Our NPQSL: Delivered in partnership with Ambition Institute


Programme structure and components:

  • Nine face-to-face (online during the pandemic) sessions from December 2020 to September 2021
  • School improvement project
  • Support from an in-school sponsor and a coach/mentor
  • Support from a lead facilitator
  • Networking with other participants
  • An assignment, in the form of a project write-up, submitted in November 2021

Between Session 1 and Session 2, participants will have the opportunity to complete an Ambition ‘360’ Review. Participants provide a self-evaluation against key leadership competencies as well as nominating others to provide feedback against the same competencies. A comprehensive report is then created which identifies key areas of strength and potential development.

Programme duration:

  • 12 months

Course leader:

  • Alex Clark, Director of Education in The Good Shepherd Trust (CPD lead) and Head Teacher at Ashley C of E Primary School.

Type and hours of study:

  • 27 hours of face-to-face/online sessions with pre and post-session reading
  • The candidate must lead an improvement project in their team, lasting at least two terms, to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment (part A) and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching (part B)
  • Write up the project (5,000 words)

Eligibility and application process and timelines:

Middle leaders who are aspiring to senior leadership and meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Likely to be in a senior leadership role in the next 12-18 months;
  • Have completed at least one year at a middle leadership level;
  • May have served on an extended SLT;
  • Have the ability – through their role or through additional responsibilities – to undertake such work as would enable them to meet the requirements of the assessment task.

Those currently in senior leadership roles who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Responsible for the results of a team, and line manage at least one middle leader;
  • Serve on the senior leadership team and attend SLT meetings;
  • In secondary schools, senior leaders are those in roles such as assistant head teacher or assistant/vice-principals;
  • In large secondary schools, heads of large departments and faculties who have responsibilities commensurate with that of senior leaders may be eligible;
  • In primary schools, senior leaders in roles such as assistant/associate head teacher or assistant/vice-principals as well as substantive whole school responsibilities.
  • Have the ability – through their role or through additional responsibilities – to undertake such work as would enable them to meet the requirements of the assessment task.

Applications open 2nd November 2020

Applications close 29th November 2020

Please apply online using this link.

You will be asked some basic information and contact details. We will ask you about your current role and how long you have been in that role. We will ask you to confirm that the cost of the programme has been approved (or that you are self-funding) and that you understand and agree to the commitment of the programme as outlined above.

You are asked to name your ‘sponsor’ – this is the person in your school who is in a position (in terms of your work/professional relationship) to provide comments about you relating to the competencies. In order to do so we recommend that the Sponsor is:

  • The regular point of contact and support for you throughout your completion of the NPQSL;
  • Senior in position to you.

We recommend that the Sponsor and Participant meet regularly throughout the design, implementation and evaluation stages of their project to discuss approach, progress, successes and challenges. This will help ensure that the Sponsor can gather evidence relating to the key competencies. We also recommend that the Participant and Sponsor identify other key interaction points e.g. meetings which the Participant is leading as part of their project, which will further support the Sponsor to gather the required evidence.

Participants should also be supported a coach or mentor. This person can also act as their Sponsor. This is the ensure that, as they complete their NPQSL, they have access to a range of leadership and instructional support.

Before you apply, please write a Statement of Application (you will be asked to paste this into the final section of the online form) – this should be around 400-500 words, explaining:

  • Why you feel this is the right leadership course for you; 
  • Why you feel this is the right time to apply; 
  • How your current role has prepared you to consider this course; 
  • How your current teaching and/or leadership experiences have helped you to develop as a leader; 
  • What your leadership strengths are and in which areas you would like to develop further; 
  • What you hope to gain from the course.

To complete your application your head teacher or Sponsor should email the course leader, Alex Clark ( to confirm that they support your application. They should explain:

  • Why they think this is the right course for you.
  • The leadership experiences you have had so far. 
  • Your strengths as an applicant.
  • Which areas they think this course will help you to develop further

Interviews will be held for those candidates whose eligibility we are unsure of, to gain further information.

We will contact you by mid-December to confirm your place on the course.

Cost of programme including assessment:

Participants from The Good Shepherd Trust £510

External participants £810

Cohort size:

20 participants

Dates, times and locations of training sessions:

It is anticipated that all sessions will be online. If the cohort is able to have a face-to-face session later in the programme, this will be at Academies Office, Larch Avenue, Guildford.

Session 1: Thursday 14th January 2021           15.00 – 18.00

Session 2: Thursday 4th March 2021               15.00 – 18.00

Session 3: Thursday 25th March 2021             15:00 - 18:00

Session 4: Thursday 29th April 2021                15:00-18:00

Session 5: Thursday 27th May 2021                 15.00 – 18.00

Session 6: Thursday 24th June 2021               15.00 – 18.00

Session 7: Thursday 15th July 2021                  15.00 – 18.00

Session 8: Thursday 23rd September 2021   15.00 – 18.00

Session 9: Thursday 21st October 2021          15.00 – 18.00


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