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National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)60 creditsOnlineContinuing Professional DevelopmentValidated by Middlesex University


“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” John F Kennedy

The National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) ‘Leading across an education setting’ is a new course for current or aspiring senior leaders in education settings who want to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in leading change across their setting.

Aimed at experienced middle leaders, current or aspiring deputy or assistant headteachers and other senior staff, the course offers participants the opportunity to:

  • Become confident, competent and highly effective senior leaders able to improve teaching, learning and outcomes for staff, children and young people across their setting, and
  • Move ahead in their careers, through gaining a DfE-recognised qualification in senior leadership.

This NPQ course is one of three new qualifications that Real Group has been approved to deliver by the Department for Education. All three courses are designed by education practitioners and educational psychologists to provide current, innovative and practice-focused training that will give school leaders the insight and tools they need to become highly effective.

For additional information about what Real Training can offer see our NPQ Middle leadership and NPQ Head Teachership courses .

Our next cohort starts in January 2018, so book your place now.

Did you know – there are government bursaries available for 12 opportunity areas across England, giving staff access to fully-funded NPQ training with Real Training. Find out if your school is in an opportunity area on the Department for Education website.

Why take this course with us?

Real Training’s NPQSL course:

  • Is developed by education practitioners for education practitioners with a strong focus on personal development, inclusion and improving outcomes for all
  • Includes Positive Psychology and strengths-based approaches to leadership and change management
  • Leads to the award of 30 M-level credits from Middlesex University, which can be used towards further Masters level qualifications with Real Group or Middlesex University (subject to accreditation)
  • Is based on Real Training’s practice-led learning model, which means you receive the content and theory you need, along with opportunities to make a difference to your setting through putting theory into practice and reflecting on the process
  • Starts with a leadership behaviour assessment, which will help to establish your strengths, and identify behaviours to work on to improve your effectiveness, and
  • Is flexible, with core content delivered online, so you can study at a pace that complements your professional and personal commitments.
  • Real Training is working closely with four partner schools to develop and deliver the course. They are:

You’ll never feel isolated on a Real Training NPQ course because a sense of community is developed through:

  • Online interaction with tutors
  • In-school support from a mentor, and
  • Peer support, through interaction and collaboration with colleagues in your setting and with fellow participants from across the country, via a lively online forum.  

How will you benefit?

All successful NPQSL graduates will:

  • Gain a highly valued, internationally respected, DfE accredited professional qualification (subject to contract)
  • Be awarded 30 M-level credits from Middlesex University (subject to accreditation)
  • Lead effectively across their setting, using evidence-informed approaches
  • Lead and evaluate an intervention across their setting to improve outcomes for children or young people and staff
  • Develop their leadership and management skills, and their ability to work in partnership with colleagues, professionals from outside the setting, and parents and carers  
  • Enhance their own and others’ personal and professional development, and
  • Gain a professional network of colleagues beyond their own setting.

What does the course cover?

Course content covers six key areas:

  • Leading with impact
  • Strategy and improvement
  • Teaching and curriculum excellence
  • Working in partnership
  • Managing resources and risks, and
  • Increasing capability.

In addition, the course will help you to develop the range of leadership behaviours, identified by DfE:

  • Commitment
  • Collaboration
  • Personal drive
  • Resilience
  • Awareness
  • Integrity, and
  • Respect.

How will you be assessed?

Each ‘Learning Experience’ you undertake on the Real Group NPQSL course will help you work towards completing the required assignment and meet the assessment criteria.

During the course you will lead an improvement project across your setting, lasting at least two term, designed to:

  • Develop your leadership skills
  • Grow capacity within your setting
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching, and
  • Reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment.

You will submit a 5,000 word written account for assessment, covering the initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.

How is the course delivered?

The module is delivered online through our interactive learning platform, Campus Online.

You will be guided through the course by a narrative that:

  • Supports your progress
  • Presents tasks clearly, and
  • Provides you with content that complements your learning every step of the way.

Experienced online tutors with recent or current leadership experience in schools will be on hand to support you through your learning journey.

An online forum gives you the opportunity to share practice and to discuss and debate issues with others working towards the NPQSL, from across the country.

Are you eligible?

Do you have an undergraduate degree?

You will need an undergraduate degree to take this course as our NPQ qualifications are accredited at Masters level.

Are you already working in an education setting?

This course is designed for professionals currently working in education settings. You will need to be in a position to lead a change project in your own setting, lasting at least two terms, aimed at improving outcomes for children or young people.

Is NPQSL the right course for you?

  • NPQML is for those who are currently, or are aspiring to become, middle leaders with responsibility for leading a team. You might perhaps be a key stage leader, a curriculum leader, a subject leader, a head of department, or a pastoral services leader.
  • NPQSL is for those who are currently, or are aspiring to become, senior leaders with responsibilities across an education setting. You might perhaps be an experienced middle leader, a deputy or assistant head, a SENCO, an or advanced skills teacher. You’ll be looking for professional development, but not aspiring to headship at this stage of your career.
  • NPQH is, normally, for those who are highly motivated to become headteachers. You should, normally, be no more than 12 to 18 months from applying for headship posts and ready to take up a headship as soon as you complete the course. You will need to have the full support and endorsement of a sponsor. Usually, this will be your headteacher or line manager.

If you are unsure which course is for you, speak to our course advisers on 01273 358080.  

How much does it cost?

NPQSL – £1,750 plus VAT.

Speak to us (01273 358080) or make a booking.

When does the course start?

Cohorts begin in January, May and September.

Book and enrol before 30 January to join our next cohort.

Please note: as it takes time to process your application and payment, we strongly recommend to register as soon as possible, so that you don’t miss the next intake.

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