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Navigating NPQ Funding Cuts: Discover Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs

Recent cuts to NPQ funding, as reported by Schools Week, mean 14,000 schools previously eligible for scholarships now face costs of up to £4,000 per NPQ. With half of the schools in England now ineligible for this crucial funding, the challenge of maintaining high standards of leadership development has become even more pressing.

Recent cuts to NPQ funding, as reported by Schools Week, mean 14,000 schools previously eligible for scholarships now face costs of up to £4,000 per NPQ. With half of the schools in England now ineligible for this crucial funding, the challenge of maintaining high standards of leadership development has become even more pressing.

8 Jul 2024, 9:00

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The Power of Blended Learning: Apprenticeships and NPQs

In early 2020, an innovative and highly-rated NPQ apprenticeship pathway emerged as a solution, offering “truly outstanding support” that goes “beyond the regular NPQ curriculum.” This pathway is rapidly gaining traction among school leaders who are looking for comprehensive and cost-effective alternatives to traditional NPQs.

Over the past four years, the Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs have combined the full NPQ with the wraparound support of an apprenticeship, addressing the evolving needs of school leadership. These programmes blend theoretical knowledge with practical experience, setting them apart from traditional NPQs. Crucially, they are funded by the apprenticeship levy, making them a financially viable option for schools facing budget constraints.

Voices of Success: Testimonials from the Frontline

“Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs allow participants to engage with the learning of the traditional NPQs alongside structures that support practical application of the learning” said James Searle of Chiltern Learning Trust. “The apprenticeship element works to support implementation of the learning from the NPQ.”

Others have also voiced their enthusiasm for the programmes. “Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs have long been the smart option for those schools not eligible for NPQ funding” says Jen Murphy of Rainbow Teaching School Hub. “This route provides an attractive alternative to enable Headteachers to develop leaders in their schools without having to use valuable school budgets. Working alongside the apprenticeship team also adds a further dimension, providing welcome on-going support to staff on their NPQ journey.“

The traditional standalone NPQs—such as NPQSL (National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership), NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship), and NPQEL (National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership)—have long been valued for their role in developing school leaders.

These qualifications provide a solid foundation in leadership theory and practice, covering essential areas such as strategic management, educational theory, and operational leadership.

One programme, two qualifications

In contrast, the Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs not only cover the full NPQ curriculum but also provide additional apprenticeship support, making it a more comprehensive and cost-effective solution for schools.

These programmes go beyond the regular standalone NPQ curriculum by incorporating hands-on experience, mentorship, and personalised coaching. Furthermore, the Leader Apprenticeships include cross-sector leadership training, exposing participants to leadership practices from different sectors, whereas standalone NPQs focus specifically on a school-based curriculum. This broader perspective equips school leaders with a diverse set of skills and insights, enhancing their ability to innovate and adapt to various challenges.

The apprenticeship model ensures that learning is immediately applicable, with participants able to implement strategies and techniques in real-time, receiving feedback and support from experienced mentors. This holistic approach not only enhances the learning experience but also ensures that participants are well-prepared to take on leadership roles and drive school improvement.

Budget-Friendly Leadership: Leveraging the Apprenticeship Levy

While the funding cuts are a setback, the emergence of the Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs offers a promising alternative for schools seeking to develop their leadership teams without incurring prohibitive costs.

The blend of theoretical and practical learning ensures that participants are well-prepared to take on leadership roles and drive school improvement. Schools can utilise widely-available Apprenticeship Levy funds to cover the costs, making this an economically viable option in the face of funding challenges.

Visit https://www.bestpracticenet.co.uk/leader-apprenticeship-NPQ for detailed information on eligibility and the application process. Limited places are still available for Leaders Apprenticeships incorporating the NPQSL, NPQH and NPQEL.

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One comment

  1. Helen Miller

    Whilst it is good to see a range of options for school leadership development, I don’t think that this article is clear about the workload implications. It’s important to highlight that this qualification is not presenting a simple work-around which allows schools to continue to access free NPQs. By combining an NPQ with the Apprenticeship Levy, there is a significantly increased workload.

    One of the core principles of the NPQ suite is that it should be manageable alongside a teachers current role, and so accessible to all. I completed my own NPQ alongside my teaching job and whilst juggling a young family.

    I suggest that anyone interested in taking this route offered by Best Practice Network fully explores the time implications, to ensure it is something that they can take on – and successfully complete.