Limits on NPQ funding ‘regrettable’ says NAHT

Funding for the majority of the new national professional qualifications (NPQs) will be limited by the Department for Education (DfE) to those working in the most deprived schools, in a move that has been described as ‘regrettable’ by a union official. The suite of reformed NPQs will be available from autumn 2021 for teachers and leaders who want to develop their knowledge and skills in school leadership and specialist areas of teaching practice. The NPQs will be delivered by nine ‘lead training providers’ who have been approved by the DfE. These include Ambition Institute, Church of England and Teach First.

As part of the government’s education recovery plan, it was announced last month that £184 million of funding for NPQs would be made available over the course of this parliament. However the DfE have now published the criteria to be able to access full scholarship funding, and in four of the six NPQs (Leading Teacher Development; Leading Behaviour and Culture; Leading Teaching; Senior Leadership) applicants are required to ‘work in a state-funded school in England that is within the top 30th percentile in relation to pupils on Pupil Premium as of the end of the previous academic year’. For a fifth, the NPQ in Headship, the same criteria applies unless the applicant is in the first 24 months of headship. Only in one NPQ, in Leading Teacher Development, is full scholarship funding available to applicants from all state-funded schools in England.

Commenting on the funding situation, Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: ‘NAHT has long-campaigned for better access to ongoing professional development for teachers and leaders at all stages of their careers. It is regrettable that funding for five of six of the NPQs are restricted only to teachers and leaders working in a school that is within the top 30th percentile for pupils receiving the Pupil Premium. The number of NPQs that can be delivered next year is severely constrained by the number of providers approved to deliver them. Government need to take a more permissive approach to encourage other high quality providers into the market, and ensure that schools have the funding to match, to reach far more teachers and leaders.’

The DfE says it will publish a list of schools that are within the top 30th percentile in relation to pupils on pupil premium ‘shortly’ to enable people to check their eligibility. Full details of the new suite of NPQs can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/yuf26hzw 

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