Catholic High School, Blackburn Key contact: Karen Caton
Tel: 01254 202519
Bolton Ladywood Teaching School Alliance, Bolton Key contact: Lynda Smalley
Tel: 01204 333400
Culcheth Cheshire Leadership and Teaching Alliance, Tattenhall Key contact: Carole Farrell
Tel: 01829 751343
Tattenhall Cheshire Leadership and Teaching Alliance, Tattenhall Key contact: Carole Farrell
Tel: 01829 751343



Participants from the Independent Schools sector (not including special schools) or school outside England will need to pay an additional £225 external Final Assessment fee.


Our courses tend to run in September and March.

You can apply at any time of the year. Applications are made directly to your preferred TCTL Development Centre at the email address above.


Programme NPQML
Duration 12 months
Entry requirements Aspiring or current Middle Leaders
How to apply Applications are made directly to your preferred TCTL Development Centre
Contact or email a TCTL Development Centre directly.


Participants from the Independent Schools sector (not including special schools) or school outside England will need to pay an additional £225 external Final Assessment fee.

“With the demands of teaching and the fast pace of school life, you are rarely afforded the opportunity to stop and think about leadership as an art, but the NPQML is a fantastic way of getting to grips with the many facets and faces of successful leadership. The course helped to enhance my knowledge of what makes a good leader and a strong team, and also provided an insight into how to deal with the variety of challenges you encounter along the way.”
Natalie Beveridge, TIBHS, Blackburn
“The NPQML has enabled me to appreciate the many roles and responsibilities that a leader has, as well as highlighting the importance of motivating others by maintaining high expectations for both colleagues and pupils. Having the opportunity to work with staff to help develop their practice is something that is immensely rewarding – even more so when I see the positive effects that this has on the children at our school.”
Parveen Yusuf, The Olive School, Blackburn
“The quality of the delivery was excellent, as was the calibre of resources. The sessions were always informative and interesting. I enjoyed them immensely and found the insights of former Headteachers to be extremely valuable.”
Richard Foster, Eden Boys’ School, Bolton