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Woodrush High School

Woodrush Teaching School Alliance

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National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) is a qualification that provides national recognition of your leadership development and professional achievement as a senior leader.

Who is NPQSL for?
NPQSL is aimed at experienced team leaders with wider responsibilities traditionally associated with senior leadership roles.

It is suitable for:
  • Deputy or assistant heads
  • Experienced senior leaders who wish to further their knowledge and skills
  • Experienced middle leaders who are ambitious for and seeking promotion to a senior leadership role
  • Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE)
  • Senior leaders in a federation with responsibility areas across several schools
  • Someone who has responsibility for supporting other schools
  • Senior leaders working in schools and academies who are not qualified teachers (for example bursars, HR officers)
What is the NPQSL programme?
The qualification is part of the National College for Teaching and Leadership leadership curriculum, which offers more flexible development opportunities to support leaders at every stage of their career. To deliver the NPQSL locally, Woodrush TSA works in partnership with Leadership Live, a license holder for delivery of the national leadership curriculum. 

NPQSL sits at level two of the leadership curriculum. It is designed to support participants in becoming highly effective senior leaders with the skills, confidence and knowledge to contribute to the strategic development of the school or organisation as part of the senior leadership team.

To achieve the qualification, participants will need to complete two Essential modules ("Closing the gap" and "Succeeding in senior leadership") and two Elective modules chosen from a wide range of options.

Included in the cost of the programme will be:
  • Online materials for the two Essential modules and two Elective modules
  • One face to face day for each module
  • Online discussions and support
  • A 360 degree diagnostic

What modules are available as part of the NPQSL qualification?
The modules provide access to a wide set of high quality leadership resources to challenge and support participants at senior leadership level.
All modules reflect the recent and significant changes in schools and national policy.

As a national qualification, NPQSL may be used to contribute towards Master’s Level Study at a number of universities across the country.


Essential Modules
Closing the Gap
Succeeding in Senior Leadership
Elective Modules
Improving the quality of teaching
Research and development in teaching
Effective whole school management
School self-evaluation
Leading professional development
Leading change for improvement

Leading in a diverse system

Effective partnership working

The modules for the Senior Leadership pathway can also be grouped within the three key strands of the leadership curriculum:


Educational Excellence

Operational Management

Strategic Leadership


Each module is made up of:
  • One face to face professional development day
  • Online learning with peers through online discussions
  • Individual online learning
  • Development work for the final assessed school improvement project
Each module can be completed in approximately 40 hours although you can spend longer using the online materials for your own learning if you so wish.

How is the programme assessed?
Although individual modules are not assessed, there will be the requirement of one extended school improvement task that relates to your leadership role and to your school’s improvement priorities. This extended school improvement tasks will need to draw on learning from the two essential modules. 

The work should be undertaken over at least two terms and enable participants to show evidence of the impact of their leadership.

How long does it take?
The qualification can take between 6 and 18 months to complete with each module requiring between 40 and 50 hours of learning. The majority of senior leaders are likely to spend 12 months completing the programme.

When will the programme be held?
The next NPQSL cohort is due to start in the summer term. 

Are places limited?
There is no limit on the number of candidates who can participate in the programme but participants must have full support from the headteacher of their school.

How much does NPQSL cost?
The NPQSL programme is available at a cost of £850. 

To register an interest in the NPQSL please complete a booking form on this page or alternatively email for more details.