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Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

National Professional Qualifications Announcement ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

National Professional Qualifications Announcement 

Today (Tuesday 12 October 2021) the Department for Education has announced updated funding eligibility criteria for the reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) and published new frameworks for upcoming qualifications in Leading Literacy (NPQLL) and Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL)

From autumn 2021 the Department of Education will be introducing a new and updated suite of NPQs to offer the best possible support to teachers and leaders to help them become more effective teachers and leaders inside and outside the classroom. 

The three existing NPQs in Senior LeadershipHeadship and Executive Leadership have been refreshed, ensuring that they are underpinned by the latest evidence of what works. The existing Middle Leadership NPQ has also been replaced with three new specialist NPQs to best address the broad range of responsibilities of current and aspiring middle leaders. These specialist areas cover: 

The frameworks have been developed in consultation with an expert advisory group with specialists from across the education system and clearly sets out the content that participants should know and be able to do after completing an NPQ. Providers of NPQs will use these frameworks to design their courses. 


As part of the government’s long-term education recovery plan, £184 million of new funding for NPQs was announced on 2 June 2021 to be spent over the course of this parliament. 

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools, and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places, in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from Autumn 2021, to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19. 

Access to funding remains conditional on successful validation of participants’ registration information against Teaching Regulation Agency records, so you must ensure that the information supplied to your NPQ provider matches your teacher record. You can check and update your record via the Teaching Regulation Agency’ Teacher Self-Service Portal

If you are not eligible for scholarship funding, you can still undertake an NPQ and should contact your local teaching school hub, lead provider or other delivery partners directly. 

Expansion of the reformed suite: NPQs available from autumn 2022 

To ensure national professional qualifications continue to offer the best possible support to teachers and leaders wanting to expand their knowledge and skills, we are introducing two additional NPQs which will be available from autumn 2022. 

The 2022 NPQs comprise the: 

National Professional Qualification for Leading Literacy (NPQLL) – for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading literacy across a school, year group, key stage or phase. 

National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership (NPQEYL) – for leaders qualified to at least Level 3 with a full and relevant qualification who are, or are aspiring to be, managers of Private, Voluntary and Independent nurseries, headteachers of school-based or maintained nurseries, or childminders with leadership responsibilities. 

As for the 2021 suite of NPQs, each of these NPQs is underpinned by a new content framework, setting out what participants should know and be able to do after completing an NPQ. 

You can access the content frameworks for the 2022 NPQs at National professional qualification frameworks: from autumn 2021

Further details in relation to the procurement and funding for these qualifications will be announced in due course. 

Additional support offer for the NPQ in Headship 

Alongside the reformed suite of NPQs, the department is introducing an additional support offer for new headteachers from autumn 2021. This is a targeted support package for teachers new to the role of headship. The additional support offer is available to those who meet the following criteria: 

  • have completed an NPQH 

  • are studying for an NPQH 

  • are about to start an NPQH

Full scholarship funding for the additional support offer, meaning no cost to the participant, is available for those who meet the following criteria: 

  • work in a state-funded school or state funded organisation that offer 16-19 places in England upon starting the training 

  • are in their first 24 months of headship 

  • have not withdrawn from the additional support programme previously 

The additional support offer provides structured, un-assessed face-to-face support based on the best available evidence about what makes an effective headteacher. The way in which the additional support offer is delivered may vary between providers, but could include a combination of group coaching, one-to-one support discussions and peer network support. You can contact your local teaching school hub, lead provider or other delivery partner to find out more. 

Next steps for potential applicants  

If you are interested in undertaking an NPQ programme, your first step will be to sign up with us.

The easiest way to do this is to click hereOnce you have selected your course and provider, you will need to register for your programme using the DfE’s Online service

Frequently Asked Questions (DfE responses)

Which NPQs are fully funded? 

Each qualification in the updated suite will be fully funded if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria outlined below. 

Who is eligible for funding?  

Teachers and leaders employed in state funded schools and state funded organisations that offer 16-19 places in England will be able to access a fully funded NPQ from Autumn 2021, to support teachers and pupils following the disruption to learning faced as a result of COVID-19. 

Applicants who are not eligible for scholarship funding, will still be able to undertake an NPQ and should contact their local teaching school hub, lead provider or other delivery partners directly.

I have already registered to self-fund for an NPQ starting in November and am now eligible for funding, what happens?

For participants who have already registered for an NPQ on the DfE system, and are currently self-funding, there will be an automatic check against the new funding criteria.  Where participants become eligible under the new criteria, funding status will be updated automatically and an email will be sent to inform participants they are now eligible for DfE NPQ scholarship funding. The relevant provider will be informed of this change, and those participants do not need to take any further action. These communications will be sent throughout the day on Tuesday 12 October. 

Why did the DfE develop a Leading Literacy NPQ?

The NPQLL has been developed to aid the teaching of literacy in primary and secondary schools and support the catch-up of children whose literacy development has been impacted by the pandemic.

The qualification will explore the development of literacy skills including oral language, word reading, reading comprehension, spelling, and writing composition through effective teaching and monitoring. The role of strong literacy leadership and high-quality training in primary and secondary settings, as well as managing transition between key stages and into secondary school will also be examined. 

Why did the DfE develop an Early Years Leadership NPQ? 

The NPQEYL has been developed to underpin and increase early years-specific pedagogical leadership in early years settings, strengthen staff pedagogy, and support children whose development has been impacted by the pandemic. 

The qualification will investigate early education and child development, with a focus on communication, language, and physical development as well as personal, social and emotional growth, in line with the EYSF reforms. The setting of strategic direction and organisational culture, as well as pedagogical leadership, including evidence-based learning will also be explored.  

Who are the NPQs for?

The specialist and leadership NPQs provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice, such as behaviour management, to those leading multiple schools across trusts.

They are part of a wider set of teacher development reforms which together will create a ‘golden thread’ of high-quality evidence underpinning the support, training and development available through the entirety of a teacher’s career. 

NPQs have been designed with teachers and leaders in mind using the latest evidence and can be completed flexibly around existing commitments.