Two organisations named to deliver government’s new ‘school leader’ qualifications

The government is to launch revamped leadership qualifications for school leaders in September using two organisations incorporating over 100 teaching school alliances and multi-academy trusts.

The Department for Education has earmarked £10 million to support the reformed National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) in schools.

Two separate organisations – Ambition School Leadership and Outstanding Leaders Partnership – have both created alliances accredited to start delivering the full NPQ set.

The national professional qualifications include courses covering headship, middle leadership and senior leadership, as well as a new executive leadership qualification.

Each organisation has over 50 teaching school alliances and academy chains on board, and will start delivering the qualifications from the next academic year.

Schools Week understands around 40 organisations will be accredited to deliver NPQs in future, though details have yet to be published.

Justine Greening announced the new “gold standard” NPQs in February and said they’d have a strong emphasis on using evidence.

“NPQs should have the same kudos as MBAs do in business,” she said. “I want them to be recognised outside of the teaching profession to show individuals that hold them have high quality leadership skills.”

Ambition’s alliance has around 750 schools involved across the country, and will work with the country’s largest academy trusts to develop leaders in the areas “that most need them” – including in the DfE’s “opportunity areas”.

James Toop, the organisation’s chief executive, said his alliance will help create a “self-sustaining system” where schools are “empowered to develop their leaders at all levels”.

Meanwhile Outstanding Leaders Partnership’s consortium will deliver the new-look NPQs in over 1,000 schools from Manchester to Exeter.

Another training provider, Best Practice Network, is heading up the design and development of the refreshed programmes for outstanding leaders.

Phil Haslett, its programme director, said the qualifications had been adapted to “reflect the changing realities and demands” of school leadership, such as “tighter budgets, changes in assessment policy, and the recruitment and retention of teachers”.

He added that the new NPQs would address those challenges as the programmes include modules on managing resources and risks, supporting leaders to “better understand” the financial and staffing implications of budgets, and strategies for “identifying, developing and retaining talent”.

Tarun Kapur, chief executive of the Dean Trust, a partner of the alliance, said the programme would help schools develop a “pipeline of skilled leaders” during a challenging time.

“If we are to make sure enough people become heads and senior leaders, and they have sustainable, enjoyable careers, then it is vital that as many as possible get access to the very highest quality training and support, delivered at a scale that makes it good value for schools,” he added.

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