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The Church of England Professional Qualification for Headship (including NPQH) 


The Church of England Professional Qualification for Headship (including NPQH) provides rigorous preparation for senior leaders preparing for their first headship, heads leading both primary and secondary schools for the first time, and heads who have not yet completed the NPQH.

As a leader of a Church of England school or somebody whose practice and leadership resonate with Christian values, we want you to experience “life in all its fullness” (John, 10:10) and enable your staff and children to do the same. 

Department for Education Full Scholarship funding* is now available to the majority of Church of England schools.

If you are working in a Church of England school that is within a diocese where at least one Church of England school is a category 5 or 6 then every teacher working within a Church of England School (who has not already completed a NPQH) is eligible to apply for full scholarship funding, covering all of the course fees. Eligible dioceses include: Bath and Wells, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bristol, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Derby, Ely, Exeter, Hereford, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Rochester, Salisbury, Sheffield, Southwell, St Albans, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Winchester, Worcester, York. We will complete an application for funding on your behalf once we have confirmed your eligibility.

Aims and Objectives

By completing your NPQH with the Church of England not only will you achieve a nationally recognised qualification you be equipped to know how to translate the Church of England Vision for Education into reality within your school and be enlivened in your own vocation.

Through this programme you will strengthen your leadership capability. Specifically, the course blends four elements: 

  1. Translating Vision into Reality 
  2. Developing Core Leadership Knowledge and Skills
  3. Developing Personal Leadership Behaviours
  4. Our Shared Mission 

How will I learn?

As a participant, your learning journey will include the following activities: 

  • Three residential learning events;
  • Six compulsory webinars which consist of online inputs and discussions with experts and past participants, and a number of additional webinars which look at specific areas in more detail.
  • Online reading and interactive material;
  • Working together in action learning sets which consist of fellow participants who live and/or work nearby;
  • Support from an approved mentor, your regional host based in a partner school and your diocesan education office. 

The three residential events build on one another:  

Learning Event 1

At learning event 1 we focus on understanding our vision and ourselves as leaders (leading with impact) and gathering tools to know how to maintain improvement and change (strategy and improvement) and we introduce both risk and integrated curriculum financial planning (managing resources and risks).

Our aims in the first residential are for participants to: 

  • Deepen their understanding of the CofE vision for education and what it means for leaders;
  • Understand the importance of horizon scanning for leaders;
  • Understand and explore the sources of data available to leaders and how they can make sense of it;
  • Explore leadership theories to enhance understanding of their personal leadership;
  • Introduce the Cycle of Grace as a tool for reflection as a leader;
  • Challenge ideas of hierarchy in leadership (we are all one under one God)
  • Understand how to apply Paul’s ministries to their work as leaders;
  • Understand how and when to lead change and to reflect on their readiness to do so;
  • Understand the importance of getting the culture right in a school;
  • Work through the process of designing and implementing a vision;
  • Understand the work of Jim Collins and setting the appropriate goals;
  • Understand the benefits and limitations of targets;
  • Understand the importance of embracing and using resistance in leadership;
  • Explore accountability;
  • Understand the five areas of school budgets;
  • Understand the five areas of risk;
  • Understand and explore integrated curriculum financial planning (ICFP).
  • During the first residential we introduce and ‘set’ the NPQH assignments and CofEPQH assessment as well as advising them about the nine days they will be spending in their placement school.

Learning Event 2

At learning event 2, we move on to explore teaching and curriculum excellence that enables pupils to experience fullness of life (teaching and curriculum excellence) and how we lead our staff and set up enabling structures (increasing capability)

Our aims in the second residential are for participants to: 

  • Understand the apprenticeship curriculum to contrast it with the knowledge based curriculum;
  • Explore the new SIAMS framework and the proposed Ofsted framework on the curriculum; 
  • Hear a case study from a headteacher about ‘Designing a curriculum which has Vision, Provision, Impact, Intent, Implementation and Impact’;
  • Understand research about the curriculum and its impact on teaching and learning; 
  • Explore how the Church’s Vision for Education might shape a curriculum and teaching and learning; 
  • Understand the government’s workload tool and the necessity to control and cut teachers’ workload;
  • Explore leaders’ roles in shaping good the good behaviour of children in a school; 
  • Explore tools and techniques to improve teaching quality across several schools; 
  • Watch a conflict scene unfold with actors;
  • Explore the use of a framework to prepare for a difficult conversation;
  • Use forum theatre to explore four major areas of a headteacher’s work when conflict may arise: Managing misconduct (disciplinary), Grievance, Redundancy, and Capability Procedure; 
  • To explore high quality and poor CPD; 
  • During the second residential we work through exemplar NPQH assignment submissions and give time to ask questions about assignments. 

At Learning Event 3

At learning event 3, we work together to realise the Bishop of Oxford’s words when he said that Christian Leaders are called to be people of hope and that ‘hope is the capacity to see a different and more positive future’. We consider workforce and capability planning tools and techniques, as well as thinking about talent management and succession planning (increasing capability). We return to resources and consider how to We look at living well together (working in partnership) and we draw everything together to think about the first six months of headship.

Our aims in the third residential are for participants to:

  • Consider creating partnerships with the church community and governors to facilitate school improvement and wellbeing;
  • Use a range of techniques to gather perspectives of stakeholders and develop engagement strategies;
  • Consider Jim Collin’s Level 5 leadership and explore what that mean for building a community;
  • Think about governance and how lines of accountability may work;
  • Examine the workforce in schools, its affordability and think about ways of considering the capability and capacity of the staff;
  • Consider managing the talent they have got, recruiting appropriately for the future needs of a school and developing people for different roles in the future;
  • Consider how to work with the community that serves schools and other schools;
  • Share their ideas of the priorities in order to be successful in the first few months of headship.
  • During the third residential we work through exemplar NPQH material and give participants time to ask questions as they prepare for submission.

Why complete your NPQH with the Church of England?

  • Gain the NPQH qualification whilst also reigniting your own vision and vocation
  • Increase your chances of promotion and taking the next step in your career
  • Learn as part of a community where trust, authenticity, challenge, and support are valued
  • Learn with our exceptional facilitators who skilfully share their expertise (85% of participants strongly agree with this, 98% agree) 
  • Build your network with leaders of Church of England and community schools both in your region and across England. 

* Department for Education Full Scholarship Funding
Ten million pounds is available to support teachers and leaders working in opportunity areas and category 5 and category 6 areas and those working in MATs or dioceses which cover those areas, to take the new NPQs.

This funding will cover full course costs, and all teachers and leaders in these areas are eligible for this funding (provided they have not already studied for the NPQ for which they are applying).


Find out More: Meet the Team and Current Participants

You may wish to find out more about the CofEPQH by joining past participants and the Foundation team in our next live webinar. Please register by clicking on the link below. 

Sept 4, 2019 4:00 PM

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/5ef69cd67d69cbc7cde7dc3c8da9331e

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Find out More: Participant testimonials 

“It was a privilege to learn from such inspirational facilitators. At the first learning event I particularly enjoyed the MBTI sessions in the afternoon of the first day and was inspired when listening to Rob speak about his own experiences of leadership- successes and times when mistakes had been made. The facilitators recommended further literature which I have already started to resource. Thank you for investing the time in helping me to become a better leader” School Leader, 2018 Cohort.

“It’s through the Church of England so it gave me a really holistic vision of what ‘life in all its fullness’ can mean and how I can encourage others to understand this throughout my school.” School Leader, 2017 Cohort.

“The course has helped me find my way of doing things. It’s been really rich to see that there are different models of leadership and not just one way of leading well.” School Leader, 2017 Cohort.

“I honestly found the whole first learning event really engaging. It was full on, but there really wasn't a time when I didn't feel really engaged, challenged, inspired and encouraged. The learning event was a really excellent start to the programme”. School Leader, 2017 Cohort.

“One of the amazing things about this programme has been the shared experience, shared expertise, and working with people going through a similar transition to me.” School Leader, 2017 Cohort.

Listen to more participant experiences in this Video.


Applications for 2020-21 are now open and will close on Monday 4th November 2019.

Applicants please apply online through our online form here.

All applications must be accompanied by a completed Sponsor form. This will need to be submitted in parallel and before the deadline of Monday 4th November 2019.  Applications received without an accompanying Sponsor endorsement form will not be considered.

Please ask your Sponsor to send us their endorsement through this online form.
If you have read the Financial and Bursary Information and think you may be eligible for either DFE funding or a foundation bursary please indicate this on your application form.