Your Interest

National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)

The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is the first-choice qualification for anyone aspiring to become a headteacher or principal. The Harris approach to the programme prepares you to lead a school effectively, in a system where schools and Academies are fully responsible for self-improvement and delivering high-quality outcomes for students.

Opportunities to learn from some of the best school leaders in the country.
30% of our first NPQH trainees have gone on to secure headships within 18 months of starting the programme.

We deliver this programme in a very practical way, using our principals and executive principals to facilitate each session at their individual Academies. Our ‘outstanding’ leaders enjoy sharing their own experiences of headship with you, both the achievements and the challenges, including details of the systems and processes that were used to transform underperforming schools.

The programme is delivered practically using both Harris Principals and, to give participants a wider context of school leadership, Headteachers from schools outside the Federation. Each of these sessions are facilitated at different schools and academies.

Who is the programme for?

You will be new to a headship role or highly motivated and ready to become a principal within 12–18 months.

What is involved?

To complete this programme you are required to attend 10 compulsory face-to-face training days, which are delivered over three school terms. Each training day will take place at a different school or Academy and will be facilitated by an ‘outstanding’ practitioner. Once you have completed the study of the programme, you will be eligible to undertake the assessment.

You will be invited to learn from our leaders and share their experiences while you understand some of the many facets that make up the role of the headteacher.

The NPQH qualification consists of:

  • an induction day
  • successful completion of three essential modules and two elective modules (two face-to-face training days for each module)
  • engagement in up to 50 hours of blended learning activities, which include:
    • work-based learning
    • face-to-face learning
    • self-directed learning (online reading)
    • support for learning (facilitators/line managers)
    • coaching for improvement (mentors)
    • learning with peers (group work)
    • structured reflection (critical review, evaluation and analysis)
    • recorded reflections and identification of key learning (to focus on leadership development priorities and to demonstrate progress)
    • blogs and WebEx meetings
  • successful completion of a project undertaken at a placement school or Academy (up to nine days)
  • comprehensive write-up of a project undertaken in your own school
  • assessment, comprising three tasks.

If you have recently completed other relevant training, you may be entitled to an exemption from one or more of the NPQH modules.


You will study the programme over three school terms and you must complete the assessment within 18 months of the start of the programme.


The assessment comprises three tasks, which will be assessed by an independent organisation, EMLC, on behalf of the NCTL:

Task 1: Undertake a project in your home school on an actual school improvement opportunity.
Task 2: Undertake a project working in partnership with your placement school on an actual school improvement priority, working closely with placement school staff and the school’s leadership team.
Task 3: There are two elements in the test environment:

  • You will be given a case study that you will be assessed against that will cover leading school financial management and leading teacher appraisal. You will need to demonstrate your ability to manage these aspects of a school or Academy.
  • You will be expected to present to a panel and then answer questions on the content of your presentation as well as on your progress towards successful headship through NPQH.

You will be expected to draw upon your practical experience, research and school evidence to inform your leadership decision-making, based on learning from both the essential and elective modules.


Training will take place at one of our Academies or Alliance partner schools and will include keynote speeches from different headteachers and principals relating their headship experiences and challenges relevant to the module.

You will have opportunities to tour our different schools and Academies, speak to staff and engage with students.


The cost of this programme is £2,375.


Register Your Interest

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