Concerns have been raised about the uptake and completion of school “middle leader” qualifications.

NAHT Edge – the middle leaders’ union and part of the National Association of Head Teachers – said the latest figures from the National College of Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) were worryingly low.

They show that 7,642 teachers have enrolled for National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML), and 1,200 have completed it and got through to the qualification stage.

However, NAHT Edge said there were about 200,000 middle leaders in school – suggesting that less than 4 per cent are taking qualifications related to the role.

The Department for Education (DfE) said the number of people taking the qualifications was “in line” with its expectations. It also said schools should support teachers on the courses.

The cost, on average, is about £1,050. The course is open to key stage leaders, curriculum area leaders, pastoral services leaders, subject leaders or a head of department and lasts 12 months, although participants can take up to 18 months to complete it.

Teachers are expected to take three modules – each requiring 50 hours of work – plus a further 20 hours of practical learning, online learning and face-to-face peer learning.

NAHT Edge chief executive Louis Coiffait said: “We know from our own research that the majority of middle leaders haven’t completed one of NCTL’s accredited qualifications.

“Although they see value in these qualifications, they are concerned about the time and cost involved.

“We’ve seen various figures from NCTL about the number of people completing the three different leadership qualifications and are concerned that these figures aren’t higher, especially among the larger potential group of middle leaders.

“These qualifications are a valuable tool for helping a new generation of school leaders to learn beyond their own schools and we look forward to being involved in updating them and spreading them to more people.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “We currently have 7,642 participants who are undertaking or have completed the NPQML, which is in line with the NCTL’s expectations.

“It is vital that schools make sure they help their staff take advantage of the training available to them – not only for their sake, but to ensure they are able to make sure every child they teach is prepared for life in modern Britain.”


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