You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.


Designed for school leaders who are, or are aspiring to be, an executive headteacher or a school trust CEO with responsibility for leading several schools.


What will you learn?

  • Trust culture – you will establish and sustain an effective trust culture through communicating its strategic direction, supporting leaders to prioritise, allocate and manage human and financial resources whilst fulfilling all statutory duties to enable a thriving trust community with ambitious standards for all.
  • Teaching – you will learn how to establish and sustain effective teaching across the trust to support school leaders to embed teacher’s pedagogical knowledge and classroom skills to enable the best outcomes for all children and young people no matter what their starting point is.
  • Curriculum and Assessment – you will learn how to support school and trust leaders to sustain high quality planning, teaching and learning. Ensure that assessment and data collection is readily available and reliable and informs both the design and delivery of professional development for teachers within and across the trust.
  • Operational management – you will learn how to run a group of schools effectively, considering long term strategic and financial planning, the use of cross-trust staff and a range of operational structures.
  • Behaviour and support – you will be able to ensure that your schools establish and sustain high standards of behaviour and learning across the whole trust community.  Within your schools you will develop the expertise to oversee an approach with all leaders and key stakeholders to build a safe, inclusive learning environment for all.
  • Implementation – you will learn how to work with leaders to implement change across the trust successfully by understanding the complexity of multiple implementation projects and aligning them with wider trust priorities.
  • Trust governance – you will learn how to apply robust risk management strategies within the context of trust governance, the national policy space and the regulatory environment associated with it.

What are the benefits for you?

Our participants have noted many benefits to studying for an NPQEL. Overall, they outline how the programme has given them professional confidence, time and space to reflect on themselves and the kind of executive leader they want to become and increased knowledge in their chosen area of study.

You will be able to:

  • Address the importance of culture, implementation and professional development and how all work together to achieve a desired outcome.
  • Prioritise where you invest most of our energy, understanding ‘within school factors’ – where local headteachers can have high impact; and beyond-school factors where we may have influence but not direct control.
  • Understand how governance has changed over time and the complexities and responsibilities of the Trust and its Trustees.
  • Reflect on how the external environment impacts on the children and links to a developing understanding of the layers of leadership from trust to civic level and how we use our civic leadership more positively to be advocates of our community.
  • Build and strengthening your trust to enable a model of cooperative collaboration across a MAT or Trust.
  • Conduct leadership strategy/strength reviews in your own settings triangulating performance management evidence with keeping in touch meetings.
  • Have excellent opportunities to discuss the challenges that are faced within different settings and to talk through the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches.

What are the benefits for your school?

We know that our children and young people need teachers who are committed to their education and are confident learners themselves. Our programmes have been developed with teachers and leaders to:

  • Create professionally confident teachers and leaders who can lead at scale.
  • Grow the next generation of leaders with the skills and knowledge to use the evidence-base for the benefit of their children, young people and wider communities.
  • Retain and develop the best teachers who are excellent, collaborative role models for their schools and communities.
  • Inspire leaders who can harness the power of rich learning environments for their children and young people no matter the current circumstances.

Is this programme for me?

Yes, if you aspire to leading a group of schools as an executive headteacher or school trust CEO.


How long will it take?

18 months followed by an 8-day open book summative case study task.



In order to complete NPQEL, you will be required to:

  • Attend all programme sessions.
  • Complete an implementation project based on your current work.
  • Complete the summative case study style assessment.

To support you in the completion of NPQEL, our offer includes as standard:

  • An engaging curriculum which blends face-to-face, online and self-study.
  • A supportive facilitator and peer network.
  • A national cohort to enable the education system’s most senior colleagues to learn with and from each other, led centrally by UCL Centre for Educational Leadership.

Dates, times & locations of training sessions

October 2023 – March 2025 (18 months)

February 2024 – July 2025 (18 months)

Face-to-face sessions will be held at venues throughout the UK.

Apply now

Register for an NPQ with the DfE: Register for a National Professional Qualification ( and choose UCL when prompted during registration. Applications are now open for October 2023.

UCL will send you an application form. Please choose Exchange Teaching Hub as your delivery partner when prompted on the form.

For further information: Download our flier on how to appy (click here) or visit UCL’s website (click here).