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External CPD


National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML)

This qualification provides national recognition of your leadership development and professional achievement as a middle leader in a school.

You should have responsibility for leading a team, e.g. as a:

  • key stage leader
  • curriculum area leader
  • subject leader
  • head of development

National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL)

This qualification provides national recognition of your leadership development and professional achievement as a senior leader in a school. 

It's expected that you not only have responsibility for leading a team, but you're also involved in a range of activities that affect the whole school organisation.

This programme is for:

  • senior leaders or those about to take on a substantive senior leader role with whole-school responsibilities
  • deputy/assistant heads who aren't aspiring to headship at this stage of their career
  • special education needs coordinators (SENCOs) and advanced skills teachers (ASTs) who are looking for professional development, but not aspiring to headship at this stage

National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)

This qualification develops talented leaders from all backgrounds who can deliver educational excellence in a self-improving system, and high-quality outcomes for pupils and students.

NPQH will give you the confidence, skills and professional knowledge you need to deliver the best for pupils and all members of the school community in preparation for your first headship post.

It's for those who are:

  • aspiring headteachers or principals in a school or academy
  • no more than 18 months away from being credibly able to apply for a headship post

Please note: newly appointed principals or headteachers in their first two years of post may want to take the Exploring Headship CoLab programme.

Learning outcomes

By the end of these programmes, you'll have:  

  • increased your professional knowledge and understanding of leadership to benefit your school and leadership team
  • enhanced your practical leadership skills
  • developed a network of like-minded colleagues
  • gained a qualification showing national recognition of your leadership development and professional achievement within a school setting

Benefits of taking a Leadership CoLab programme

These programmes will provide you with:

  • national recognition for your work
  • networking with colleagues from a diverse partnership of over 200 schools across all phases (both primary and secondary teaching schools) including mainstream, academies, grammar, special, urban, rural, faith and federated
  • tuition by serving Headteachers or senior school leaders, experienced facilitators, and contributions from world-renowned academics at IOE
  • the chance to develop your knowledge, understanding, skills and awareness of the role within the context in which you work and in other settings
  • blended learning: face-to-face (F2F), online and application in school. It's a contextualised research-informed modular programme with flexible F2F session choice (including twilights, weekdays and Saturdays in prime locations around the regions)
  • unrestricted access to all elective modules as part of the principal offer
  • school-based project(s), enabling you to apply your  leadership skills and impact pupil outcomes in your setting (evidence suggests that outcomes from projects have been recognised in Ofsted reports)
  • face-to-face sessions provided centrally or in your local cluster (NPQSL and NPQML only)
  • Master's accreditation and access to post-graduate provision
  • access to world-class research by leading academics from UCL IOE as part of Leadership CoLab - IOE has been ranked number 1 in the world for education (2020 QS World University Rankings)
  • engagement with the London Centre for Leadership in Learning (LCLL) resources and programmes
  • access to bespoke 360 diagnostic survey: a peer-led analysis of your leadership style and objectives providing the foundations for your targeted leadership development

Find out more here


SSAT Lead Practitioners Accreditation 

What is Lead Practitioner Accreditation?

The Lead Practitioner (LP) programme celebrates and motivates great teachers on an individual basis, especially ones who lead others to develop themselves.

A rigorous process of self-reflection and evaluation, Lead Practitioner Accreditation improves the individual’s professional skills and expertise.

The programme is made up of a framework of professional standards and a process of accreditation that has been designed by the profession, for the profession.

It recognises the skills, experience and qualities of school staff at every level, serving to embed and extend teaching and learning that impacts positively on learners.

Typically, practitioners get started by using the LP framework to develop small scale research projects that impact on students’ learning. But the programme takes off when applicants present their evidence beyond their existing teams to colleagues within their school and beyond.

If you have decided that leadership of learning, rather than system leadership, is your chosen career path, the Lead Practitioner Accreditation programme provides a structure that enables you to develop and flourish.

Once accredited, LPs continue their journey by developing as leaders of learning, inspiring others to embrace Lead Practitioner standards and creating communities of learners across the system.

Accredited status is awarded to the individual, but the programme is at its most powerful when headteachers get behind it on a whole-school basis, harnessing the LP standards to their own development priorities both as part of the accreditation process and beyond the award of LP status.

Accreditation can be achieved as an individual practitioner or by a group of practitioners working together, with many schools implementing their own Lead Practitioner accreditation programmes to support and develop their best practitioners within their school.

Find out more here


SSAT Improving practice through research

Improving Practice through Research

Engage with effective research and improve classroom practice with the new digitally-badged course from SSAT and The Open University.

Improving Practice through Research recognises the education landscapes’ need for evidence informed practice, and engagement with research at a practitioner, school and multi-academy trust wide level. The programme was commissioned following several years of consultation with schools. With the advent of research schools and research networks, SSAT and The Open University wanted to develop a learning course that helped practitioners better understand how to engage with research and apply it to their own context, generating positive impact on teaching and learning.

This course is intended for practitioners who wish to make positive changes to teaching and learning practice which is based on sound understanding of ‘what works’.  The course is accessible to all educators, be they teachers, leaders or support staff, across all phases and learning contexts, whether that is mainstream, special, pupil referral units or prisons. Delivered online and on-demand, it can be completed anytime, anywhere.

How does it work?

The course consists of 8 online lessons of approximately 3 hours duration each, which can be completed at a time to suit the practitioner.  The course is interactive and iterative in that it asks participants to reflect on the learning, translate to their own context and to build their knowledge and application over time. The outcome is measured through an online assessment that can be repeated, resulting in a digital badge. This course is the first of a series which will unpack and explain a whole range of issues in teaching and learning.

The eight sessions:

  • Introduction to practitioner research
  • Reading education research critically
  • How do I decide what to research into?
  • The stages of research
  • Thinking ethically
  • Methods of collecting data
  • Analysing and presenting data
  • How might I disseminate my research?

What will participants learn?

The course has three founding principles:

  1. Making effective use of evidence to transform your practice and that of others, emphasising the SSAT Four E’s model; engage, enact, embed and extend
  2. Stimulating critical analysis, debate and reflection, as well as understanding some of the research methods you can engage in
  3. Recognising the teacher as a knowledgeable professional who is constantly reflecting on their practice in order to make enhancements on a day-to day basis and how learning and working with others (collaboration) amplifies the impact of research

After studying this course, you will be able to:

  • Design and carry out a small-scale educational research project
  • Understand some of the methodological traditions within educational research that are relevant to practice settings
  • Understand some of the issues around collecting, analysing and presenting information/data
  • Identify the most appropriate way(s) of disseminating your research findings
  • Understand what constitutes practitioner research and discuss with confidence the debates around teachers as researcher

Throughout the course, practitioners are encouraged to reflect either online or in a learning journal, and translate learning to their own context. This may relate to how you will extend your work on a school development priority.

Find out more here


SSAT Leadership Legacy Project

What is the SSAT Leadership Legacy Project?

At SSAT we have made a moral commitment to support the development of the next generation of system leaders. The SSAT Leadership Legacy Project is a benefit for members of the SSAT Secondary Network, SSAT Primary Network Plus and SSAT Special Network Plus and we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity by nominating one of your teachers to take part in becoming a Leadership Fellow.

The project is a year-long initiative and has been set up to develop teachers who have been identified by their headteacher as having the potential to become outstanding leaders.

Leadership Fellows have the opportunity to attend a range of SSAT events and leadership shadowing visits; and will have access to a bank of resources and networking opportunities.

The launch events will take place in early October 2019 and are followed by a series of events throughout the year. You can view the programme of activities here and read about the experience of one of our previous participants in this SSAT blog article.

As this is a benefit of SSAT membership for eligible members*, the only costs your school will incur are related to time, travel and accommodation.


By the end of the project, the Leadership Fellows will:

  • form their vision for education and shape their educational principles
  • gain an in-depth understanding of the current education system
  • consider different leadership models and the skills required to succeed
  • undertake wider reading and use social media in a professional context
  • spend time with highly successful educators
  • submit a written think piece which evidences their developing practice as a teaching professional; this should be of benefit to the school and be research-based and should have any supporting evidence included.

The project is underpinned by SSAT’s Leadership Principles.

SSAT Leadership principles

We asked senior leaders to describe their leadership principles.

Here are their top 8:

  1. Know yourself
    Are you really Executive Head or CEO material? Do you want to be?
  2. Prepare to unlearn
    Because leading isn’t teaching, and leading a MAT isn’t leading just one school.
  3. Blueprint your dream
    A vision that you really follow through.
  4. Learn from business
    Let’s look for answers from outside education.
  5. Know the practical stuff backwards
  6. Be tough about the team
    Get the right people on the bus (and the wrong ones off it).
  7. Your legacy really matters
    The system needs the next generation of leaders.
  8. Believe in what you believe

Who can take part?

Candidates must be qualified teachers and, if working in a mainstream primary or secondary school, should be within their first 2-4 years of teaching. We recognise that due to the specialised setting, candidates from special schools may have been teaching for longer. All candidates should have been identified as having the potential to become an outstanding leader and be demonstrating the skills to become future outstanding system leaders.

Making a nomination

Nominations for the 2019-20 cohort have now closed. If you missed the nomination deadline, or wish to make additional nominations, please contact your Relationship Manager today. Headteachers can make one nomination for the project as part of their school’s SSAT membership benefits; if successful, each additional place on the project costs £500+VAT.

If their nomination is successful, the headteacher will receive a confirmation email and the nominee will receive a separate email with with further information on their allocated launch event in October.

* Members of the SSAT Secondary NetworkSSAT Primary Network Plus, and SSAT Special Network Plus are eligible for this benefit.

Find out more here