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Leadership Curriculum

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has developed a range of professional qualifications, which are licensed to different providers nationwide. The suite of programmes forms the Leadership Curriculum. The Leadership Curriculum is designed to support leaders at different stages of their career by offering national qualifications and flexible study modules to middle leaders, senior leaders and those aspiring to headship.  

We chose to become a licence-holder of the Leadership Curriculum because of our strong culture of school improvement and professional development at the heart of our organisation. We are passionate about improving schools to ensure that students are able to receive the best education possible. We also believe that teachers should be able to access high-quality professional development that makes a real difference to teaching practice and leadership, enabling teachers to become the best teachers and school leaders they can be.

National Professional Qualifications available

Levels 1, 2, and 3 are currently delivered through the Harris Teaching School Alliance:

Our Leadership Curriculum framework

We have given careful consideration to how the Leadership Curriculum should be delivered to ensure that it is the highest quality professional development available for teachers and that learning outcomes have a direct impact on improving schools. As a result, we have developed the following framework for our offer:

  • Each session is facilitated by an outstanding practitioner with a strong track record of school improvement and improving outcomes for students.
  • Where appropriate, experts and other specialist leaders are invited to deliver short sessions on their areas of expertise to enhance participant knowledge and understanding.
  • All training takes place in different schools or Academies to build participant experience of different settings and stimulate ideas and strategic thinking for their own school.
  • Participants have opportunities to tour different schools and Academies to gather evidence of what they are learning and to observe ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ practice.
  • We share the systems, processes, policies and other relevant materials used to improve our Academies.
  • We deliver a significant amount of online learning, which reduces homework and enables participants to dedicate more time to developing their school improvement tasks in their own schools.
  • We quality-assure all training sessions to ensure that participants’ learning while on the programme enhances their ability to execute and report on school improvement tasks and to meet the qualification level.
  • We provide coaching and mentoring as a feature of the training.
  • We offer a variety of final assessment preparation, support and assistance.

This approach stems from our Academy offer to our students. Our approach is practical and robust in developing high-performing school leaders. We are proud to be able to provide the support and guidance that individuals need to thrive.


The structure of the Leadership Curriculum is to support career progression. The curriculum is designed across three learning areas and five levels of leadership, with each level offering a choice of study modules that may be combined to pursue a nationally recognised qualification, or modules (within each level) can be studied on a stand-alone basis. View the Leadership Curriculum overview.

Study modules

Programmes are made up of essential and elective modules which are delivered through a ‘blended learning’ approach. This involves a combination of learning in the workplace, face-to-face activity (including peer and facilitated learning) and online learning.

Elective modules can be studied to count towards a full national qualification or on their own as stand-alone development, to fill a gap in knowledge or to drive forward a specific agenda in your school or organisation.

The benefits

All levels of our Leadership Curriculum programmes are led by principals and are delivered by high-performing middle and senior leaders with exceptional track records. Our leading practitioners have a wealth of experience in dealing with the challenges that schools and Academies face, and have a proven record in improving outcomes for pupils and students.

The benefits of our Leadership Curriculum offer are:

  • The practical approach we have adopted to deliver the Leadership Curriculum will enable you to have a good understanding of the different accountabilities and responsibilities that make up the different leadership roles and will show you how to execute the different roles effectively.
  • Learning from peers – sessions are facilitated by a variety of leaders in similar roles who support you to evaluate the different leadership strengths and styles. You will be able to examine how different schools and Academies operate, how the different roles can vary and how to assess what ‘highly effective’ looks like for you as well as the steps you need to achieve it.
  • Understand the tried and tested techniques we have used to achieve rapid transformation in some of our different Academy settings. Assess what works in your setting and create an action plan to lead an effective school improvement task in your school.
  • Obtain guidance and support from our experts on your chosen school improvement task and undergo coaching sessions that will help you to assess your plans and take steps to ensure that tasks will be sustainable and will have a positive impact on your school.

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