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Growing Together NPQ Spotlight - Dan Riley

A Spotlight on… The NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture with Dan Riley from Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) 

In this blog series, we shine a spotlight on the NPQ courses we have on offer in partnership with Teach First, including showcasing some of our fantastic programme members. 

The NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture (NPQLBC) is a course designed to support with consistent, inclusive and supportive practices in school. We all know the phrase ‘strategy eats culture for breakfast’ and this course dives into how to establish a clear vision and deliberate raft of routines and policies to lead to the positive culture every school strives for. The link between a calm, safe environment and achievement is undeniable, which is why this course is designed to promote learner progress through clear approaches to behaviour. All NPQs are open to all education staff in school, so whether you are on SLT in charge of behaviour, a non-teaching head of year, or other type of pastoral leader or learner support services, this course would benefit your knowledge and skills. 

Dan Riley was a member of the first cohort of the NPQLBC back in November 2021 and passed his course in the autumn term of 2022. He has previously been a pastoral leader, and is now the Head of History at PACA in Brighton. Dan knew that having an NPQ on his future job applications would give him a boost but equally felt that his experience working at two schools during his career left his view ‘somewhat narrow’. He has spoken about how he ‘wanted more access to pedagogy but wasn’t sure where to look nor had the time ringfenced due to day to day pressures’. The NPQLBC gave him the perfect place to network and dive into reading the evidence base as a starting point to transforming his approach to his own school environment. 

The NPQLBC offers numerous benefits to individuals seeking to develop as specialists in their roles, particularly in the areas of behaviour management, school culture, and developing others. By participating in this qualification, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with experienced school leaders and subject matter experts to translate new knowledge into practical changes in your own practice as well as that of your colleagues. The programme provides a flexible and tailored blended learning experience, featuring tangible examples and addressing your specific development needs.  

Throughout the course, you will acquire the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to lead effective approaches to behaviour, pupil well-being, and an equitable whole-school culture. Modules cover various topics, including teaching, school culture, enabling conditions for good behaviour, complex behavioural needs, professional development, and implementation. Dan particularly enjoyed the content on implementation and shared how the course prompted him to have a ‘more considered approach to the role’. He has found that the research has supported him in having a ‘better understanding of medium/long term goals and how to implement and drive change’. 

Ultimately, anyone committed to creating a supportive, inclusive, and high-achieving learning environment would find the NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture valuable in their professional development journey. Dan valued the headspace and protected time for reflection which he feels is a key benefit of the course: 

“Teaching is tough, tiring and time consuming. We get bogged down in the minutia of our roles so much that it is difficult to create time and space to consider the bigger picture. The NPQ facilitated reflections and debate about the effectiveness of my role. It threw up so many questions for me on what impact my role could have if I approached them slightly differently without a big impact on workload. Vocalising them in a safe space gave me both reassurance that I was doing a good job but also inspiration that I could do better.” 

We are so thrilled the course had such a profound impact on Dan and have been happy to hear about his career developments since. The next step in his career is looking to become an assistant principal at some stage, perhaps after completion of the NPQ in senior leadership. Best of luck Dan! We look forward to your application! 

Does this sound like the next step in your career? Or could there be a different leadership course for you? Find out more information about our courses and how to apply here: or get in touch with a member of the Growing Together team at

By joining one of our NPQ courses, such as the NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture educators can unlock their leadership potential and make a significant impact on education, empowering students and shaping the future of learning. We offer a range of NPQ courses, including NPQLT (Leading Teaching), NPQLL (Leading Literacy), NPQLTD (Leading Teacher Development), NPQLBC (Leading Behaviour and Culture), NPQSL (Senior Leadership), and NPQH (Headship). So, no matter where you are in your career, we have a course that's right for you.  

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