The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) remains the first choice qualification for anyone aspiring to be a Headteacher or Principal. If you have ambitions to run your own school, then completing your NPQH with Star Institute will make sure you’re heading in the right direction.

Our programme is an intensive and challenging experience based around excellence, critical reflection and quality school-based practice. We will ensure you become a highly skilled, well-developed leader who is ready to make the transition to headship and hit the ground running.

Our innovative curriculum and practical placements will equip you with the confidence, skills, professional knowledge and experience needed to stand out and make your mark.

We’re thrilled to announce that we have formed a partnership with New Schools Network to offer an NPQH that is tailored to the specific priorities, challenges and opportunities of leading free schools.  Find out more here.

The Department for Education has allocated a £10 million fund for scholarships for eligible candidates undertaking National Professional Qualifications in school leadership. Scholarships are for candidates in category 5 and 6 local authority districts, including Opportunity Areas like Blackpool, Oldham and Bradford, and other districts such as Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Knowsley, Salford, Pendle and Burnley. To find out if you’re eligible for a funded place, get in touch or check your school on the get information about schools website. The scholarships are available on a first come first served basis until the fund is exhausted.


Programme NPQH
Duration Eight days delivered over 10-12 months
Entry requirements Senior Leaders who are, or are aspiring to become, a headteacher or head of school with responsibility for leading a school.
How to apply Delivered in the North West, West Yorkshire and West Midlands
Contact Contact us


We are currently recruiting for the following cohorts:

  • West Yorkshire – 11 September 2019
  • North West  – 11 September 2019
  • South – 11 September 2019

To receive an application pack, please call 0330 313 9870 or email

Our Offer

  • High levels of personalisation and progression – an individual leadership plan allowing you to work systematically towards the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers
  • Immersion in good or outstanding schools – opportunity to undertake leadership placements in some of the best schools in the country
  • World class people – support from expert and leading practitioners, including NLEs, LLEs and former Ofsted Inspectors
  • High quality leadership learning – 8 face-to-face executive training days, rooted in the latest research and cutting edge professional practice
  • Coaching for leadership – coaching to support the development of highly effective leadership behaviours

  • Thought leadership – a free place at the Star Festival of Education; our annual school conference that brings together the very best of education’s thought leaders, practitioners of change and policy makers

  • Career pathway planning – dedicated time to prepare for Final Assessment, free headteacher application appraisal and membership of the Star Alumni


Programme structure

The NPQH forms a 12 month programme of study which includes eight full day face to face workshops across the year, including dedicated support to prepare for the Final Assessment tasks.

All modules are led by experienced Headteachers. Face-to-face events are supplemented by workplace learning, reading, reflections and online learning.

We also provide expert coaching from serving practitioners. During this coaching, you will not only receive support and challenge from a credible leader, you will also learn vital coaching skills to utilise once you take up your first headship.

Each module includes 30 hours of learning:

Type of study NPQH (number of hours)
Face to face sessions 6
Workplace learning 18
Online learning/conferences 4
Reflective activity 2
The six NPQH study modules, based on the DfE’s NPQH Content and Assessment Framework,  set out what a leader should know and be able to do.  Modules focus on improving leadership practice and support the development of the critical leadership behaviours of commitment, collaboration, personal drive, resilience, awareness, integrity and respect; behaviours which exemplify how the best leaders operate.

Our programme is designed by combining our experience of securing outstanding school leadership with cutting edge research and leadership theory. The programme is practical and provides highly applicable learning experiences to ensure you become the best leader you can be.

NPQH is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a Headteacher or Head of School with responsibility for leading a school.  This includes those who are, or are aspiring to be, a Headteacher or head of school with cross-school responsibilities such as a National Leader of Education (NLE).

The final assessment for NPQH involves completing two tasks:

  • A whole-school change programme in your own school over at least two term
  • A placement lasting at least nine days in a contrasting school with the focus of designing an action plan to meet the placement school’s resourcing and capability needs

You will submit a 4,000 word write up of task 1 and 2,500 for task 2 once you have completed your face to face training. These will be assessed against the DfE assessment criteria.

Star Institute’s NPQH programme is designed around the six areas in the DfE’s Content and Assessment Framework. As such, each session you attend on the programme directly supports you to prepare for and successfully complete your final assessment.

Throughout the programme you will be encouraged to consider the final assessment and regularly reflect on what you have learnt, how you have planned and implemented your improvement project, ensuring you are well prepared for completing the write up for the final assessment.

Star Institute are also the assessment body for your NPQH, we have designed the process to be easily understandable and to support you to be successful in the qualification.

We are pleased to confirm you can gain masters credits through your Star NPQ programme with the University of Chester and work towards an MA in Educational Leadership.

You can achieve 100 credits accredited prior learning from the NPQH and the balance of the 180 credits required for an MA are made up from 20 credit modules plus the 60 credit dissertation.  For example: NPQH (100 credits) one 20 credit module and one dissertation = 180 credits

Each taught module is delivered over two Saturdays completing one module per term. The length of the programme is 12-18months with NPQH.

The philosophy of the course with University of Chester is learning links to professional practice, theories of leadership and work-based enquiry for improvement. Most importantly, it acknowledges work undertaken in the workplace.

Costs For 2018/19
£555 per 20 credit module
£220 per 20 credits of APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning) including support and assessment

Click here for further information.

Star Institute is committed to the professional and personal development of the school workforce and to making a significant contribution to a self-improving school system.  At Star, we want to play our part in developing the next generation of teachers, managers and leaders in our own schools and throughout the school system.

The Institute is approved to deliver the DfE National Professional Leadership Qualifications and is an accredited provider of Initial Teacher Training. Star Institute also plays an active role in leading and co-ordinating school-to-school support and promoting partnership working.

The Institute has a national focus and operates through its associate campuses and National Teaching Schools in towns and cities across the North, Midlands and South.

Star Institute is led by experienced school leaders who have exemplary records in driving successful school improvement and improving outcomes for their students.  Our highly practical training and support programmes are available to all schools and academies, to other Multi-Academy Trusts and to Local Authorities.

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Region Location Closing Date
West Yorkshire Bradford 11 September 2019
North West Greater Manchester 11 September 2019
South London 11 September 2019


Star Institute is a Department for Education accredited provider of the NPQML, NPQSL, NPQH and NPQEL.

“The whole course provided by Star Institute really focusses your mind and offers you clear insight and direction into becoming a headteacher – so much so, that after only 8 months on the course I was encouraged to go for a Headship post by my coach. I secured an interview, and used a lot of ideas and guidance from the Star Institute modules throughout my 2-day interview and presentation process. I’m pleased to say that I have now accepted my first headteacher post, from my very first application and interview! I know I would not have even got past the application stage or even applied for the post, had it not been for my coach, placement school head teacher and all the fantastic advice, guidance and clarity of thought, provided by the Star programme for the NPQH: a true testament to the quality of training I have received in a short space of time.”
Stuart McCartney, Newton Primary School, Chester
“The organisation and delivery of the NPQH has been excellent. The facilitators have been very informative and willing to share real life experience from their own headships. The course materials have also been excellent and useful tools to support planning and preparation.”
Mohammad Sajjid Sarwar, Marlborough Junior School, Birmingham
“The course facilitators were very adept at placing the theory being delivered into practical, real-life situations. They effectively used their own school leadership experiences to ensure we understood that what we were learning could benefit us within our school.”
Robert Downey, The Grange Secondary School, Runcorn