Senior Leader Apprenticeship plus MA in Educational Leadership

Study level: Postgraduate
Professionally Accredited Programmes
A group of professionals with notebooks and papers on the table in front of them, smiling at the camera.

This Senior Leader Apprenticeship plus MA in Educational Leadership provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the principles underpinning excellent leadership, and the skills and confidence to implement them.

Start date



In schools

Course code

See how to apply

Study mode

Work-based learning with online study


2 years part-time


Apprenticeship levy funded

Age phases


Course overview

If you are a middle or senior 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 theories to encourage you to reflect on how your learning can improve your professional practice.

Our SLA and MA in Educational Leadership is a taught master’s degree delivered via an online or blended (online and in-person) model. The blended version includes two mandatory 3-day residentials near Milton Keynes2.

Our course maintains that:

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

Accreditation and professional recognition

Chartered Management Institute

Chartered Management Institute

This course is aligned to the Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard in affiliation with the Chartered Management Institute(CMI). Candidates who successfully complete the End Point Assessment (EPA) will also gain CMI Chartered Manager Status (CMgr)1. You will have membership of the Chartered Management Institute for the duration of the course.

Course details

In the first year, you will be presented with a clear set of values, behaviours, and approaches through the teaching of theory, key skills, central themes and fundamental principles of effective leadership. The online materials offer 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 will be presented with a variety of case study exercises that draw out the central themes. Critical evaluation and the development of effective, individual approaches are encouraged with the support of your university-assigned mentor.


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


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 and 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 through your dissertation. This dissertation is a project involving the leadership of change, drawing on the opportunities for educational leadership in your own context.


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


  • In this module, you will plan a substantive piece of individual research into leadership within your 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 will implement your research project, investigating an area related to your 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.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

Entry requirements

In order to gain entry to the course you must:

  • Hold 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 Headteacher, Principal, Deputy Head, Assistant Head, or a middle management position such as Head of Department, Head of Year, or Head of House.
  • Hold a Grade C or above GCSE (or equivalent) in English and Mathematics.

For more information about this course, entry requirements or your educational setting suitability, speak to our team.

Contact us

Fees and funding

Student Full-time Part-time
UK Not available Apprenticeship levy funded
EU Not available Not available

Levy-paying organisations in England can draw down funds from the Apprenticeship Levy to cover the full course fee of £14,000 including residentials. No course fees are paid by either the student or levy-paying schools.

A university bursary of 100% of the course fee is available to those wishing to include the MA Educational Leadership.

Additional costs not included in the levy are:

  • Travel to and from the two 3-day residentials in Milton Keynes.

How to apply

Frequently asked questions

  • The course focuses on developing you into a confident, effective, and inspirational leader who draws on both theory and practice to apply strategies that impact positively on school and college performance.

    • There is no tuition fee payable for the course, as fees are met by your employer’s apprenticeship levy.
    • Transformational for you and your employer through the Action Research project.
    • Three entry points: September, January, and May.
    • Improves your leadership toolkit and enables you to take your next career steps and lead with confidence.
    • Provides you with an up-to-date understanding of the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of senior leaders in education.

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

  • Our SLA and MA in Educational Leadership is a taught master’s degree delivered via an online or blended delivery model (online and in-person). The blended version includes two mandatory 3-day residentials near Milton Keynes2.

    We will introduce you to a comprehensive range of academic material including theories of leadership, human psychology and current research on memory and learning. These are linked to practical application and relevance in leading modern educational institutions. Furthermore, the course uses real-life case study materials.

    The course comprises six mandatory modules, with study culminating in a final Action Research project. It is typically studied on a part-time basis over two academic years (six school terms).

    The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around four contact hours per week in the first and second year. The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

    The course is studied on a modular pathway with optional exit awards that would result in the award of either Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership (PGCert 60 credits Level 7) or Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership (PGDip 120 credits Level 7).

    The course is available for September, January, and May start dates.

  • This course will be assessed using a variety of methods, depending upon the module.

    Assessment methods 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’

    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 is graded Fail, Pass or Distinction only.

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

    The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progress towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

  • On successful completion of the course, you will have gained valuable knowledge and practical experience in educational leadership. You will have developed varied skills including strategic planning, staff management, curriculum development, policy implementation, and stakeholder engagement. You will have led a transformation project in your organisation and expanded your leadership skill set.

    You will also gain Chartered Manager status (CMgr) and either Membership of (for those who attain a pass) or Fellowship of (for those who attain a distinction) the Chartered Management Institute. You will also attain the Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship qualification and a Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership.

  • There may be opportunities to work towards a PhD with the Centre for Global Learning.

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, National Institute of Teaching and Education (NITE) and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


    Satisfactory health clearance and enhanced criminal record disclosure may be required. As part of the health clearance checks you will be required to provide information about your immunity and vaccination status. You will also be required to provide information about your COVID-19 vaccination status. We therefore recommend that you are fully vaccinated including the COVID-19 vaccine. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility to go on placement(s). Placements are provided at the placement provider’s discretion. The University is therefore unable to guarantee the provision of placements or the location and type of placement offered.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

You may also like