The Department for Education’s (DfE) National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are the gold standard qualifications designed to give teachers what they need to be world class leaders. Launched in September 2017, they cover the full range of leadership roles in today’s school system and are critical to the future success of our schools. Tribal is the DfE’s Quality Assurance Agent (QAA) for delivery of these qualifications.
The inaugural QAA National NPQ Conference, held at the end of January, therefore marked an important milestone for NPQ delivery, bringing together the network of all 41 NPQ Providers for the first time since the introduction of the reformed suite of qualifications, in order to capture and share emerging best practice. Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary for the School System, summed up perfectly the relevance of the event in his opening address, “An event like this is a great opportunity to celebrate successes and share what really works in the design and delivery of the NPQs.” He went on to reflect on the success and importance of the work to date, “There is cause to celebrate; uptake in the first year has been very strong – in 2017/18 10,000 people started a reformed NPQ; of those almost 500 were enrolled on the new qualification for executive leaders. We know that school leadership is second only to classroom teaching as the key influence on pupil learning; where we see pupil attainment rising there is almost always talented leadership.”
Of course, schools have always willingly shared best practice – it is a critical element of how they continuously strive to improve the provision for their students; but the NPQ network also comprises training providers, teaching school alliances and their partners, and universities, so this is a step forward in how nationally our experts are unified in equipping our leaders to be world class.
Through its Quality Assurance Agent activities, Tribal has already been privy to the network’s commitment to quality, as demonstrated by evidence such as:
- The higher than anticipated number of participants enrolled on current programmes.
- The quality of face to face sessions and the engaging delivery from current school leaders and other experts in the field.
- The innovative and creative approaches to participants’ school improvement projects seen through the national moderation of the final assessment process.
- The positive feedback from participants which indicates a very strong level of satisfaction with the programmes they are following.
On the evidence of the conference, it seems abundantly clear the providers themselves are determined to take quality to the next level, so tomorrow’s school leaders are more equipped to improve the quality of education for our young people. Roger Gilbert, Strategic Lead for Tribal’s Quality Assurance Agent activities, reflected on the work to date, “The determination to provide high quality leadership programmes for the future leaders of our schools is consistent across the provider network. Working alongside these providers is a privilege, but also a huge responsibility in ensuring that such leadership has the impact of improving outcomes and the educational experience for all the young people in all our schools and academies across the country. The expertise and talent showcased at the conference give every confidence that the training of school leaders, at all levels, is in the most capable hands.”
Janet Tomlinson, MD for Tribal’s Education Services, acknowledged the importance and scope of the NPQs, “My own experience as a headteacher, schools’ adviser and director of education constantly reinforced my appreciation of the importance of high-quality school leadership and its centrality to whole system improvement. I welcome the development of the NPQ for executive leaders and follow its evolution with great interest. I also welcome the acknowledgement that today’s school leaders need to be proficient at financial and risk management as well as school improvement.”
Feedback from the NPQ provider network has highlighted the value they place on sharing best practice with over 85% indicating the information shared at the conference was extremely beneficial/beneficial to their provision, and the networking opportunities afforded on the day being high up on their list of highlights.
As the appointed Quality Assurance Agent, Tribal will continue its commitment to assuring the quality of these gold standard qualifications, bottling and disseminating the experiences and best practice of this equally committed network of providers as we go into the second and third years of the contract delivery.