Skip to content ↓


National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)

Leading Learning Forward TSA, in association with The Humber Teaching School, is pleased to announce that it has been accredited as a accredited provider of the updated National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) by the Department for Education (DfE).

Who is NPQML for?

NPQML is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a middle leader with responsibility for leading a team e.g. a key stage leader, a curriculum area leader, a pastoral services leader, a subject leader, a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO), or a head of department. This includes those who are, or are aspiring to be, a middle leader with cross-school responsibilities e.g. a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE).

What you will learn on NPQML?

Each NPQ course features the same 6 content areas as below, however the knowledge and skills within a content area increases in sophistication, depth and breadth progressively through each of the NPQ levels.

  • Strategy & Improvement

Manage and analyse performance data to evaluate progress, identify trends, define team priorities and develop improvement strategies (for example, in relation to disadvantaged pupils or those with particular needs). Implement successful change at team level.

  • Teaching and Curriculum Excellence

Grow excellent, evidence-based teaching in a team and a curriculum that develops pupils academically and prepares them for adult life. Improve the progress, attainment and behaviour of all pupils, including those who are disadvantaged or have particular needs (for example, Pupil Premium, SEND, EAL or the most able pupils).

  • Leading with Impact

Anticipate other peoples’ views or feelings and moderate your approach accordingly. Adopt different leadership styles to ensure the team meets its objectives. Present, communicate or defend challenging messages confidently and positively to a range of audiences.

  • Working in Partnership

Realise the benefits of collaborating with others, including teachers, teaching assistants and non-teaching staff, other schools, parents/carers and other organisations. Support their team to build and sustain relationships with others which develop and share good practice and improve performance.

  • Managing Resources and Risks

Deploy staff, financial and educational resources within a team efficiently, to enhance pupil progress and attainment. Manage risks within a team effectively (for example, in relation to staffing, finances or teacher workload), using a risk register. Deliver a safe environment for pupils and staff.

  • Increasing Capability

Hold others to account, line manage and evaluate performance effectively. Support all members of their team with appropriate, targeted opportunities for professional development, including newly-qualified teachers, teaching assistants, and stronger or weaker performers. Recognise their own strengths and weaknesses and identify learning linked to their needs. Evaluate the impact of professional development on teacher development and pupils outcomes.

Leadership Behaviours

In addition to learning about the 6 content areas, as part of the NPQML participants are required to evaluate their strengths in each of the following 7 behaviours at the beginning of their NPQ, and plan how they will develop these during their study programme. Descriptors of the behaviours are as follows:-

  • Commitment

The best leaders are self-motivated and take a creative, problem-solving approach to new challenge.

  • Collaboration

The best leaders readily engage with, and invest responsibility in, those who are best placed to improve outcomes.

  • Personal Drive

The best leaders are self-motivated and take a creative, problem-solving approach to new challenge.

  • Resilience

The best leaders remain courageous and positive in challenging, adverse or uncertain circumstances.

  • Awareness

The best leaders will know themselves and their teams, continually reflect on their own and others’ practices, and understand how best to approach difficult or sensitive issues.

  • Integrity

The best leaders act with honesty, transparency and always in the interests of the school and its pupils.

  • Respect

The best leaders their respect the rights, views, beliefs and faiths of pupils, colleagues and stakeholders.

NPQML Assessment

The assessment requirements outlined below are applicable to participants starting their NPQML study programme in 2020-21.

Participants must:

Lead an improvement project in their team, lasting at least 2 terms, aimed at improving pupil progress and attainment (part A) and the capability of their team (part B)*

  • Submit a written account of the project to the provider for assessment, demonstrating how they have met the criteria set out below. This should cover the initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.
  • Submit supporting documents/material as evidence where indicated below. Supporting evidence must be concise and directly related to the candidate’s project and corresponding assessment criterion.
  • Not exceed a total word count (across both parts of the project) of 4500 words excluding any supporting documents or annexes.

Assessment Content Areas

Part A

  • Strategy and Improvement
  • Teaching and Curriculum Excellence
  • Leading with Impact
  • Working in Partnership

Part B

  • Managing Resources and Risks
  • Increasing Capability

The assessment for NPQML is conducted  on behalf of The Humber Teaching School and Leading Learning Forward TSA by an experienced assessors and moderators.

Programme Delivery

NPQML is delivered over the course of at least two academic terms, ensuring that participants are afforded sufficient time and development opportunities to successfully meet the assessment criteria. This will include the equivalent of 6 days face-to-face sessions out of school, online webinars and school visits delivered by experienced school leaders. A total of 110 study hours are required.

Programme Cost

The current cost of NPQML with Leading Learning Forward TSA and The Humber Teaching School, for courses starting in October 2020, is £1299 which covers the cost of:

  • course materials and resources
  • course presentations and face-to-face sessions
  • online learning and support
  • lunch and refreshments
  • one assessment submission.

NB: Any participant failing to adhere to the assessment requirements may be liable for the cost of re-submission.

Eligibility for DfE Scholarship Funding

DfE scholarship funding for NPQML courses, is not currently available.


Read our NPQML information leaflet (PDF) for applicants in 2020-21:

Delivery Plan

Our NPQ delivery plan is as follows:


Session Description



Induction & Diagnostics



Personal Study/Improvement Project



Face-to-Face 1



Face-to-Face 2



Face-to-Face 3: Support/Coaching/Online Learning



Personal Study/Improvement Project



Face-to-Face 4: Support/Coaching/Online Learning



Face-to-Face 5



Face-to-Face 6



School Visit/Exchange/Placement



Personal Study/Improvement Project






Project & Assessment




110 h

NPQ Delivery Plan with Assessment Dates

Read and download the current NPQ Delivery Plan and the NPQ Delivery & Assessment Dates for courses delivered by The Humber Teaching School and Leading Learning Forward TSA.

Key Policies, Notices & Protocols 2020-21

The current NPQ policies, notices and protocols (in PDF  format) can be read and downloaded via the links below are as follows:


The NPQML application window for 2020-21 has CLOSED.

NPQML Enquiries 

If you have any queries about the 2020-21 NPQML course, please contact Joanne Holmes in the LLF TSA office:

New NPQ Programmes (from September 2021)

From 1st September 2021, the NPQ programme detailed above is changing. Local information about the new NPQ programmes will be published on this website in due course. If you want to find out more about the new NPQ programmes now, please visit the websites of GOV.UK and Ambition Institute.


The Humber Teaching School

Page updated: 20 May 2021