Middle leaders hold a unique and critical position within the school. In all schools, middle leaders are close to teaching and learning and responsible for translating the school’s policies and strategies into practice. They are, in fact, critical to successful school improvement.

The National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) is a qualification aimed at those in their first years of middle leadership and those hoping to move into a middle leadership position. The programme tackles issues surrounding leading a team within an organisation. On completion of our NPQML, you will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to drive your team forward.

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Programme NPQML
Duration Four days or 8 twilights delivered over 10-12 months
Entry requirements Aspiring and serving middle leaders with the support of their school to apply
How to apply Delivered nationally in partnership with Star Development Partners
Contact Contact us or email a Star Development Partner


The DfE have not yet confirmed funding availability, therefore DfE funding for upcoming cohorts is not available at this time.

Our courses start throughout the year. To apply, find a Star Development Partner near you and then click on the Apply Now button.


Click here to see our Star Development Partners and locations.


We know that having the opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners and share your experiences with peers is an important part of your learning.  That’s why we offer four really focussed face-to-fact leadership learning days.  Alongside this sit online units which you will work through in your own time to supplement the learning from you face-to-face days, prepare you for final assessment and give you a chance to look at research and theory. Types of study include:

  • Face to face sessions
  • Workplace learning
  • Coaching and mentor support from sponsor
  • Online collaborative learning
  • Reading and reflective learning
  • Online, self-directed learning

The NPQML programme is based on the six areas in the DfE’s NPQML Content and Assessment Framework  setting 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.

NPQML is for those who are, or are aspiring to become, a middle leader with responsibility for leading a team such as a key stage leader, a curriculum area leader, a pastoral services leader, a subject leader, a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO), or a head of department/faculty. This includes those who are, or are aspiring to be, a middle leader with cross-school responsibilities e.g. a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE).

The final assessment for NPQML involves completing a school improvement project over at least two terms titled: Working with my team to a) improve pupil progress and attainment and b) team capability. You will submit a 4,500 word write up of your project once you have completed your face to face training. This will be assessed against the DfE assessment criteria.

Star Institute’s NPQML 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 NPQML, 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 40 credits accredited prior learning from the NPQML 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:  NPQML (40 credits) four 20 credit modules and one dissertation  = 180 credits

Each taught module is delivered over two Saturdays completing one module per term. The length of the programme is two years with NPQML.

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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For programme information relating to the 18/19 programmes, please click here.

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

“With the demands of teaching and the fast pace of school life, you are rarely afforded the opportunity to stop and think about leadership as an art, but the NPQML is a fantastic way of getting to grips with the many facets and faces of successful leadership. The course helped to enhance my knowledge of what makes a good leader and a strong team, and also provided an insight into how to deal with the variety of challenges you encounter along the way.”
NPQML, Natalie Beveridge, TIBHS, Blackburn

“The NPQML has enabled me to appreciate the many roles and responsibilities that a leader has, as well as highlighting the importance of motivating others by maintaining high expectations for both colleagues and pupils. Having the opportunity to work with staff to help develop their practice is something that is immensely rewarding – even more so when I see the positive effects that this has on the children at our school.”

NPQML, Parveen Yusuf, The Olive School, Blackburn

“The quality of the delivery was excellent, as was the calibre of resources. The sessions were always informative and interesting. I enjoyed them immensely and found the insights of former Headteachers to be extremely valuable.”

NPQML, Richard Foster, Eden Boys’ School, Bolton