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National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders (NPQML)

Yorkshire Leadership Community are accredited providers of the National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) accredited by the Department of Education (DfE). 


The Department for Education's National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders is for middle leaders (primary, secondary, special or other setting) who want to benefit from high quality further professional development. 

Who is it for?

Participants must be (or aspiring to be) a middle leader in an education setting. Please note that due to the government changes to the NPQs, the March cohort will be the last opportunity to gain the NPQML qualification.

November 2020 and Spring 2021 Cohorts

Our programmes are normally delivered through a blended learning model, typically centred around 4 face-to-face days.  Due to social distancing guidelines, our face-to-face sessions have currently been redesigned and are currently being delivered online through facilitated synchronous and asynchronous online modules.  We intend to return to face-to-face delivery as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. Course dates will be discussed in the introductory session of each programme.

November 2020 Cohort, applications closed 1st October 2020

Closing date 22nd February for the March 21 cohort. This cohort is full and applications have closed.


The full programme is available at a cost of £995 per participant (inclusive of one assessment submission). YLC are currently offering a limited number of places with a £300 discount per participant, please enquire for details.


There has been high demand from teachers and school leaders to access NPQ scholarships in recent months. As a result, access to Department for Education (DfE) scholarships for new applicants for NPQs is currently suspended. 

Learning outcomes and programme structure (this may change due to Covid restrictions)

Our programmes are delivered through a blended learning model, typically centred around 4 face-to-face days, designed and delivered by experienced school leaders and education specialists with proven track records and expertise.  The face-to-face days are complemented by peer engagement and coaching, online learning, self-study and individual research, alongside intersessional school-based tasks to develop the leadership knowledge and skills that will ensure participants can successful meet the assessment criteria.

The NPQML qualification covers 6 content areas which set out the knowledge and skills that a middle leader should know or be able to do:

  • Strategy & Improvement
  • Teaching & Curriculum Excellence
  • Leading with Impact
  • Working in partnership
  • Managing Resources & Risks
  • Increasing Capacity

 Additionally, participants will develop their strengths in each of the following seven leadership behaviours:

Leadership behaviours


The best leaders are committed to their pupils and understand the power of world-class teaching to improve social mobility, wellbeing and productivity


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 challenges


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


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


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


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

Learning Outcomes Programme Structure
  • Develop a range of knowledge and skills to support and strengthen leadership in their current role and help prepare for the next step promotion

  • Engaged in action learning and up to date, evidence based research in order to secure a positive impact on the education and outcomes of students in their school, academy or MAT

  • National recognition of their CPD as the course is accredited by the Department for Education

  • A pathway for credit transfer into a University of Leeds Masters or Doctor of Education degree
Component Hours
School based coaching/ mentoring 6
Face-to-face days
Peer coaching 3
Peer engagement 17
Expert input 8
Peer engagement 10
Expert input 10
Research/ online learning 5
Individual/ School- based learning 25

The online community also provides:

  • access to the YLC helpdesk

  • support/ guidance on engagement

  • an interface with facilitators additional to face-to-face days/ online resources


Participants must lead an improvement project across their school, lasting at least 2 terms aimed at improving pupil progress and attainment (part A) and the capability of their team (part B).

A written account of the project covering the design, implementation and evaluation must then be submitted for assessment (4,500 words).  Concise supporting documents as evidence must be submitted in accordance with the assessment criterion.  The submission, along with any supporting evidence, will be assessed in accordance with the DfE NPQ Mark Scheme and be subject to national moderation.

Assessments for the March 21 cohort will need to be submitted before the existing NPQs are closed in Summer 2022.

Downloads and links

Yorkshire Leadership Community Policies

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