Maximising our NPQs for professional growth

From NPQ Leading Behaviour and Culture to NPQ Senior Leadership: A Secondary School Perspective

East Manchester Teaching School Hub delves into the transformative journeys of participants who have made the leap from Specialist NPQs to Leadership NPQs, sharing insights into how these programmes benefit emerging leaders and contribute to school-wide successes, succession planning and retention.

“This just felt like a fantastic opportunity to pause and celebrate the great work that is going on in schools.”

Shannon Clough, Assistant Headteacher, teacher of English and Head of Year and Susanna Hegarty, Head of School from Crompton House School, Oldham, discuss Shannon’s progress from NPQLBC to NPQSL and the pivotal role the school played in guiding and supporting her journey.

Susanna Hegarty
Shannon Clough

Why did you choose an NPQ programme with UCL and East Manchester Teaching School Hub?

Shannon’s decision to pursue the NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture stemmed from her role as Head of Year and teacher of English with responsibility for the behaviour, attendance, safeguarding, and attainment of a year group. The programme’s focus on leadership, especially within a pastoral capacity, resonated deeply with her aspirations.

Shannon feels that the peer learning groups and networking opportunities offered through the UCL and East Manchester Teaching School Hub delivery model were invaluable. “Engaging with up-to-date CPD and research bridged the gap between theory and practice, enhancing my leadership skills, crucial for my growth as a leader.” The robustness of an NPQ programme is something that also resonates with the Head of School, Susanna, who is also undertaking an NPQ herself and commented “the programme is designed to generate skilful and research informed professionals.”

Effective professional development, especially research-informed programmes like NPQs, is central to the school’s ethos to support leadership development, recruitment, and retention, and aligns with the school development plan. “The balance of self-study and face-to-face learning, coupled with evidence-based frameworks, cultivates robust leadership skills. Shannon’s success is a testament to its efficacy.”

Shannon has since progressed onto NPQSL where she is developing her implementation plan from NPQLBC into a whole school focus on student voice.

What impact has the NPQ programme had?

“The programme slowed my thinking, encouraging thoughtful planning and evaluation. It empowered me to introduce whole-school initiatives, like enhancing student voice, and inspired a culture of reflection and improvement.”

Shannon’s journey exemplifies exceptional leadership. It was evident during this discussion that the NPQs had helped to build her leadership confidence and shape her initiatives to drive positive change throughout the school. Susanna commented that Shannon “epitomises the research-informed professional.”

Embarking on any extended professional development programme is always a challenge for teachers and leaders with already busy workloads but both Shannon and Susanna were clear about the impact that the programme could have on both Shannon’s leadership and the school.

“Time management was a constant challenge, but the implementation project, aligned with existing responsibilities, eased the pressure. Scheduling dedicated time for learning and reflection was crucial.”

Shannon’s progression from NPQLBC to NPQSL not only underscores her personal development but also highlights the ripple effect of effective leadership on school-wide success. Through self-directed study, peer learning groups, and research-informed frameworks, these programmes bridge the gap between theory and practice, nurturing confident and reflective leaders like Shannon.

With special thanks to our NPQ Delivery Lead, Louise Astbury, for speaking with Shannon
and Susanna about their experiences with the Teaching School Hub.


East Manchester Teaching School Hub is proud to be part of the Cranmer Education Trust

Cranmer Education Trust is a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity. Company registration number: 07687709. Registered Office: Cranmer Education Trust, c/o The Blue Coat School, Egerton Street, Oldham OL1 3SQ