MA in Educational Leadership


Year one

A university tutor will be assigned to you, who will conduct a pre-course self-analysis discussion with you through online conferencing. The discussions aim to ascertain your current leadership experience and identify your aims for studying the course. There will also be opportunities to begin to talk about your final project, as it is an activity which will support the development of your leadership skills throughout the course. Your university tutor should also act as your main contact during course discussions and responses to case study materials presented online. In the first year, we aim to present you with a clear set of values, behaviours and approaches through the teaching of theory, key skills and central themes and fundamental principles of effective leadership. The online materials try and provide a rich and compelling narrative. They aim to explore theoretical and research-based evidence of effective leadership approaches, the importance of institutional culture and the needs of leaders and followers. You are presented with a variety of case study exercises which draw out the central themes, and critical evaluation and the development of effective, individual approaches to each vignette is encouraged.

This module aims to develop and enhance your understanding of the fundamental theories and principles which underlie effective leadership in schools. This is enriched by a varied collection of case studies from a range of settings. Students critically evaluate leadership concepts and apply them to their own practice.

This module introduces you to the importance of institutional culture. It explores analytical models which provide a research base for understanding how cultures operate in a school context. The module investigates the features of leadership behaviour that determine a school’s culture and how change is inspired and inhibited.

This module develops your understanding of the effective leadership of the people in a school setting. You will critically reflect on key themes such as teacher and staff management, lesson observation, target setting and performance.

Final year

The course focuses on the development of confident, effective and inspirational leaders who draw on both theory and practice to apply strategies that impact positively on school performance. In the second and final year, there will be a strong emphasis on the leadership of teaching and learning. You will have the opportunity to study best practice research in teaching & learning, the professionalisation of teaching, the science of learning and the practical implications of theory for classroom practice. The course concludes with an opportunity for you to apply the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the course to undertake an extended piece of individual action-research which will show theory turning to practice. This dissertation is a leadership of change project drawing on the opportunities for educational leadership in your own context.

This module aims to develop your ability to lead teaching and learning in a school setting and influence pupil outcomes. It aims to build expertise in the analysis of classroom performance, the science and theory of pedagogy and the development of teacher skills.

In this module, students have the chance to plan a substantive piece of individual research into leadership within their own context, applying theory to practice. You are supported with the additional research skills required, including online sessions on research methods and ethics in educational research.

Following the research proposal, you can implement your research project, investigating an area related to their professional practice. You will select an appropriate methodology, consider research design, methods and ethics. It should be presented in a written format to a Master’s level, interpreting your findings and making recommendations for its implementation.

In more detail...

If you have multiple years of experience in teaching and you’re a school leader, or aspire to be one, then this course could be for you. Designed by experienced head teachers, it incorporates a deep set of leadership theory to encourage you to reflect on how your learning can improve your professional practice.

We aim to provide a useful breadth of case studies across the course to highlight school-based issues across state-maintained, independent and specialist schools in primary and secondary settings. It also aims to integrate case studies from industries beyond education to help you gain a nuanced understanding of leadership.

The online teaching uses a sophisticated platform for a high-quality experience and helps you fit the course around the demands of your role. The taught modules and focus on teaching and learning are designed to help equip you with the skills needed to be an effective educational leader. The online Learning Platform provider may be subject to change.

  • Learn to apply your course to your job
  • Online, flexible study
  • Course content crafted by experience educational leaders
  • Designed to provide highly practical learning experiences
  • Suitable for leaders in all educational settings
  • Multiple start dates
  • 24/7 access to online learning materials
  • Designed to provide varied and engaging assessments
  • Leadership theory
  • Leadership of culture
  • Leadership of people
  • Leadership of teaching and learning

Online study including tutorials, group discussions, engagement with reading materials and case studies.

Assessment throughout the course is varied, engaging and designed to stimulate learning. It aims to include case study research, online discussions, written responses to real-life situations and longer written projects on ‘The Nature of Leadership’ and ‘The Leadership of Teaching and Teachers’.

In keeping with the course’s practical aspirations, you will also have the opportunity to complete an action-research project, in which you show how you apply theory to practice. This dissertation is a leadership-in-action or management of change project, and it should, therefore, involve the description and critical analysis of a process, over a period of time, rather than simply examining a theory or an issue.

On successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the principles that define effective leadership and use personal skills to implement them.
  • Integrate effective leadership theory into your professional practice.
  • Lead with confidence, implementing a clear vision for your school and helping teaching and non-teaching staff embody your desired culture.
  • Formulate processes that meet the performance, observation, target-setting and discipline needs of your school.
  • Critically evaluate the teaching and learning practice in education to identify opportunities for development.
  • Communicate with confidence and impact with other senior leaders.
  • Aim to progress in your career.

Please note that we are unable to guarantee any study abroad or international opportunities and that any such opportunities referred to on this webpage may be subject to additional costs (e.g. travel, visas and accommodation etc.), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the requirements in this regard, please contact the International Office for further details if you are an EU or International student.

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