National Professional Qualification

for Senior Leadership

Senior leaders play a critical part in developing and implementing all strategic and operational decisions at cross school and whole school level. As a key role model in the school, senior leaders must demonstrate collective responsibility, be at the operational sharp edge of change and effectively manage staff.

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) is the leading qualification for current or aspiring senior leaders. The programme tackles the challenges of leading beyond a team within an organisation. On completion of our NPQSL, you will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to drive your school forward as part of a Senior Leadership Team.

We offer a unique programme with excellence, critical reflection and high quality school-based practice at its heart. Our tailored programme will ensure your learning is relevant to your needs and offer you the opportunity to work with outstanding leaders.


You are likely to be an experienced Early Years Provider, Head of Key Stage, Head of Department, Assistant Head, or Deputy Head. You should be highly motivated to be a member of a Senior Leadership Team. 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. 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 NPQSL 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 NPQSL qualification you’ll need to successfully complete:

  • Two essential modules and two further elective modules 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 you must complete are:

This module will consider the significance of leadership across the school and explore motivations and behaviours that leaders bring to their role, including values and beliefs. Participants will look at how they apply their leadership in the workplace to address school improvement priorities.
This module will further develop participants’ understanding of how to close gaps in achievement and attainment that can occur across specific groups of pupils, particularly addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils, including those entitled to free school meals. The module considers how leaders can identify gaps, diagnose causes and address within-school variation (e.g. differences in performance by teachers with similar groups of pupils). Evidence drawn from research will be used to demonstrate which pupils perform least well nationally and why.

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

In this module, participants will review the international research evidence about leading and improving teaching. The module will look at how to improve teaching and learning across the school through the development and implementation of school-wide policies, models of teaching and approaches to evaluating pupil progress.
This module focuses on the senior leader’s role in the effective management of the school, with an emphasis on curriculum, managing performance, behaviour, finances, health, safety and welfare. Through module content and activities, senior leaders will be supported in strengthening their management in relation to these aspects.
In this module, participants will build the essential knowledge linked to leading change in practice. Based 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.


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 5 hour sessions for each 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.


In order to gain the qualification, you must successfully complete the NPQSL final assessment. The assessment is competency based, testing the main competencies that are required for successful senior leadership.

You will be expected to lead, for an extended period, a school improvement priority in your school.

The school improvement priority needs to be achievable in a 12 month period and must produce positive impact and sustainable change.


12 months.


TCTL Development Centres currently offering the NPQSL:

Location TCTL Provider Contact Information
Blackburn St. Bede’s Roman Catholic High School, Blackburn Key contact: Karen Caton
Tel: 01254 202519
Email: [email protected]
Culcheth Cheshire Leadership and Teaching Alliance, Tattenhall Key contact: Carole Farrell
Tel: 01829 751343
Email: [email protected]
Tattenhall Cheshire Leadership and Teaching Alliance, Tattenhall Key contact: Carole Farrell
Tel: 01829 751343
Email: [email protected]



Participants from the Independent Schools sector (not including special schools) or schools outside England will need to pay an additional £440 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.



Participants from the Independent Schools sector (not including special schools) or schools outside England will need to pay an additional £440 external Final Assessment fee.

“This is a highly reflective course delivered by competent and interesting leaders who inspire and motivate me to want to improve my skills in leadership. One of the most worthwhile and inspiring courses I have been on that I know has already had an impact on me as a middle leader in current role.”
Faculty of Leadership, NPQSL, Victoria Cross, Helsby High School, Cheshire
“Content was great, so passionate and reminded me of the moral imperative.”
Faculty of Leadership, NPQSL, Kate Doyle, Kelsall Primary School