npqh document


The scenario below is designed to test some of the ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements that you have engaged with during the NPQH programme. Every effort has been made to ensure that the scenario is authentic and that you have sufficient information to complete the task, but it is possible that you would wish to have further information about the case study/scenario, e.g., about practices within the school, not provided in the scenario. Where this is the case, you should proceed on the basis of making reasonable professional assumptions, e.g. that the school has performance management policies which it implements (unless the information provided indicates otherwise). 

Task requirements

Using the knowledge gained from your study of the NPQH, write a response of no more than 1,500 words to the case study questions in the insert booklet (see below). You have eight calendar days to complete the summative assessment. You must submit your response by midnight (23.59) of dd/mm/yyyy. 

In submitting a response, you must confirm that it is all your own work. 

Approaching the case study scenario

We recommend that you undertake the following activities:

  • Review the assessment criteria for this programme – refer to the Participant Handbook for details.
  • Read carefully and make notes about the scenario. 
  • Read the DfE content framework areas for this programme to identify the ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements this scenario incorporates.
  • Organise your response to the question(s) posed below by cross-referencing the notes you have made about the scenario with the ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements you have identified.
  • Focus your attention on what you regard as the critical features of this scenario, and therefore the critical ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements you will address in your response.

There are no right or wrong responses to the questions posed below but some responses will be more effective than others. In formulating your response, you should remember that your assessor will be looking for evidence of your ability to:

  • identify problems or issues to be addressed, i.e., demonstrate that you can interrogate the evidence in the case study to outline the problems/issues
  • identify solutions, i.e., demonstrate that you can recommend a plausible solution/set of solutions to the problem(s) based on appropriate ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements 
  • set out your rationale for any solutions you propose, i.e., justify your proposal(s) based on appropriate ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements and support these with any relevant research
  • determine a strategy for implementing your proposals, i.e., detail the practical process needed for the solution and articulate the rationale behind this chosen approach, with reference to ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements

Case study context

You are starting the role of headteacher at St Andrew’s School in the north-west of England. St Andrew’s is a Local Authority maintained state school and is mixed entry for pupils aged 11 to 16. The school was rated ‘requires improvement’ for its overall effectiveness at its last inspection by Ofsted in 2018. The governors have asked you to produce a report for them which identifies what you would prioritise for your first year, and why. 

Case study questions to be completed 

Using the knowledge gained through your study of the NPQH, analyse the information enclosed within the insert booklet to answer the following questions: 

  • What are the most important issues have you identified, which you would seek to address in your long term strategy?
    Identify problems (15% of marks, 200 words)

What potential solutions will you propose within the first year of your strategy plan, and why?
Identify solutions (35%) and set out the rationale for your chosen solutions (15%) (50% of marks, 750 words)

  • What advice would you offer the governors on any actions needed for successful implementation of the programme? Why have you offered this advice?
    Address the challenges of implementing your chosen strategy(ies) (35% of marks, 550 words)


St Andrew’s has 800 pupils on roll, against a capacity of 1,000. Fifteen percent of pupils are eligible for free school meals, around the national average. Seventeen percent of pupils are recorded as having English as an additional language, which mirrors the national average for state funded secondary schools. The school’s Progress 8 score has decreased each year since 2017 and is now below average. The percentage of pupils achieving a grade 5 or above in English and maths at GCSE is below the national average and has also decreased over the last three years.

The previous headteacher worked at the school for 25 years. The assistant head (teaching and learning) has been in post for 3 years while the assistant head (pastoral) has held their post for 4 years. There has been a high turnover of teaching staff over the past couple of years, of around 15%, equating to 7 teachers per year. 

The school improvement plan was created in 2019, after the most recent Ofsted inspection. It has not been updated since. 

With an overall total of £4,307,826.34, the school’s budget is forecast to run a small positive balance of £50,000 for the academic year ahead. 

The school governing board has raised concerns about the accountability of staff at St Andrew’s, specifically that heads of year have not been recording pupil attendance effectively, resulting in inaccurate attendance data for the school.

Source 1: Excerpts from last Ofsted

St Andrew’s was rated ‘requires improvement’ for its overall effectiveness at the last Ofsted inspection. A selection of the inspectors’ comments is below.

Source 2: Feedback from staff

The staff survey takes place every year during the summer term, to allow staff the opportunity to reflect on the past academic year. All staff receive a link to this general survey. However, some staff are given an opportunity to provide more detailed feedback if they wish via an interview with the assistant headteacher (pastoral) and another member of staff (depending on the issues they wish to raise). The survey itself covers many areas of school life. These areas include topics which Ofsted focus on, namely the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and finally, leadership and management. The findings are then collated and summarised in a report which comes out early in the autumn term. A review of progress takes place in the spring term. The staff interviews were conducted to inform the new headteacher of how staff feel about the school.

Excerpt of previous staff organisation chart

Source 3: Summary of school survey

The assistant head (teaching and learning) circulates an annual survey to both parents and pupils in the spring term. The questions are wide ranging, covering topics from the quality of school meals to educational day trips. It also includes questions on learning and pupil behaviour. The latest survey for parents had a response rate of 65%, a marked increase from the 48% response rate the year before. The pupil response rate was 59% down from 67% last year, despite pupils being asked to complete the survey during their form time before lessons commence. Results are gathered and published in the summer term.

Figure 1: Pupil responses to ‘How often is your learning disrupted at school?’

Figure 2: Parent responses ‘How is behaviour of pupils at school?’

Parents and pupils are also invited to provide more information to explain their responses.

Figure 3: Selection of responses from pupils

Figure 4: Selection of responses from parents

Source 4: School budget 

Below is an extract of St Andrew’s budget for the academic year, which outlines the costs experienced by the school, and how the costs compare to other schools across England.

Cost line School cost% of expenditureComparison to school average across England
Teaching staff£2,406,873.0056.4%Middle 20% of similar schools
Supply staff£179,541.0003.4%Highest 20% of similar schools
Education support staff£671,659.0015.8%Highest 10% of similar schools
Administrative and clerical staff£161,394.003.8%Broadly in line with similar schools
Other staff costs£39,522.000.9%Broadly in line with similar schools
Premises costs£182,229.004.3%Broadly in line with similar schools
Educational supplies£290,637.006.8%Middle 20% of similar schools
Energy£62,187.001.5%Broadly in line with similar schools

Source 5: School improvement plan (SIP)

Created in 2019, after the school’s latest Ofsted inspection, the SIP was drafted by the assistant head (teaching and learning) and the assistant head (pastoral), in partnership with the rest of the school leadership team (SLT) and approved by the governing body. It has not been updated since.

Objective with outcomeSuccess criteriaTimeframeSLT leadMonitoring and evaluationRAG JanRAGJune
The quality of education 
Improved planning and differentiation of work across all subjects
Maths, MFL and science planning is sufficiently robust to support the highest quality teaching and learning within a rich and rounded curriculum. 
Lessons are sufficiently challenging for pupils, regardless of their starting points. 
Skills audit for subject leaders take place and areas of development are identified in all team members’ subject knowledge. 
New planning takes effect spring term.
Sep – JuneAssistant head, subject leadersSkills audit to have taken place before autumn half-term. 
Data to be used to highlight CPD need for school staff, and training for staff to take place prior to end of autumn term.
SLT to evaluate and compare autumn term planning with that of spring term.
Behaviour and attitudes
Reduce rates of pupil absence
School attendance is at least 95%+ including, pupils with SEND and disadvantaged pupils.
A culture of ownership is developed through sharing attendance data with students, parents and carers.
Sep – JuneAssistant head, office managerFirst evaluation to take place final week of autumn term. 
An attendance plan is to be created and put in place in order to reflect the findings. 
SLT to meet to discuss whether the school’s current processes track attendance effectively and lead to information being shared with appropriate members of staff.
SLT to consider whether repeat absences are dealt with appropriately, and what processes are in place to enable this.
Personal development  
Promote good mental health
Develop a sports and wellbeing crew in school to impact positively on pupil wellbeing, encourage healthy lifestyles and good emotional health
A wellbeing week is to be developed in conjunction with Children’s Mental Health Week (usually first week in February). 
RSHE and PE subject leads develop a working group to establish a wellbeing network.
Sep – JuneAssistant head, and PE/RSHE subject leadersSchool to participate in mental health week first week of February. 
Sports and wellbeing network established within the school with representatives from both staff and pupils with an established purpose and course of action.
Leadership and management 
Subject leaders need a deeper understanding of their roles so that they can be fully accountable for their area(s) of responsibility. 
Audit of governors’ skills, providing training where necessary so that they fully understand their role and responsibilities
Professional accountability for all staff is developed through leadership training, line management and development opportunities.
Effective appraisal and development systems are in place. 
Improved information given to the school governors.
Audit of the school governors’ knowledge and skills takes place, and if required, relevant training to be put in place in response to any knowledge or skills gap identified.
Sep – JuneHeadteacher, subject leaders, chair of governors50% of all teaching staff to have attended CPD training by the spring term. 
Audit of school governors’ skills and knowledge with action plan to be in place by end of autumn term.
Questionnaire for both staff and school governors to be circulated by spring half-term to assess their views on both the measures taken, and courses attended. To be completed by June.

Source 6: Board of governors

In conjunction with the staff surveys, which are circulated each autumn term via email, to prepare for the new headteacher joining St Andrew’s, the assistant headteacher (pastoral) interviewed key members of the board of governors, to gather their reflections on school performance.

Chair of governors15 years

Vice chair12 years

Staff governor1 year

Parent governor6 months

Parent governor2 years

Parent governor6 months

Need to find out more? Click Here
To find out about the courses we have on offer: Click Here
Join the Course: Click Here
Scroll to Top