Developing our leaders

Developing our Leaders

We offer a suite of leadership programmes to support our teachers’ career development ambitions.

This includes NPQML and NPQSL qualifications, delivered by our expert facilitators in partnership with Ambition Institute, and our Aspiring to Headship Programme.

Aspiring to Headship Programme

Our in-house high potential training package offers an exciting leadership development experience for senior leaders who are keen to progress into headship. There is a high success rate from the course, with delegates progressing swiftly into headship, often within our MAT. 

NPQML: National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership

We are proud to be part of the Ambition NPQ Alliance, delivering National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) in partnership with Ambition Institute, the graduate school for teachers, school leaders and system leaders.

We design, manage and deliver a bespoke National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) offer around the core NPQ curricula, content and resources that Ambition Institute provides. Ambition Institute also provides facilitator training and quality assurance to help us deliver the best possible development to participants. Ambition Institute, as the accredited licence holder, is also responsible for the assessment of all NPQ submissions.

You can find out more about Ambition Institute, the Alliance and its outcomes by visiting their website.

We work closely with Ambition Institute to ensure our offer meets all the requirements and metrics as set out by the Department for Education in the NPQ Quality Framework and the NPQ Content and Assessment Framework.

We deliver the Department for Education’s NPQML, in partnership with Ambition Institute. Each NPQ – regardless of level – covers seven leadership behaviours and six competencies:


Leadership behaviours:

  • • Commitment
  • • Collaboration
  • • Personal drive
  • • Resilience
  • • Awareness
  • • Integrity
  • • Respect


  • • Strategy and Improvement
  • • Leading with Impact
  • • Teaching and Curriculum Excellence
  • • Managing Resources and Risk
  • • Working in Partnership
  • • Building Capacity


In order to complete your chosen NPQ you will be required to:

  • Attend all training sessions and any other requirements set out by the provider.
  • Complete an in-school project and submit a write-up of this project (showing how, through completion    of this project, you have evidenced the required competencies and behaviours).
  • This project must last for at least two terms.
  • The NPQML and NPQSL require completion of one project only
  • You must submit your write-up and all evidence within 18 months of the start of your programme.

Please see the NPQ Content and Assessment Framework for more detail about your chosen NPQ, including assignments and placements.

To support you in the completion of your chosen NPQ our offer includes as standard:

  • Expert-designed curriculum, content and resources which align to the required leadership behaviours and competencies, provided by Ambition Institute
  • Minimum 18 hours of face-to-face, facilitated training delivered over at least two terms (but no more than 18 months)
  • Two 360° reviews (at the beginning and end of the programme)
  • Option of a Viva
  • A network of peers and relevant experts
  • Assessment support and full assessment of your final submission
  • Trained and quality assured facilitators of whom at least 50% are serving school leaders

Our NPQML: Delivered in partnership with Ambition Institute
Programme structure and components:

  • Six face-to-face (or online) twilight sessions taking place Spring and Summer term
  • Improvement project across Summer and Autumn term
  • Mentor and sponsor to provide guidance and feedback
  • Networking with other participants
  • Assessment in the form of project write-up, to be submitted for December 2021.


Programme duration: 12 months

Type and hours of study: 

  • 18 hours of face to face twilight sessions, with pre- and post-session reading.
  • Must lead an improvement project in their team, lasting at least two terms, aimed at improving pupil       progress and attainment and the capability of their team 
  • Write up project (max. 4500 words) with supporting documents


Eligibility and application process and timelines:

Teachers who are aspiring to middle leadership and who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Likely to be in a middle leadership role in the next 12-18 months
  • Have completed at least one year of full-time teaching
  • Those currently in middle leadership roles who fit within the guidance below:
  • In secondary schools, middle leaders will have roles such as head of department, head of year or a     whole-school lead role (for example, SEN), or second in charge of a department or pastoral area
  • In primary schools, middle leaders will have roles such as phase leaders; key stage leaders or a whole-school lead role (for example, literacy)
  • If the middle leader is aspiring to senior leadership, or currently serves on the senior leadership team, this person may be more suited to the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leaders

The application form can be found here. 

Applications open: Friday 4th September 2020

Applications close: 8am, Friday 23rd October 2020


You will be required to enter some personal details including your TRN. You will also need to submit a statement of application which should consider the following:

(a) Why you feel this is the right leadership course for you; 

(b) Why you feel this is the right time to apply; 

(c) How your current role has prepared you to consider this course; 

(d) How your current teaching and/or leadership experiences have helped you to develop as a leader; 

(e) What your leadership strengths are and in which areas you would like to develop further; 

(f) What you hope to gain from the course.


To complete your application you will also need to send your CV and a letter of support from your Principal before applications close. 


Principals should write a brief supporting statement to explain: 

(a) Why they think this is the right course for you.

(b) The leadership experiences you have had so far. 

(c) Your strengths as an applicant.

(d) 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 December to confirm your place on the course.


Cost of programme including assessment:

Participants who are staff members of Inspiration Trust: £440

Participants who are external to Inspiration Trust: £800

Cohort size: Estimated 20-30 participants


Dates, times and locations of training sessions:

All sessions will take place 15:00 - 18:00 at Inspiration Curriculum Centre, Norwich, NR1 2PW



Session 1: Monday 11th January 2021

Session 2: Monday 1st March 2021

Session 3: Monday 12th April 2021

Session 4: Monday 17th May 2021

Session 5: Monday 14th June 2021

Session 6: Monday 5th July 2021



Complaints policies can be found here

Whistleblowing policies can be found here



  • We will follow government advice and continue to adapt where necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants.
  • Where face-to-face delivery is not appropriate, online delivery content will be made available. 
  • We are supporting ‘equality of access’ which means that we understand that some participants may need to socially isolate for longer (i.e. those living with someone vulnerable or shielding)

NPQSL: National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership

Who is this course for?

  • 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
  • Those currently in senior leadership roles who fit within the guidance below:
    • Senior leaders should have responsibility for the results of a team, and line manage at least one middle leader
    • Will serve on the senior leadership of the school, and attend SLT meetings
    • In secondary schools, senior leaders will have roles such as assistant headteacher or assistant/vice-principals
    • In large secondary schools, heads of large departments and faculties, leaders may have responsibility commensurate with that of senior leaders
    • In primary schools, senior leaders will have roles such as assistant/associate headteacher or assistant/vice-principals as well as substantive whole-school responsibilities
    • If the senior leader is aspiring to headship, or is a deputy headteacher in secondary / deputy or assistant headteacher in primary, this person is likely to be more suited to NPQH

What is the duration and expected commitment of the course?

  • Nine twilight training sessions
  • Pre-training and post training reading
  • All participants must lead an improvement project across their school, lasting at least two terms, to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching.

What is the content of the course?

The NPQSL qualification will focus on the core content areas which are common across our NPQ courses:

  • Leadership skills and impact
  • Teaching and learning
  • Curriculum and assessment
  • Strategy and improvement
  • Operational management

How am I assessed?

  • A written assessment
  • A compulsory viva assessment alongside the required written assessment

What is the application process?

We ask for your CV and a letter explaining why you want to take part on this particular course with Inspiration Trust and Ambition Institute.

You will also need to include a letter from your in-school sponsor (this should be a head teacher or equivalent) which outlines why they think you are suitable for this course and their commitment to giving you the appropriate time and support to complete the course.

Find out more

Applications are now closed for this academic year, we will re-open in the next academic year. 

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Exemplary Leadership Programme

This is a ground-breaking and innovative new leadership programme involving a consortium of high performing UK schools and the Leverage Leadership Institute in the United States.

Following the principles of Leverage Leadership, the Exemplary Leadership Programme will guide leaders in how to establish a strong school culture (routines and behaviour management), effective teaching, founded on direct instruction, and aspirational outcomes for pupils through a knowledge-rich curriculum. Training will follow a series of ‘see it, name it, do it’ cycles so that participants both explore the theory and are supported in its implementation in the context of their own school improvement priorities.

The programme is deliberately designed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by online learning platforms. It removes the barriers imposed by geography and enables you to see a school in session through the eyes of an exemplary leader.

The programme is fully funded by the Department for Education for the first cohort and delivered by a consortium of partners:

  • Star Institute, the training and development arm of Star Academies
  • Leverage Leadership Institute, part of Relay Graduate School in the United States, an Uncommon Schools partner
  • Dixons Academies Trust
  • Inspiration Trust
  • Outwood Grange Academies Trust

Find out more about the course structure

Places are limited and applications will close on Friday 9 October so express your interest now to ensure you don’t miss out