National Professional Qualifications


What is an NPQ?

Accredited by the Department for Education (DfE), National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are a nationally recognised suite of qualifications for teachers and school leaders at all levels; from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across a trust or other group of schools.

NPQ Funding: There is limited scholarship funding available for NPQs in Autumn 24. Please read about the changes to scholarship funding 

Why should I do an NPQ?

In undertaking an NPQ you will:

  • Gain a nationally recognised qualification
  • Learn from a rich curriculum based on evidence-based practice
  • Complete your learning in a flexible way- both virtually and in regional face to face groups

In addition, the revised suite of NPQs has been refreshed to reduce the workload burden on teachers and school leaders, while still enabling you to develop and apply your knowledge, skills and understanding both to your current school, and to other contexts.

Why complete your NPQ with Aquila and Aquinas? 

We are proud to be a delivery partner for the Church of England Education Office who are working with the Catholic Education Service.

Completing your NPQ with the Church of England (in partnership with the Catholic Education Service) will give you the added benefits of:

  • Small group expert coaching for every leader on every programme, in partnership with Chartered College of Teaching and Leadership Matters
  • Learning alongside peers with shared commitment to vision-driven education (including focus on rural and small schools)
  • Expert facilitators from high-performing MATs/schools, Teaching School Hubs supported by leading academics bringing the research base alive
  • Support for your wellbeing and personal growth through our extensive Peer Support Networks, and Diocesan Education teams

The Church of England’s mission is to develop school leaders to be called to a life-giving vocation, connected to a thriving learning community, and committed to evidence-informed excellence in education.

How to apply for the 2024/2025 cohorts?  

You will need to apply via the Church of England Education Office:

There are 3 steps to this process:

  • Step 1 - Register with the DFE (you will need your teacher reference number and your schools unique reference number to hand)
  • Step 2 - Complete your Application Form
  • Step 3 - Sponsor Endorsement

Teacher Reference Number (TRN) Guidance

Overview of NPQs available:


NPQ Senco

What is the NPQ for SENCO?

The new NPQ for SENCO is a brand-new NPQ which will launch in November 2024. From September 2024, this new NPQ is the statutory required qualification for school, nursery and college SENCOs.

It’s an 18 month course delivered using a blend of online and face to face training sessions, small group coaching and self-study materials. We hold face to face sessions across England and deliver the NPQ for SENCO with local delivery partners across the country including teaching school hubs, diocese, multi-academy trust and other specialist organisations.

What will I learn on the course?

This 18-month course will enable you to:

  • co-ordinate special educational needs (SEN) provision throughout your school
  • work alongside other leaders to build a school culture in which pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can participate meaningfully in the full life of the school, achieve ambitious outcomes and make successful transitions to their next steps

During the course you’ll cover 8 units, which are:

  • school culture
  • statutory framework
  • identification of need
  • teaching
  • behaviour
  • leading and managing provision
  • professional development
  • implementation

What qualifications do I need to work as a SENCO in England?

All mainstream schools (including academies and free schools) must have a SENCO.

The SENCO must be a qualified teacher, or the headteacher, working at the school.

This NPQ will be the mandatory qualification for SENCOs from September 2024, with teaching beginning in November 2024.

This means that anyone who is working as SENCO must have completed the NPQ for SENCOs within the first 3 years of being in post.

SENCOs meet their statutory requirement on receiving the outcome of their NPQ (so this means that you must have begun the award within the first 12 months of starting a new role as a SENCO, so that there is time for you to complete the course and receive your award within the 3 years allocated).

If you’ve previously completed the NASENCO award you do not need to also complete the NPQ for SENCO.

Who is this course for?

The course is for those who are a SENCO or who aspire to be a SENCO, in a mainstream school or academy, independent school, special school, alternative provision setting or 16-19 organisation.

It is also suitable for:

  • Non-teaching staff who support the SENCO, either formally as a deputy SENCO or leading a particular area of SEND provision within the school
  • Line managers of SENCOs or other senior leaders with responsibility for curriculum, behaviour, pastoral needs or managing provision
  • Those who work outside of a school setting but work closely with SENCOs, e.g. in a local authority.
  • You don’t have to have secured a SENCO post to undertake this course and some applicants may not have QTS.

Will my school have to pay for the course?

The DFE has allocated a limited number of fully funded places to this NPQ, which will allocated on a first come first served basis. There are funded places available for this NPQ for any school in England, including (it doesn’t matter if your school is on the PP50 list or not for this one).

When all of our funded places have been allocated we will need to charge schools for the NPQ for SENCOs. The cost of the course will be £1333 which will be payable in three instalments across the course.

We will confirm with participants whether your place is fully funded or not in July 2024, when DFE announce how many places will be funded.

If it is important to your school that your place is fully funded, we’d encourage you to apply as soon as possible so that you have the best chance

  1. How do I apply for the NPQ for SENCO?
  2. Apply via our website here.
  3. Once you have applied, we will allocate you a place with the nearest local delivery partner.
  4. In July, the DFE will open their NPQ registration form and we will be in touch to ask you to urgently complete this.
  5. We will be in touch to confirm your funding or let you know your school will need to pay.

Unfortunately, until the DFE confirm the number of funded places in July, we are unable to confirm your funding. This is because we just don’t know how many funded places we will be able to offer on each course until we receive this DFE confirmation.

We do know, however, that funding will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so participants who are able to apply sooner have the best opportunity to secure a fully funded place.

NPQ - Senior Leadership

NPQSL Flyer 1

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NPQ - Leading Behaviour & Culture


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NPQ - Leading Teaching


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NPQ - Leading Teacher Development


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NPQ - Leading Primary Maths

NPQ Maths

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NPQ - Executive Leadership

What is the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL)?


This 18-month course will help you gain confidence and develop skills in:

  • running a multi-school organisation
  • developing processes and systems that enable and encourage collaboration between staff within and across schools
  • managing resources effectively and establishing sustainable policies

This course will:

  • take 18 months to complete
  • involve an average of 1 to 2 hours of study each week
  • be a mix of self-study and group sessions
  • involve a written assessment
  • start in autumn 2024

Who this course is for

This course is for school leaders who are, or want to be:

  • an executive headteacher
  • in a school trust chief executive role with responsibility for leading several schools

Course content

This course covers developing and supporting:

  • a trust culture
  • effective teaching
  • curriculum and assessment development
  • good behaviour
  • additional and special educational needs
  • professional development
  • organisational management

You’ll also learn about:

  • implementation strategies
  • working in partnership with parents and carers
  • governance and accountability

Benefits for you and your school

Improved executive leadership

Start with an ambitious vision for your schools or trust and create the conditions and culture needed for staff and pupils to thrive.

Tailored expert advice and coaching

One-to-one coaching sessions give you expert advice and feedback on your performance.

Undisruptive to existing workload

This flexible learning programme is designed to be completed alongside your daily role. It is delivered in short, bite-sized chunks to fit around your existing commitments.

Focused on your specific needs

Instead of focusing on personal traits, such as the qualities of dynamic and charismatic leadership, this course pays more attention to tackling the persistent problems of your daily role.

Course structure

The course covers 10 topics, outlined in the course framework. Providers use this framework to design their course.

The course includes:

  • independent study
  • group coaching
  • face-to-face sessions with other participants

You’ll need to spend 1 to 2 hours a week working on this NPQ.

NPQ - Headship

NPQH Flyer

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