NPQH 2018-07-18T14:25:57+00:00

National Professional Qualification for Headship

Aspiring to lead an organisation

The NPQH follows a leadership curriculum based on Masters level criteria and focuses on developing the knowledge, skills and attributes of a successful headteacher. The NPQH has been written for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school. This includes those who are, or are aspiring to be, a head or head of school with cross-school responsibilities e.g. a National Leader of Education (NLE). To achieve the NPQH qualification, you’ll need to attend all face to face days, to study the online content involving extended case studies and related in-school assignments with a stronger focus on leading a whole school.

Who is NPQH for?

NPQH is ideal if you are motivated to be a headteacher and are no more than about 12-18 months from applying for headship posts. 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, encouraging and promoting your involvement in leadership and other professional development opportunities.

Can anyone study NPQH?

You should normally be within about 12-18 months of applying for a headship. You will have to pass the initial gateway assessment before registering for the programme. The application form requires candidates to provide evidence against the criteria within the NPQH gateway assessment framework. You also require the endorsement of your line manager or sponsor. The NPQH is relevant to and open to colleagues who are acting headteachers or already in post as a headteacher.

What are the benefits of NPQH qualification?

The NPQH is well-established as the first-choice qualification for anyone aspiring to be a headteacher or principal. The programme is set to produce an outstanding generation of school and academy leaders.

  • It provides you with a credible, valid and reliable final assessment report to support governing body interview panels and give you the competitive edge when applying for headships.
  • It has been designed in collaboration with some of the country’s leading headteachers and academics to give balance between academic rigour and applied leadership.
  • The flexible structure combines core elements with the freedom to specialise or develop your own areas of professional interest.
  • The in-school placement combines a whole-school strategic leadership task with the opportunity to work alongside an experienced headteacher in a different context.
  • It provides access to peer learning and optional coaching to extend and maximise your learning throughout the programme.
    The NPQH is relevant to and open to colleagues who are acting headteachers or already in post as a headteacher.

What is the content structure of the NPQH programme?

The NPQH is a robust and flexible programme. To complete the qualification, you will need to attend all 5 face to face days, compete online tasks and learning and undertake school improvement tasks in your own and a placement school.

To complete the NPQH programme the maximum study time for the whole qualification will be 160 hours approx. 25 hours of this will be face to face learning, with the remainder of the time spent exploring the online library, engaging in discussions, individual research, in school activities related to the programme and preparation and engagement with the assessment task.

You do not necessarily have to be on NPQH to study for a learning area and NPQH candidates can elect to study for additional learning areas to meet their own personal development needs or school priorities.

Your placement in another school needs to be conducted over around nine days (not consecutive). During the placement you will:

  • Lead on a strategically challenging project
  • Participate in agreed activities alongside the headteacher of your placement school
  • Learn from an effective role model
  • Practice and develop your leadership in a different context
  • Reflect on key leadership behaviours of highly effective leaders and identify how to develop your own leadership

For an overview of the structure of the NPQH programme click here.

Do you have to be on NPQH to undertake a learning area?

No. You can choose to undertake an individual learning area to address a particular need without applying for the full NPQH qualification or you might choose to do one learning area the first year, another one the year after and the final parts to gain the full qualification in the third year.

How is the programme assessed?

In order to achieve the NPQH qualification you must attend all face to face fays, undertake online activities, complete your school placement and register for and successfully complete the final assessment task.

How long does it take?

The qualification takes between 12 and 18 months to complete with each module requiring between 40 and 50 hours of learning. The majority of participants are likely to spend between 12 and 18 months completing the programme.

Where will the programme be held?

The introductory day and all module face to face sessions will take place at a suitable venue within the eastern region.

Venue: Girton College, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0JG

The programme starts online in Autumn 2018, with the face-to-face days held as below. Please note that all face to face days are compulsory and are full days running approximately 9.30am-4pm:

Event Date
Face to Face day 1 Thursday 4th October 2018
Face to Face day 2 Thursday 7th February 2019
Face to Face day 3 Thursday 9th May 2019
Face to Face day 4 Wednesday 11th September 2019
Face to Face day 5 Tuesday 15th October 2019

Venue: Girton College, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0JG

The programme starts online in early 2018, with the face-to-face days held as below:

Event Date
Face to Face day 1 Monday 12th March 2018
Face to Face day 2 Wednesday 13th June 2018
Face to Face day 3 Monday 17th September 2018
Face to Face day 4 Thursday 22nd November 2018
Face to Face day 5 Wednesday 16th January 2019

Upcoming groups

Paragon Teaching School Alliance:

Tuesday 6th November 2018
Wednesday 23rd January 2019
Wednesday 6th March 2019
Wednesday 1st May 2019
Wednesday 5th June 2019

Enfield Teaching School Alliance:

The Enfield Teaching School Alliance will be running an NPQH cohort in the 2018-2019 Academic Year. Dates will be provided in due course.

The cost of this programme is £1450. Participants who intend to undertake the bridging project for Masters accreditation should declare their interest (with no obligation) on registration for the NPQH.

It is very important that you provide your Teacher reference Number (TRN) correctly in your application. Most often, the TRN can be found on your school’s central record (which is an Ofsted safeguarding requirement), on your QTS certificate, on your application form for a teaching post and on your Teachers’ Pension annual statement. It is also part of the online login to access the Teachers’ Pension Service online so it’s worth checking to see if you asked your computer to remember it. Some employers include the TRN on a salary slip.

The TRN was previously known as a DfEE number, and similar titles. The TRN is normally in the form: 01 / 23456. If you have a number that is in a different form it is not your TRN and will be rejected by NCTL. Currently TRNs are handled by Capita. If you have not been successful following the above suggestions you can also get your Teacher Reference Number by contacting Capita, who co-ordinate teachers’ pension arrangements:

Telephone: 01325 745746
Fax: 01325 745789

This may take some time though – so we advise you to contact them without delay if you need their help.

Alternatively you can contact the National College QTS Team via the following information:

Telephone: 0207 593 5394

Please note: you will need to provide the QTS team with your full name, date of birth and national insurance number to be able to request your TRN.

Passed your Gateway Assessment?

If you’ve already passed your Gateway Assessment with the National College and been offered a place on the NPQH programme you will now need to apply for your NPQH. NPQH programmes are not all the same, and here at Leadership East we are especially proud of our extensive experience of delivering high-quality NPQH programmes for over 10 years. The Leadership East partnership provides you with professional development which is of the highest quality while remaining excellent value-for-money for you / your organisation.
To help you succeed with your NPQH, Leadership East offers you:
  • Access to over 10 years’ experience delivering high-quality NPQH programmes
  • Credible, committed and capable facilitators and practising school leaders
  • A flexible programme to meet your development needs
  • An individual named contact to support you throughout your learning journey
  • A dedicated helpline as well as IT support
  • Personalised coaching and support
  • Up-to-date, practical information

Are you eligible for a fully-funded place?

Funds of £10 million have been set aside by government in order to support teachers and leaders in challenging areas to access the National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for Middle Leaders (NPQML), Senior Leaders (NPQSL), Headteachers (NPQH) and Executive Leaders (NPQEL).

We are able to offer fully-funded places on the NPQs to those applicants working in a school in an Opportunity Area (OA) or a Category 5 or 6 area. Anyone in these areas who does not already hold the NPQ for which they are applying and has not have previously dropped out before completing it may apply.

Please note that places are limited, so ensure that your application is with us as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

A full list of the eligible areas can be found below:

• Arun
• Ashfield
• Ashford
• Babergh
• Basingstoke and Deane
• Bracknell Forest
• Braintree
• Broxtowe
• Burnley
• Cannock Chase
• Carlisle
• Coventry
• Dudley
• East Lindsey
• Eden
• Gravesham
• Halton
• Havant
• Kirklees
• Leicester
• Lewes
• Lincoln
• Luton
• Mansfield
• Medway
• Mid Suffolk
• Milton Keynes
• Newark and Sherwood
• North Lincolnshire
• North Warwickshire
• Nuneaton and Bedworth
• Pendle
• Reading
• Rochdale
• Salford
• Sefton
• Sheffield
• South Staffordshire
• St Edmundsbury
• St. Helens
• Stafford
• Staffordshire Moorlands
• Stevenage
• Swindon
• Tameside
• Telford and Wrekin
• Tendring
• Thanet
• Torridge
• Warrington
• Wirral
• Wychavon
• Wyre Forest

• Amber Valley
• Barnsley
• Blackpool
• Bolsover
• Bradford
• Breckland
• Chesterfield
• Corby
• Crawley
• Daventry
• Derby
• Doncaster
• East Cambridgeshire
• East Northamptonshire
• East Riding of Yorkshire
• East Staffordshire
• Erewash
• Fenland
• Forest Heath
• Gosport
• Great Yarmouth
• Hastings
• High Peak
• Huntingdonshire
• Ipswich
• Isle of Wight
• Kettering
• King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
• Kingston upon Hull, City of
• Knowsley
• Liverpool
• Middlesbrough
• North East Derbyshire
• North East Lincolnshire
• Northampton
• Northumberland
• Norwich
• Nottingham
• Oldham
• Peterborough
• Portsmouth
• Sandwell
• Scarborough
• South Derbyshire
• South Holland
• Stoke-on-Trent
• Tamworth
• Walsall
• Waveney
• Wellingborough
• West Somerset
• Weymouth and Portland
• Wolverhampton
• Worthing

  • West Somerset
  • Norwich
  • Blackpool
  • North Yorkshire coast
  • Derby
  • Oldham
  • Bradford
  • Doncaster
  • Fenland and East Cambridgeshire
  • Hastings
  • Ipswich
  • Stoke-on-Trent


Applications are now closed for the Autumn 2018 intake of NPQH. To register your interest for the next intake in Spring 2019, please click the button below.

If you are considering a locally delivered programme for your school or cluster of schools please email us at or call 01223 491690.

**Please note that applications are still open for the NPQH cluster group held in partnership with the Paragon Teaching School Alliance in Peterborough. To apply for this group, please click the ‘Cluster Application’ button below. Any applications received that are not for the Paragon TSA group will not be processed.**

Register your interest
Cluster Application