National Professional Qualifications announcement

The Department of Education (DfE) will be introducing a reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) from September 2021.


The three existing NPQs have been refreshed, ensuring that they are underpinned by the latest evidence of what works:

The existing Middle Leadership NPQ has also been replaced with three new specialist NPQs to best address the broad range of responsibilities of current and aspiring middle leaders. These specialist areas cover:

The reformed suite of NPQs is designed to offer the best possible support to teachers and leaders wanting to expand their knowledge and develop their skills, helping them to become more effective teachers and leaders inside and outside the classroom.

The frameworks have been developed in consultation with an expert advisory group with specialists from across the education system, including members of the LGA National Schools Workforce Sounding Board and clearly sets out the content that participants should know and be able to do after completing an NPQ. Providers of NPQs will use these frameworks to design their courses.

In March, the DfE announced the lead providers for the reformed suite of NPQs. These providers have been chosen by a fair and open procurement process by the DfE. Lead providers will be responsible for delivering the reformed NPQs in partnership with delivery partners in high-quality organisations including local authorities and teaching school hubs.

Lead providers will play a key role in the reformed NPQs in partnership with delivery partners in high-quality organisations including local authorities, teaching school hubs and multi-academy trusts. The lead providers are:

  • Ambition Institute 
  • Best Practice Network (home of Outstanding Leaders Partnership) 
  • Church of England  
  • Education Development Trust  
  • Harris Federation 
  • Leadership Learning South East 
  • Teacher Development Trust  
  • Teach First  
  • UCL Institute of Education.

Scholarship funding to support participants to access the reformed suite of NPQs is planned from September 2021 and details will be confirmed in due course.

For more information about the upcoming NPQ reforms and qualifications which will be available for teachers and school leaders, please visit: National professional qualifications frameworks: from September 2021 - GOV.UK.

Quality assurance arrangements

Providers of the reformed suite of NPQs will be subject to a quality assurance QA) mechanism through Ofsted inspection to ensure the best support for schools and teachers. Ofsted’s QA role will be distinct from and not apply to the current suite of NPQs. The current QA agent (Tribal) will continue to provide QA for all NPQ programmes until contract closure in August 2022. 

Frequently asked questions

Does Ofsted’s inspection role of NPQ programme mean that my school is going to be inspected?

Ofsted will inspect the lead providers. To inform their assessment of the lead providers, Ofsted will visit a sample of delivery partners and will engage others involved in receiving and delivering their programmes including teachers, and mentors. Delivery partners, including schools, will not be judged individually as part of these inspections, or directly named in reports.

I am currently undertaking an NPQ, what does this mean for my qualification?

Anyone currently undertaking a NPQ under the existing contracts and frameworks will continue to benefit from the knowledge and skills gained from these courses. All current participants are required to complete these courses, including assessment and moderation, by August 2022.

Which teachers will be eligible to undertake a reformed National Professional Qualification (NPQ)?

Each of the NPQs will be targeted at different groups of teachers to provide a coherent framework for development at every stage of their career.

Any teacher who is currently, or aspiring to be, a senior leader (with cross-school responsibilities), a head teacher or head of school (with responsibility for leading a school), or an executive head teacher or school trust CEO (with responsibility for leading several schools) will be eligible to undertake the relevant leadership qualifications.

Additionally, the specialist qualifications will be available to any teacher who may have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for the following:

  • leading teaching in a subject, year group, key stage, or phase
  • leading behaviour and/or supporting pupil wellbeing in their school
  • leading the development of other teachers in their school and/or the development specifically of teachers who are early in their career.