Schools across England can use their apprenticeship levy to cover the cost of National Professional Qualification (NPQ) leadership development programmes for middle and senior leaders. The July 2020 appointment of Best Practice Network (BPN) as an approved provider of apprenticeship levy-funded programmes incorporating the NPQ programme has enabled schools to ease pressure on CPD budgets.
One of the UK’s largest providers of training, development and support for education professionals, BPN is rated an “exceptional training provider” by the Department for Education, and is on the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s Register of Approved Training Providers (RoATP) as a main provider. The status is awarded to providers that directly deliver apprenticeship training for employers who use the apprenticeship service to pay for training. The register of apprenticeship training providers lists organisations eligible to receive government funding to train apprentices.
BPN has combined its middle and senior leadership NPQs (NPQML and NPQSL) with the level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenticeship to deliver two dual leadership programmes. BPN also helps schools locate additional funding sources, provide information about the apprenticeship-funded route and answer funding queries.
Since March 2020 all public sector bodies with more than 250 employees have had to employ at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentices – a requirement that affects many multi-academy trusts. Tracy Clement, Apprenticeships Director at Best Practice Network, said, “We have gone through a rigorous approval and onboarding process to achieve this status, which means that schools can cover the cost of the professional development of their middle and senior leaders by using their apprenticeship levy funds, government co-funding or levy transfer. This takes significant pressure off their CPD budgets at a challenging time. There will be a way for most schools to access these apprenticeships at no cost and we’re here to help them do this.”