Leadership & Management

National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)

Develop the skills, knowledge and confidence that you need to lead a high-performing team in a school and to improve classroom practice.

Who can apply

  • You should be a middle leader in a school with the responsibility of leading a team, for example:
  • a key stage leader
  • a curriculum area leader
  • a pastoral services leader
  • a subject leader
  • a head of department


Apply with one of the schools or organisations licensed to offer this qualification that matches your needs. Visit their website to find out how the qualification is structured and when it starts. You can contact your preferred licensee to discuss your requirements in more detail.


What’s involved

The normal duration of study is 12 months. Depending on your experience and other commitments, you could complete in 6 months or it may take a maximum of 18 months.

You’ll need to complete 2 essential modules, 1 further module of your choice and a final assessment.

Each module requires up to 50 hours of learning, including:

around 20 hours of practical learning in your school

face-to-face peer and facilitated learning

reading and reflection

online learning


Essential modules

You must complete both of the following modules.


Leading teaching

Learn how to develop, improve and sustain high-quality teaching within a team and identify strategies to help close gaps in attainment. As part of this module, you’ll learn:

  • the principles, models and practice of effective teaching and learning
  • how to identify outstanding teaching and learning
  • leadership strategies to influence and improve the quality of teaching
  • leadership and management strategies for achieving high standards of pupil behaviour
  • how to analyse and use performance data
  • how to achieve and maintain high-quality subject specialisms within the team


Managing systems and processes

Learn how to implement whole-school policies with your team in a systematic and consistent way. As part of this module, you’ll learn about:

  • the principles, theories and models of leadership
  • effective management structures, systems and processes
  • managing resources, including financial management
  • how to manage teacher appraisals and staff performance
  • behaviour management and pupil attendance
  • health and safety legislation, including child protection


Further study modules

You need to complete 1 of the following modules as well.

  • Effective leadership of special educational needs provision
  • Leading and developing staff
  • Leading an effective team
  • Leading change for improvement
  • Succeeding in middle leadership

Find out more about what you’ll cover in these study modules.


Final assessment

The final assessment is a task drawn from work on a school improvement priority where you lead at team level for an extended period. You’ll need to show that you can:

  • make successful and sustainable improvement in your school
  • use the experience to reflect upon and improve your own leadership skills

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