Current application window information

The NPQSL application window is currently open. Apply by the 10th July to qualify for a fully funded scholarship, (eligibility criteria applies). Click here to find details of how to apply.

While our usual delivery style is via face to face events, this intake will begin with a range of online learning activities. Face to face events will continue when possible.


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.

The NPQSL is aimed at senior leaders in primary, secondary and special school settings with cross-school responsibilities. This includes experienced middle leaders, deputy heads, assistant heads and other senior staff looking for further professional development but not aspiring to headship at this stage in their career.

NPQSL is available to school leaders across East Midlands and Yorkshire using practitioners and outstanding school leaders from across the region. It is expected that participants will complete the programme within 18 months. It has been designed to support the participant as you progress through your leadership development journey, aligning your practice in school with the assessment task.

The following content learning areas are covered over the course of the programme:

  • Teaching & Curriculum Excellence

  • Strategy & Improvement

  • Leading with Impact

  • Working in Partnership

  • Managing Risks

  • Increasing Capability

Our Delivery Model

Our usual delivery model adopts a blended learning approach providing a mix of self directed learning with face to face input, further reading and pre-tasks. Inspiring Leaders recommends for NPQSL that the guided learning hours are between 130 - 160 hours for the programme. Click on the links below to explore the different elements involved.

Click Here to Download an Overview of Our Delivery Model

Please note that during this period of Covid 19, face to face sessions have been replaced with virtual sessions ran via Microsoft Teams Live. Each content area will consist of 2-3 virtual sessions over a period of 6 weeks. These will be accompanied by a range of post and pre tasks including peer networking, research and additional reading.

Self Review

Self Review

Self Review

All participants have the opportunity to complete a self review form based on our Leadership Behaviours. This is designed to highlight strengths and areas for development for you to consider and focus on that will enable you to develop and grow as a leader. You are encouraged to complete the form with your coach before attending the induction and to review this at least twice throughout the programmee.

Face to Face Days

Face to Face Days

Face to Face Days

Participants are required to attend 7.5 face to face days over the course of the programme; 7 full days beginning with an induction and ending with a celebration, and a half day Leadership Focus Day (more information below).

Each day has been specifically designed with an effective senior leader in mind, using a variety of types of study including theory, models, case studies and accounts of practise to enable each participant to determine their own learning and leadership style. Emphasis is placed on collaboration, coaching and reflection to ultimately empower the participant to build trust and credibility, vision and confidence as a leader.

The programme begins with a whole day induction and ends with a leadership celebration. These will be delivered as a whole regional intake. The rest of the days will be cluster based, delivered in cohorts that are local to you.

Where possible face to face days will be hosted within school settings, so that we can take advantage of the learning environments they provide including learning walks, lesson observations and staff/pupil input.

The Facilitators

The Facilitators

The Facilitators

All face to face days are delivered in your local area by experienced school based senior leaders who are based in your region and have a track record of delivering successful leadership development programmes. All our facilitators are trained and accredited by Inspiring Leaders in order to deliver on the programme.

The Sponsor

The Sponsor

The Sponsor

The spondor is an important element of the NPQSL programme. Each participant is required to identify a sponsor in their own school who will support, challenge and enable them to maximise their leadership development experience back in school. This is usually the participants’ line manager or sometimes the Headteacher.

The coach has a key role throughout NPQSL including:

  • Providing a brief supporting statement of commitment on the application form.

  • Reviewing the 360 diagnostic results with the participant prior to induction.

  • Enabling the participant with opportunity to put their learning on NPQSL into practise.

  • Ensuring the participant identifies a suitable assessment task that will meet the criteria and provides stretch and challenge.

  • Verification of the participant’s assessment at the end of the programme.

Leadership Library

Leadership Library

Leadership Library

Inspiring Leaders will provide participants with a log in to access the leadership library online. This is an online platform that will allow you to access a range of case studies, up to date national and international research and other high quality resources and activities to support your learning.

Leadership Focus Days

Leadership Focus Days

Leadership Focus Days

Unique to our delivery model are our leadership focus days. These sessions are additional half days providing participants with the opportunity to see practice in action. They will involve the opportunity to visit a school within our partnership to explore a particular leadership theme. Focus days may include learning walks, lesson drop ins, discussions and input from key school leaders, key members of staff and children. These opportunities are designed to support you to develop your own leadership vision and reflect on outstanding practice. They also encourage participants to develop their research skills and to analyse evidence and synthesise it into a cohorant form to communicate to others. There will be opportunity to share learning and findings at the next face to face session following the visits.

Participants will have a choice of three themes and must attend one. However, it will be possible to attend more than one themed focus day if you wish to do so for a small additional fee.


In order to gain the NPQSL qualification, participants are required to complete an assessment task in their own school.

Participants must complete the following task:

Task 1

  • Lead an improvement project in their school lasting at least 2 terms to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment and improve efficiency and effectiveness of teaching.

  • Submit a written report that doesn’t exceed 5000 words, demonstrating how you meet the criteria which includes initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.

  • Submit supporting documents evidencing your learning and relating to the assessment criteria.

It is essential that participants are provided with opportunity to lead a team and have whole-school reach during their time with NPQSL.

More information about the assessment including guidance and criteria will be provided at the induction day.

Costs for 2019/20

The cost of NPQSL is £1200+VAT.

For schools with less than 210 on role, the cost is £1050+VAT.

If your school is one of our partner teaching school alliance schools, you may be eligible for a 10% discount (schools over 210 on role only).

Apply by the 10th July to quality for a fully funded scholarship if your school or your Multi Academy Trust or diocese has a school in the following districts:
  • Nottingham, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, Ashfield, Broxtowe
  • South Derbyshire, Derby, Chesterfield, Bolsover, High Peak, Amber Valley, Erewash, North East Derbyshire
  • Leicester
  • Lincoln, North Lincolnshire, East Lindsay, South Holland, North East Lincolnshire
  • Scarborough, East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston upon Hull
All scholarships are at the discresion on the DfE and we reserve the right to invoice you if your claim is not successful.

Participants wishing to complete NPQSL are required to complete the Inspiring Leaders application form, but there is no additional application requirements to access this funding.

Click here to check all areas nationally that are currently eligible for funding


    The application round is open now! If the induction is unable to take place face to face, it will go head virtually via Microsoft Teams. More information will be published when known.

    Please complete the appropriate application form for your region.

    Please note that to apply you need to provide your 7 digit Teacher Reference Number (TRN) which is in the format 00/00000. We are unable to accept your application without this. You will need it when submitting your assessment and if you are eligible for a scholarship, we are unable to receive funding from the DfE for you which may regretably result in us having to invoice your school.

    Click here to download the application form

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    How do I apply for NPQSL?

    You will need to complete a booking form and submit this to Inspiring Leaders before the deadline shown. Your Headteacher will be required to complete a short sponsor statement on your booking form to verify your booking and ensure support is provided to your commitment.

    What is the assessment requirement for NPQSL?

    In order to gain the NPQSL qualification, participants are required to complete an assessment task in their own school. Participants must:

    • Lead an improvement project in their school lasting at least 2 terms to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment and improve efficiency and effectiveness of teaching.

    • Submit a written report that doesn’t exceed 5000 words, demonstrating how you meet the criteria which includes initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.

    • Submit supporting documents evidencing your learning and relating to the assessment criteria.

    How much does the NPQSL programme cost?

    The cost of NPQSL is £1200+VAT. There is a 10% discount for members of our partner Teaching School Alliances. Your school will automatically be invoiced for this approximately two weeks prior to the start of the programme. However, payment plans may be available if you are funding this personally or are from a small school but should be agreed before the programme commences. Please contact us to discuss options.

    How long do I have to complete the NPQSL qualification?

    We aim to ensure that you complete the programme within 18 months which is in line with DfE guidelines.

    Where will the programme be delivered?

    NPQSL is delivered throughout the East Midlands, North Yorkshire and East Riding via external venues and schools within our Teaching School Alliances. This includes venues in North and South Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, York and near Hull. The intake is split into regional cohorts so participants attend most of the days at a venue near to them. However, the first day (induction) and the last day (leadership celebration) will take place as one cohort at the start and end of the programme.

    Can I study towards my masters qualification too?

    Yes you can. Nottingham Trent University, in partnership with Inspiring Leaders, offers a unique opportunity to maximise your NPQH experience. (You can study in your locality: attendance at Nottingham Trent University is not required).

    Please note completing NPQSL itself does not carry masters points. Work towards masters credits is undertaken as a separate piece of work that links to the NPQSL assessment tasks.

    When is the next intake of NPQSL with Inspiring Leaders?

    We currently run two intakes a year. Specific dates for the next intake will be published on this page.

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