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National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)60 creditsOnlineContinuing Professional DevelopmentValidated by Middlesex University


The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) ‘Leading a school’ is available for senior staff in education settings who want to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence to lead education settings successfully.

Aimed at aspiring headteachers, the course offers participants the opportunity to:

Gain the knowledge, skills and leadership behaviours they need to succeed in headship and lead an effective education setting, and

  • Move ahead in their careers, through gaining a DfE-recognised qualification in leadership.

The course is one of three NPQ qualifications that Real Training 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 leaders.

For additional information about what Real Training can offer, see our NPQ Middle Leadership and NPQ Senior Leadership courses.

Our next NPQH cohort starts on 15 January 2020, so book your place now.

The Department for Education has confirmed that there will be funding available for the September 2019 cohort offered to Opportunity and Category 5 & 6 areas. If your school is in one of these areas and you wish to reserve a place, please complete the online booking form as soon as possible. Check if your school is in an opportunity area here

Why take this course with us?

Real Training’s NPQH 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
  • Can lead to the award of 60 M-level credit points by Middlesex University. This course does not result in the award of a Middlesex qualification. These credits can be used towards further Masters level qualifications with Real Training or Middlesex University
  • Is informed by 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. Real Training’s NPQH gives you the most current educational theory and helps you translate it into transformational whole-school change. 
  • Starts with a 360° 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 three 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
  • 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 an online forum.  

How will you benefit?

All successful NPQH graduates will:

  • Gain a highly valued, internationally respected, DfE accredited professional qualification
  • Be awarded 60 M-level credits from Middlesex University
  • Know how to lead an education setting successfully, using evidence-informed approaches
  • Lead and evaluate an intervention across their own and another 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 Training NPQH course will help you work towards completing the required assignment and meet the assessment criteria.

During the course you will lead a setting-wide change programme designed to improve pupils’ progress and attainment. You will present your plan to your governing body prior to implementation, and submit a 4,500 word written account covering the initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.

You will also undertake a placement in another school, lasting at least nine days. You tutor will be able to give you guidance in how to arrange this placement. You will identify the placement school’s current or projected resource and capability challenges and design an action plan to address these. You will present your plan to the placement school’s governing body for feedback, and submit a 2,500 word written account of the project.

How is the course delivered?

The course is delivered on line 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 NPQH, 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 current and aspiring headteachers working in education settings. You will need to be in a position to:

  • Lead a whole school change project in your own setting, aimed at improving outcomes for children or young people in the setting, and
  • Undertake a placement of at least nine days in a second school in which you will identify the placement school‘s current or projected resource and capability challenges and design an action plan to address these

Is NPQH 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 35 80 80.   

Are you based in an international setting?

This course is available online and can therefore be completed anywhere in the world. Please click here for advice on payment options and other information relevant to those studying outside of the UK.

How much does it cost?

  • A one-off payment of £2,750 + VAT
  • Three instalments of £942 + VAT
  • Ten instalments of £287 + VAT

The Department for Education funding window for March offered to Opportunity and Category 5 & 6 areas has now closed. We anticipate – though it is not yet confirmed – that there will be funding available for the May 2019 cohort. If your school is in a Category 5 or 6 area and you wish to reserve a place in anticipation of funding becoming available, please complete the online booking form as soon as possible. If the funding is then not available, we can discuss whether to continue your booking on a paid basis or cancel your booking without incurring any costs. 

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

When does the course start?

Cohorts begin in January, March, May, and September.

Book and enrol before 15 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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