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Senior Leader Apprenticeship (Schools & Colleges), plus an MA in Educational Leadership

Senior Leader Apprenticeship (Schools & Colleges), plus an MA in Educational Leadership

There is no tuition fee payable for the course, as fees are met by your employer’s apprenticeship levy. You can start the course in September, January, or May each year.


Our Senior Leader Apprenticeship (Schools & Colleges) with MA in Educational Leadership is a taught Master’s course that is delivered via a blended delivery model (online and in-person). It includes two 3-day residentials at our campus near Silverstone. The course is designed for current or aspiring senior leaders. You will be in an existing leadership or management position in a primary or secondary school or college in the UK or internationally.

The course aims to improve the quality of leadership in schools and provide students with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required for the Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard in affiliation with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Successful candidates will have the opportunity to gain the CMI Chartered Manager Status (CMgr) by successfully completing the End Point Assessment (EPA). The University offers a bursary payment to cover the cost of the final top-up module. This is a unique opportunity to gain an apprenticeship as well as a full Master’s qualification in Educational Leadership.

The course materials have been written by successful head teachers who have combined their experience in leading schools with extensive research into the literature on leadership theory. The result is a taught course, which will expose you to real leadership expertise. It aims to give you a comprehensive understanding of the principles that define effective leadership and the personal skills to implement them.

Our course maintains that:

  • The skills of effective leadership can be learned and improved.
  • There is no single and exclusive inherited leadership characteristic.
  • By developing an understanding of the core principles of effective leadership and authentically applying these principles, responding appropriately to the context, then the abilities of a leader can be improved.

The course promotes the principle that effective leadership makes a significant difference to the culture of a school, the well-being and effectiveness of its staff, and the quality of teaching and learning, all of which impact outcomes for pupils. The course develops authentic practical skills through the use of The Harvard Business School Case Study Method, in which analysis and discussion of professionally useful approaches to real-life scenarios help to develop the skills and principles of effective leadership.

In summary:

  • Combine the credibility of a university-led course with experience-based development as a senior leader in education
  • Professional coaches assigned to support you in the workplace, assess your development and review progress with your line manager
  • Employers can take full advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy to fund the Senior Leader Apprenticeship course
  • Obtain a Senior Leader Apprenticeship Level 7 professional qualification
  • Have the opportunity to gain CMI Chartered Manager Status (CMgr) by successfully completing the End Point Assessment (EPA).
  • Have the opportunity to obtain an MA in Educational Leadership by completing one additional module.

The course is available as a blended delivery only, which means you will have some face to face learning activities, as well as access to online teaching, webinars and materials. The online learning platform allows you to work and study flexibly to suit your commitments. The face-to-face sessions consist of two conferences, each of three days in length, which enable you to consolidate learning, obtain valuable insights from experienced guest speakers and share ideas with peers.

How are you assessed?

Assessments are designed to allow you to focus on areas of interest within the learning outcomes of each module. Case studies are used widely to consolidate learning, and you are encouraged to use your experiences and knowledge of your workplace to further understand how the theoretical approaches underpin practical examples. Assessment throughout the course is varied, engaging and designed to stimulate learning. All candidates will be required to create a portfolio, which will demonstrate the development of Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs), both on the programme and within the workplace.

Senior Leader (Schools & Colleges) Assessment methods:

At the end of the programme you will undertake an End Point Assessment (EPA) process, which culminates in the award of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship. This assessment period usually lasts up to 5 months, and provides you with a professional standard qualification. The EPA is compiled of two discrete assessment methods, and are graded Fail, Pass or Distinction only.

  • Assessment method 1: Strategic business proposal and a presentation with questioning
  • Assessment method 2: Professional discussion which is underpinned by a portfolio of evidence

In addition, you will be assigned a professional coach to support your journey, who will arrange progress meetings with you and your employer. These meetings support your progress and allows your employer to stay in touch with the learning you are undertaking. Additionally, pertinent themes for forthcoming assessments are also agreed in these meetings, which can align with school/college focus areas.

Assessment methods for the Senior Leader Apprenticeship / MA in Educational Leadership:

  • Online written & oral reports
  • Workplace case studies
  • Project proposal
  • Major project

Entry criteria:

As this is accessed via the Apprenticeship Levy within an organisation, you must be employed for the duration of the course, which also includes the EPA period. The following must also apply:

  • An honours degree awarded by a higher education institution at a minimum of a second class (2:2) or equivalent professional experience
  • Be employed in a school or college for the duration of study and hold a leadership position such as Head teacher / Principal, Deputy Head, Assistant Head or a Middle Management position such as Head of Department, Head of Year or Head of House
  • Applicants, whose first language is not English, should have an IELTS of 6.5 overall, or equivalent
  • Grade C or above in GCSE (or equivalent) English and Mathematics

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