National Professional Qualifications

NPQs - career development with a focus on quality

Saffron Teaching School Hub constantly reviews and quality assures our Teach First NPQ programmes to ensure that they are meeting the needs of our programme members. We want to check that the NPQ programmes are well facilitated by our team of experts, that the materials for sessions and conferences are fit for purpose and that the impact on workload is minimal.  

There are lots of internal and external processes that help us get a picture of our programmes - supporting us to identify what is going well and what we can focus on to improve.  

One of the most important measures is feedback from our programme members. Recently, this has included an end of programme survey from our first cohort. We are pleased to highlight: 

  • 94% of programme members agreed that their NPQ supported/ made them more prepared to take on a position with more leadership in their current or another school 

  • 97% of programme members rated the quality of their Teach First NPQ delivery as positive 

  • 96% of programme members said it was likely that they would be working in a school in 3 years' time 

The feedback is clear – NPQ programmes equip school staff to develop throughout their career and stay working in education

A positive impact on your career

Three of our recent NPQ programme members told us about the positive impact their NPQ has had on their career.

Name: Sophie Allchin 

NPQ: NPQ Leading Teacher Development 

Current Role: Director of Mid Essex ITT & People Strategy Co-Lead at Bridge Academy Trust 

Impact of the NPQ: Sophie has taken on a new role and is now working with a wider range of schools 

Sophie’s Story:  

“When the current climate in education is challenging and staff are stretched, it is hard to find time to prioritise your own professional development. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to fit my NPQ in around my other work commitments - the online Teach First portal is easy to navigate and includes a great mix of reading 'bite-size' pieces of research, watching videos and writing up short reflections. The live Zoom sessions were very manageable as after school and only lasting one hour, and in between sessions we had a friendly WhatsApp group, enabling us to keep in touch. Most of all I enjoyed the two Conference Days which ensured that I spent some dedicated time focusing on my NPQ whilst also networking with other professionals.  

Most recently, My NPQ helped me to coordinate an INSET Day for all the support staff at the Bridge Academy Trust in February 2023 which received positive feedback. To keep the momentum going, I have created networks/support groups for different teams of staff. 

My NPQLTD has also been invaluable in my role as Director of Mid Essex ITT as we strive to ensure that our trainees and mentors receive the highest quality training. As Saffron TSH will now be offering a NPQLTD specifically for ITT practitioners from October 2023, I have also encouraged the rest of my Leadership Team to sign up. ” 

Name: Louisa Robertson

NPQ: NPQ Leading Teaching

Current Role: Early Years Lead

Impact of the NPQ: Louisa was a class teacher and since doing her NPQ has taken on a new role as Early Years Lead

Louisa's Story:

"Having completed my degree in Primary School teaching 5 years ago, I began to take on more responsibilities within my school which included leading a subject. As I was new to leading a subject I felt I needed some support to deepen my understanding of how I could do this to the best of my abilities. The NPQ in Leading Teaching has given me a solid foundation in pedagogy, child development, and classroom management as well as the skills required to observe staff, write action plans and move my subject forward across the school. I then became Early Years Lead which is a role I have aspired to be in for the last couple of years. However, I felt that to be an effective Early Years Lead, I needed to deepen my knowledge of early childhood education and having learnt so much from the NPQ in Leading Teaching I felt the NPQ in Early Years Leadership would be the perfect way to do this. I am currently on the NPQ Early Years Leadership course and it is allowing me to develop my understanding of the specific needs of children aged 0-5. Both NPQs have already given me the confidence and expertise to develop my Early Years provision and ensure that it meets the needs of both the children and their families, as well as being more confident and able to support my team. 

In conclusion, the NPQs have been essential in providing me with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in my role and pursue my professional goals. They have enabled, and continue to allow me to deepen my understanding of my subject area and provide me with the confidence and expertise to take on new challenges and responsibilities."

Name: Neal Wilcox

NPQ: NPQ Senior Leadership

Current role: Assistant Headteacher at Bridge Academy Trust

Impact of the NPQ: Progression to an SLT role

Neal's Story:

"It is often said that the jump between middle management and senior leadership is the hardest jump. It is almost like being 18 again (if only!) when all jobs want experience but you cannot get experience without having a job. The NPQSL very much helps to traverse this canyon when looking to take the leap. Whilst I would in no way say that I am an expert in all of the diverse areas covered by the NPQSL, the topics and reading helped me to get an overview of some areas that had not been my specialisation throughout my career. Having an appreciation of the bigger picture certainly helped me to talk in an informed manner at interview, but also to ask insightful questions to ascertain if the trust and role was right for me. I also believe that, in part, it helped me to reach the interview stage as the course was referenced during the process. 

Now that I am in an SLT role, the theory becomes practice and having an online platform that I can dip in to for theory and advice will be hugely useful. It also helps to link me to other researched based ideas which are invaluable when all schools are trying to meet a vast and shifting set of needs.

An unwitting positive of the NPQSL were the people on the course. I remember reading the official language that referred to a 'network of practitioners' that would help support participants. Being surrounded by colleagues in a school and, with most of the learning sessions being delivered virtually, I did not feel that this would be something that would have much of an impact. However, with the mixing of Key Stages and the diverse school settings of people on the course, I saw education more in its entirety and heard of the positives and challenges across the spectrum of education. It helped me to appreciate that education was not just in the mould that I was presently in and could be very different for a myriad of reasons. The down to earth, honest and open discussions that we had were something that I looked forward to and some relationships have continued despite the course having finished. 

23 months seems a long time when you first begin the journey. The cliche states that time flies, and on the NPQSL it certainly did. Whether we roost or soar, the NPQSL has given wind beneath our wings."