Apply for a national professional qualification (NPQ)

Steps to start an NPQ or the early headship coaching offer.

Applies to England

Before you apply to your chosen training provider, you need to register with the Department for Education. However, the registration service is currently closed. 

You can request an email to tell you when it is open, this is usually in the summer.

1. Choose an NPQ

Find out about the different NPQ courses and the early headship coaching offer

If you’re employed, talk to your employer. You may need their approval to take an NPQ. They may be able to help you choose a course that’s suitable for you and your workplace. 

Some courses have specific eligibility requirements, so check you’re eligible before you register. 

2. Check if you can get funding 

Teachers and schools leaders in many state funded settings in England will be eligible for funding to cover their NPQ course fees. 

3. Find a training provider 

If you’re employed, ask your workplace if they already work with a particular training provider. 

You can also contact providers directly. Refer to the course pages to find which providers offer your course:  

Alternatively, find your local teaching school hub and ask them who provides your chosen NPQ in your area. 

Most providers operate throughout England, but your NPQ will include some face-to-face sessions that you need to attend in person. 

4. Register with DfE 

You need to register with DfE for your NPQ or early headship coaching offer. 

This is so that DfE can keep your professional record up to date, check and allocate NPQ funding, and issue NPQ certificates. 

Even if you’re not funded, you still need to register. 

5. Apply through your provider 

As well as registering with DfE, you also need to apply directly to your provider. 

Your provider will send you an application form by email once you’ve registered with DfE. They will assess your suitability for the course. If your application is successful, they will confirm how your course will be funded. 

6. Start your NPQ 

Once you’ve applied, your provider will confirm whether you have a place on the course and will give you your course start date if you’ve been accepted. 

If you pass your NPQ, you can access your teaching qualifications to get your certificate.

Published 20 September 2023
Last updated 212 MarchApril 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated to highlight that registration is currently closed.

  2. Updated sections on funding and finding a training provider.

  3. Restructured content in the 'Find a training provider' section to clarify information.

  4. Added a link to a tool which you can use to find a local teaching school hub.

  5. First published.