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National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)OnlineContinuing Professional Development


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

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) ‘Leading a team’ is a new course for current or aspiring middle leaders in education settings who want to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in leading teams.

Aimed at current or aspiring key stage leaders, curriculum area leaders, subject leaders and pastoral leads, the course offers participants the opportunity to:

  • Become confident, competent and highly effective middle leaders
  • Build cohesive and effective teams
  • Improve teaching, learning and outcomes for children and young people in their areas of responsibility, and
  • Move ahead in their careers, through gaining a DfE-recognised qualification in middle 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 Group can offer, see our NPQ Senior Leadership and NPQ Headship courses.

Our next cohort starts in January 2019, so book your place now.

Please note that the DfE has re-started funding for NPQ places for schools in Category 5 & 6 areas for cohorts starting in January. If this applies to you and you wish to take advantage of a fully-funded NPQ course, please register soon. 

Why take this course with us?

Real Group’s NPQML 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
  • 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 NPQML graduates will:

  • Gain a highly valued, internationally respected, DfE accredited professional qualification 
  • Build effective teams, using evidence-informed approaches
  • Lead and evaluate an intervention in their setting to improve outcomes for children or young people
  • 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 NPQML course will help you work towards completing the required assignment and meet the assessment criteria.

During the course you will lead your team to design, implement and evaluate an improvement project in your setting, lasting at least two terms, designed to:

  • Improve pupils’ progress and attainment
  • Develop your leadership skills, and
  • Grow the capability of your team.

You will submit a 4,500 word written account for assessment, covering the initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.

How is the course delivered?

The module 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 NPQML, from across the country.

Are you eligible?

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 team to design, deliver and evaluate a project, lasting at least two terms, aimed at improving outcomes for children or young people in your setting.

Is NPQML 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?

NPQML – £995 plus VAT.

Please note that the DfE have paused funding places for Opportunity and Category 5 & 6 areas for the moment. They are anticipating this funding will be re-opened once the current intake has been reviewed. If you are in one of these areas and want to reserve a place for our January cohort on this basis, you can. If the funding is then not available, we can discuss options whether to continue 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, 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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