University of Chester

Programme Specification
Educational Leadership PGCert
2016 - 2017

Postgraduate Certificate

Educational Leadership

Educational Leadership

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester campuses;  University Centre Shrewsbury; educational and professional settings

Continuing Professional Development


Classroom / Laboratory, Distance,

1 Years

3 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

QAA (2010: updated 2015) Master's degree characteristics

Chartered Management Institute

Faculty of Education and Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes Postgraduate Module Assessment Board

Wednesday 22nd July 2015

Programme Aims  

  • To facilitate critical reflection and informed professional judgement on national policy initiatives and changing contexts related to leading in educational settings
  • To allow critical understanding of leadership, encompassing theories, concepts and practical applications facing leaders in times of change
  • To enable evidenced and effective responses to current challenges and to facilitate confidence and  innovation in leadership   

At the end of the programme students will have:

  • Critically engaged with education policy and practice and demonstrated informed perspectives about leadership in educational settings.
  • Interrogated, examined and applied a range of theoretical ideas and frameworks for thinking conceptually about the process of leadership in different contexts.
  • Critically appraised concepts of change, continuity and effectiveness in leadership in relation to the educational improvement agenda.
  • Developed key knowledge, understanding and skills in educational leadership that are underpinned by increased self -awareness and an enhanced capacity for criticality and meaningful reflection.
  • Identified approaches to promote and evaluate leadership impact, influence and outcomes.



Knowledge and Understanding

  • Critically engaged with theoretical frameworks and literature;
  • Harnessed insights into subject knowledge;
  • Critically reflected on the ways in which research methodology supports professional enquiry;
  • Applied critical considerations when undertaking research;
  • Made effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice.

(CD7201, CD7202, CD7601, CD7602, CD7603, CD7604, CD7605, CD7606, CD7607, CD7608, CD7609, ED7109, ED7110)

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

  • Made critical use of research evidence;
  • Formulated valid conclusions that link theory to practice;
  • Thought independently about essential issues, concepts and ideas.

(CD7201, CD7202, CD7601, CD7602, CD7603, CD7604, CD7605, CD7606, CD7607, CD7608, CD7609, ED7109, ED7110)

Practical Skills

  • Critically reflected upon aspects of professional practice in the light of key theoretical perspectives;
  • Made effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice.

 (CD7201, CD7202, CD7601, CD7602, CD7603, CD7604, CD7605, CD7606, CD7607, CD7608, CD7609, ED7109, ED7110)

Key Skills

  • Written to academic standards required at M level;
  • Engaged in meaningful debate and critical discussion;
  • Read critically;
  • Synthesised written and oral information;
  • Maintained a learning journal where appropriate.

Application of Number

  • Selected and used appropriate research methodology, methods and applications for data handling.

Information Literacy and Technology

  • Used the University's VLE to access information;
  • Used electronic research skills;
  • Accessed databases for research and information;
  • Used the University's e-Portfolio to maintain a professional learning journal where appropriate.

Improving Own Learning and Performance

  • Critically reflected on professional practice;
  • Developed new pedagogical and leadership skills;
  • Used initiative and managed own learning;
  • Made independent use of supervision.

Working with Others

  • Engaged in group presentations and dissemination;
  • Worked with professional colleagues to share ideas, research and good practice.

Problem Solving

  • Generated and applied new knowledge;
  • Analysed complex concepts.

Transferable Professional Skills
The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

(CD7201, CD7202, CD7601, CD7602, CD7603, CD7604, CD7605, CD7606, CD7607, CD7608, CD7609, ED7109, ED7110)

The Postgraduate Certificate Educational Leadership is designed primarily for educators serving in all types of schools (including academies and Free Schools), colleges, independent training providers as well as professionals working in Children's Services, who already have a responsibility for leading or aspire to a leadership role and who wish to study at Postgraduate Level.

The programme comprises a series of 20 credit modules allowing students to select modules that align to their own organisations context and their personal interests. Modules include:

The Professional Development Review (PDR) module which enables participants to review their personal biography and to reflect critically on their professional learning journey so far. 

Leadership Theory into Practice provides the foundations for developing a deeper understanding of how key leadership theories impact on the practical work of modern leaders of education. This module particularly supports those who wish to bring in credits through the APEL process.  

Leading Change, supports individuals in acquiring the skills necessary to led change effectively.

Leading Change in Faith Schools, supports individuals in acquiring the skills necessary to led change effectively in a faith school setting.

Leading Faith Schools, is a mandatory unit for those who wish to gain the Faith Schools named award and looks at the distinctive nature of leadership and management in faith schools which make up over a third of schools in England. 

Power, Policy and Politics in Educational Leadership, looks at the interplay between these three related dimensions and there impact on leadership in a education system which is complex and undergoing continuous radical change.

Creativity, Innovation and Leadership,  explores leadership through the context of innovative and creatives practices. Key theoretical practices will be drawn from reflexivity, values based education, and creative pedagogy.

The Psychology of Leadership, considers the psychological basis that underpins leadership, including notions of authentic leadership, trait theory and elements of neuroscience and leadership. 

Leading Governance, focuses on the key role that governance has in educational leadership and considers how it should be more than stewardship and frames governance within a regulatory and accountability framework. 

Globalisation of Education, explores how globalisation and trans-national policies inform state led regulations which subsequently impact on education in the UK. This module considers the similarities between the UK education system and those of other countries.

Systems Leadership, and multi-agency working should enhance the outcomes for children and young people. A key political driver, enacted through SLE, LLE and NLEs, this module allows individuals to consider systems leadership in the context of school/college improvement.

Coaching and Mentoring, is key to developing outstanding leadership and high performing teams. In this module you will learn about key coaching and mentoring theories and participate in coaching staff.      

All students throughout the programme gain an increased self-awareness derived from a critically reflective analysis of experience of leadership and which supports the professional practice and helps to set goals for future professional development. Students are supported to use this needs diagnosis to inform their construction of the most suitable MA study pathway, including the appropriate use of  the Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and/or Negotiated Experiential Learning Modules (NELMs) in their personalised learning programme. 

NELMs: Where a National College leadership programme has not been completed, a student will be advised to take one or more NELMs.

In engaging students in critical reflection on real-time aspects of their leadership role, NELMs provide a vehicle for developing theory-informed practice and enable students to enhance their workplace capability.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
CD7032 7 Research design 20 Optional
CD7201 7 Professional Development Review 20 Optional
CD7202 7 Coaching Principles, Processes and Skills 20 Optional
CD7601 7 Leading in Faith Schools 20 Optional
CD7602 7 Leadership Theory into Practice 20 Optional
CD7603 7 Power, Politics and Policy in Educational Leadership 20 Optional
CD7604 7 Creativity, Innovation and Leadership 20 Optional
CD7605 7 The Psychology of Leadership 20 Optional
CD7606 7 Leading Change in Schools 20 Optional
CD7607 7 Leading Governance in Schools 20 Optional
CD7608 7 Globalisation of Education 20 Optional
CD7609 7 Systems Leadership 20 Optional
CD7610 7 Leading Change in Faith Schools 20 Optional
ED7109 7 Negotiated Study 1 20 Optional
ED7110 7 Negotiated Study 2 40 Optional

Postgraduate Certificate Educational Leadership: 60 credits
Modules /NELMs @ 20/40 credits (Optional)

The programme is designed to recognise former certificated and experiential learning through the Accreditation of Prior Learning process.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership has been accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. Students successfully completing the PG Cert programme will also receive a CMI award in Strategic Leadership and Management at Level 7. This award is fully embedded within the progamme, so students will not have to undertake any additional work. Registration with the CMI will be done at the time of module registrations.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership is open to both graduates and non-graduates with professional experience although applicants will normally be graduates. Non-graduates will be invited for interview.

Applicants will normally be in a leadership role in an educational setting (normally, but not always, a school) or be aspiring to leadership. It is possible for applicants who are not in work to undertake the Programme through a combination of university - based taught modules.

International students will need to evidence a recent IELTS score of no less than 6.5.

There are no QAA benchmark statements for postgraduate study specific to Education. The PG Certificate Educational Leadership draws on and extends the QAA (2010: updated 2015) Master's degree characteristics at Level 7 assuring the achievements represented by the qualification are appropriate and represented consistently.

Master's degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of research around educational leadership
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship
  • Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge about leadership
  • Conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship about leadership and to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level
  • Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.

The programme adheres to the central University Learning and Teaching Strategy. From this, the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services have developed a local level response in the form of the Faculty Learning, Teaching, Assessment Improvement and Development Plan. This commits to pedagogical principles which include:     

  • Promoting professional engagement and reflective practice;      
  • Encouraging independent and autonomous learning;         
  • Supporting continuing professional development;     
  • Valuing students' professional experience and prior learning;        
  • Supporting diversity and personalised learning;       
  • Encouraging dynamic and participative learning;
  • Promoting collaborative learning;
  • Encouraging Internet and Web-based approaches;         
  • Supporting reflective and Practitioner enquiry.

For further details, please access:

The programme includes a range of approaches to learning and teaching:

  • University-based Modules- These modules are held at the University in technology rich environments. A range of methodologies are employed which take account of best practice and maximise active learning, sensitive to the learning styles and needs of students. These methodologies include lectures, seminars, group work, directed tasks, independent research and individual, group tutorials and blended learning.
  • Independent Learning -Independent Learning is a philosophy of education which students are encouraged to adopt. It includes the opportunity to work with a supervising tutor who offers support as students work towards completing assessment tasks but is fundamentally a more over-arching concept about an autonomous approach to work.
  • Electronic Support Materials - The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an essential feature of the Programme. Each module has a dedicated module site where key information about the module and a range of materials and interactive elements to support learning and assessment, is available.
  • Electronic Tutorial Support – Students are able to contact their module tutor or module supervisor by email whenever they wish. Tutors will endeavour to respond to student queries within 3-5 days but often sooner. Tutorial support includes face-to-face tutorial support meetings and the opportunity for students to engage with online tutorial support. Individual tutorials can also be offered using a range of technologies such as Skype and Facetime.  This is an important feature of the Programme as it enables students who may not live in close proximity to the University to access tutorial support remotely.

The programme strives to maintain a diverse assessment palette and rigorous, consistent assessment practices which aims to enable students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways.




All modules have a handbook that complies with University and Faculty Guidelines. All handbooks are available to students on the dedicated module space on Moodle (The University's VLE).

The module handbook includes:       

  • Module aims and learning outcomes;       
  • Outline content;       
  • Assessment method;       
  • Procedures for submission of work;        
  • Recommended reading;
  • Appropriate grading criteria;
  • Links to relevant documentation and University Policy eg. The Diversity and Equality Policy, The Disability, Gender and Race Equality Scheme, guidance on regulations governing the assessment of students.


All assessed work is graded according to a percentage scale 0-100 using the University's grading criteria linked to the appropriate QAA requirements All marking procedures comply with the central University Assessment Policies. Feedback to students is available electronically using the Turnitin and Grademark systems. Feedback on the work is intended to identify strengths and points of development. Assignments are not pre-marked.  Students may receive formative, verbal feedback on plans or on a specified amount of work identified by the tutor.

Assessment criteria are communicated to students through Programme and Module handbooks with specific assignment guidance explaining the important features of each assignment.




Holders of the qualification will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for leading educational organisations requiring the exercise of initiative and responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations. Students will be independent learners with a commitment to their own  continuing professional development and that of others.

The University of Chester is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

All participants in and contributors to the Programme will be encouraged to become involved in the development, management, delivery and evaluation of the effectiveness of the Programme. Students are allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) who will:

  • Act as the student's contact with the University
  • Maintain an overview of a student's academic progress
  • Provide academic advice and guidance to students
  • Provide specific advice regarding module choice and review academic progress. This can be provided by face-to-face tutorial(s), email tutorial(s) or telephone tutorial(s)
  • Discuss academic strengths and areas which need development based on examples of work
  • Develop a relationship based on shared knowledge of the student's progress
  • Assist in completing the e-Portfolio
  • Provide a reference, if required, based on information provided by the student


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