The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) is a new qualification providing recognition for your achievement as a middle leader

NPQML Programme

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership provides recognition for your achievement as a middle leader


1 year course consisting of four compulsory face to face days.


Across the region




We are now accepting applications for our September 2020 course



Middle leaders hold a unique and critical position within the school and the role offers its own particular rewards and challenges. It is the middle leaders who are responsible for translating the school’s policies and strategies into practice and yet, in some schools, they may have little or no influence on the development of these. In other schools middle leaders are involved in strategic discussions and contribute to policy development.

In all schools middle leaders are close to teaching and learning and may hold the greatest subject expertise which puts them in a strong position to improve teaching and learning within their teams. They are, in fact, critical to successful school improvement. They also have a number of important management tasks to perform, as well as undertaking a significant teaching commitment. All this means they also have significant time pressures on their leadership role and may be new to a role which involves managing more complex relationships. A recent evaluation of the College’s Middle Leadership Development programme highlighted that two of the biggest concerns for middle leaders are having to manage both upwards to senior leaders and downwards with team members and secondly becoming a ‘boss’ in situations where they have recently been regarded as ’colleagues‘.

Our new middle leadership provision (NPQML) has been developed to focus on the varied position of middle leaders. We do know that school based support (for example from a senior leader or headteacher) is particularly helpful for this group who are sometimes relatively inexperienced in formal leadership roles.


Havant group 2019-20

Cohort 16 - September 2020

There are 6 content areas for each NPQ level, which set out what a leader should know or be able to do. The 6 content areas are common to each NPQ level, but the knowledge and skills within them increases in sophistication, depth and breadth progressively through the NPQ levels. They are:

  • Strategy and Improvement
  • Teaching and Curriculum Excellence
  • Leading with Impact
  • Working in Partnership
  • Managing Resources and Risks
  • Increasing Capability

Your knowledge and skills will then be assessed through corresponding assessment criteria and assessment tasks, covered below.

Leadership Behaviours

There are 7 leadership behaviours, common to each NPQ level, which set out how the best leaders operate. They are:

  • Commitment
  • Collaboration
  • Personal Drive
  • Resilience
  • Awareness
  • Integrity
  • Respect


 NPQML Study time

Havant group 2019-20

Cohort 16 - September 2020

Final Assessment should be submitted within 12 months of starting the programme.

NPQML Assessment Task Description

Project Summary:

Working with my team to a) improve pupil progress and attainment and b) team capability (4,500 words)

Content Areas Assessed:

Part A Part B
Strategy and Improvement Managing Resources and Risks
Teaching and Curriculum Excellence Increasing Capability
Leading with Impact
Working in Partnership

Participants must:

  • Lead an improvement project in their team, lasting at least 2 terms, aimed at improving pupil progress and attainment (part A) and the capability of their team (part B)*
  • Submit a written account of the project to the provider for assessment, demonstrating how they have met the criteria set out below. This should cover the initiation, implementation and evaluation of the project.
  • Submit supporting documents/material as evidence where indicated below. Supporting evidence must be concise and directly related to the candidate’s project and corresponding assessment criterion.
  • Not exceed a total word count (across both parts of the project) of 4,500, excluding supporting documents or annexes.

*where the candidate is unable to identify one project that meets the needs of both part a and b, they may complete two separate projects, however the total overall word count of 4,500 still applies.


Content Area NPQML Assessment Criteria Supporting Documents Required
Strategy and Improvement 1.1.1 Deploys tools and techniques to manage and analyse data on pupil progress and attainment Raw Data Analysis
1.1.2 Designs, evaluates and improves plans in light of data on pupil progress and attainment
1.1.3 Deploys change management tools and/or techniques during the design and implementation of plans
Teaching and Curriculum  Excellence 2.1.1 Analyses research into, and examples of, domestic and international teaching strategies/pedagogical approaches and applies findings to own plans
2.1.2 Evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of curriculum taught by team, implementing improvements where necessary
2.1.3 Implements and evaluates an evidence-based project that improves pupil progress and/or attainment Pupil Performance data
Leading with Impact 3.1.1 Exploits different leadership styles and justifies why these have been adopted
3.1.2 Exploits different communication styles and justifies why these have been adopted
Working in Partnership 4.1.1 Establishes relationships with others within and outside of own team, deploying appropriate structures and/or processes to mitigate against any barriers Sponsor comments
4.1.2  Designs and/or delivers plans in collaboration with others within and outside of own team
Managing Resources and Risks 5.1.1 Analyses the financial and staffing implications of own plans, during whole lifetime of plans, using a budget Budget
5.1.2 Defines the steps required to successfully implement plans, using a project plan Project Plan
5.1.3 Identifies and mitigates risks in plans, using a risk register Risk Register
Increasing Capability 6.1.1 Assesses individuals’ performance and capability methodically and identifies appropriate, targeted professional development opportunities within and beyond the school to support them
6.1.2 Assesses their own performance and capability methodically, identifying appropriate, targeted professional development opportunities for self
6.1.3 Designs and implements plans to evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of professional development in terms of pupil outcomes





QTL Bursaries

QTL is offering a limited number of bursaries on a first come first served basis to NPQML applicants who are from small schools (as defined by the DfE) or from a BME background, if your application is successful it could cover up to half of the course fee.

If you have any queries about NPQML costs and bursaries please email

QTL Bursary application