University of Chester

Programme Specification
Anglican Church Schools Studies CUC (Level 7)
2017 - 2018

Church Universities' Certificate (Postgraduate) (Level 7)

Anglican Church Schools Studies

Anglican Church Schools Studies

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester Riverside Campus



Classroom / Laboratory, Distance,

1 year

3 Years

Triannual - January - April - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

National Society and Chester Church of England Diocese have been involved in the development of this programme.

QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for bachelor's degrees and master's degrees in Theology and Religious Studies (3rd Edition, 2014) utilised as appropriate.

APP Assessment Board

Thursday 15th December 2016

Programme Aims 

  • Critically reflect on the nature of Church of England schools and their purpose, and the various stakeholders’ role in developing it;
  • Facilitate a critical analysis of some of the philosophical, historical and socio-political influences upon the development of Church schools;
  • Develop critically analytical perspectives upon past, current and future of Church schools;
  • Initiate an exploration of the nature of Christian distinctiveness in terms of Church of England schools and critically analyse it.
  • Critically reflect on the nature and purpose of Religious Education, and how this may differ in theory and practice within Church schools;
  • Develop critically analytical perspectives upon pedagogies of RE;
  • Critically reflect on approaches to RE in Church of England schools, how it could be implemented and critically analyse it.
  • Develop a deeper knowledge of central concepts and doctrines of Christianity, and critically analyse how these beliefs may be variously expressed in the lives of Christians historically and today;
  • Develop a knowledge of the development of the Christian Church in history and critically analyse reasons for its development;
  • Develop critically analytical perspectives upon the challenges to Christianity today and how they are met;
  • Critically explore approaches to the teaching of Christianity in Church of England schools, how it could be implemented and critically analyse it. 

At the end of the programme students will have:

  1. Critically engaged with education theory and practice and demonstrated informed perspectives about the nature and purpose of Church Schools in the context of current and historical debate (CD7801).
  2. Interrogated, examined and applied a range of theoretical ideas and frameworks for thinking conceptually about the importance of what Christian distinctiveness means and how this can be applied in practice (CD 7801, 7802).
  3. Critically appraised concepts of change, continuity and effectiveness in Church schools in relation to the educational improvement agenda (CD 7801, 7802).
  4. Developed key knowledge, understanding and skills in teaching Church Schools that are underpinned by increased self-awareness and an enhanced capacity for criticality and meaningful reflection (CD 7802).
  5. Identified and initiated approaches to promote and evaluate impact, influence and outcomes in the teaching in the Church Schools context (CD 7802, 7803).



Thinking or Cognitive Skills 

  • Made critical use of research evidence (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);
  • Formulated valid conclusions that link theory to practice (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Thought independently about essential issues, concepts and ideas (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);.

Practical Skills 

  • Critically reflect upon aspects of Church school practices in the light of key theoretical perspectives (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Made effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice (CD 7803).

Key Skills


  • Written to academic standards required at M level  (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Engaged in meaningful debate and critical discussion (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Read critically (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Synthesised written and oral information (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Maintained a learning journal where appropriate (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);.

 Information Literacy and Technology

  • Used the University's VLE to access information (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Used electronic research skills (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Accessed databases for research and information (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Used the University's e-Portfolio to maintain a professional learning journal where appropriate (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);.


Improving Own Learning and Performance

  • Critically reflected on professional practice (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Developed new pedagogical and leadership skills (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Used initiative and managed own learning (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Made independent use of supervision (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);.


Working with Others

  • Engaged in group presentations and dissemination (CD 7803);
  • Worked with professional colleagues to share ideas, research and good practice (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);.


Problem Solving

  • Generated and applied new knowledge (CD 7803);
  • Analysed complex concepts (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);.


Transferable Professional Skills

The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);;
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional  (CD 7801, 7802, 7803);

The Church Universties' Certificate (Postgraduate) 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, or who have a desire to work in Church schools.

All students throughout the programme gain an increased self-awareness derived from a critically reflective analysis of experience education in Church schools and which supports the professional practice and helps to set goals for future professional development.

Students who have already completed Church Universities' Certificate (Level 4) will be barred from enrolling on this Level 7 Certificate.


Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
CD7801 7 Church Schools Ethos, Administration and History 20 Comp
CD7802 7 The Teaching and Inspection of Religious Education in Church Schools 20 Comp
CD7803 7 Christian Theology 20 Comp

Exit Awards: None

Target awards:

60 credits at Level 7 entitles a student to a Church Universities' Certificate (Postgraduate)


The Level 7 Certificate is open to graduates who will normally be involved in school/education based workplace.

Applicants will normally be in a role in an educational setting or be aspiring to be so. 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 7.0, with a writing score of no less than 6, and will be invited to interview. English as a Second or Other Language students who are resident in the UK will be invited to interview and asked to present evidence of their qualifications in English. At interview, International and ESOL students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their effective speaking and listening skills.

Students who have previously attained a Church Universities' Certificate at Level 4 will not be able to gain admission to the Church Universities' Certificate (Postgraduate).

There are no QAA benchmark statements for postgraduate study specific to Education. The Church Universtities' Certificate (Postgraduate) draws on the QAA (2014) Master's degrees characteristics at Level 7 for Theology and Religious Studies. assuring the achievements represented by the qualification are appropriate and represented consistently. 

  • a high degree of independence and self-direction in learning, taking responsibility for their own learning experience
  • a high degree of engagement, interaction, and independent thinking and ability to find their own source material and literature
  • knowledge of appropriate research methods and adoption of adequate research skills, with good use of academic journals as well as books
  • an advanced ability to use relevant original/primary sources as well as secondary literature
  • skills necessary for the production of original research (although the degree of originality appropriate to doctoral research is not expected at this level of study), with an ability to adopt a critical distance from their source material and to evaluate it critically, reaching their own independent conclusions
  • awareness of the complexity of the subject matter, and the range of sources that are appropriate to their work
  • critical reflection on their own particular standpoint, and a good understanding of the methodological and hermeneutical issues that are raised
  • an ability to be critically reflective, with integration of academic literature relating theory and practice, where students are drawing on practical experience

The Church Universities' Certificate (Postgraduate) aims to develop an individual's professional knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to education to Church schools in their current context by building on the experience and expertise which students will bring with them to the course. It is recognised that in practice this requires tutors to facilitate situated learning, some of which will be experiential in nature and driven by the learner themselves and this will influence the learning and teaching methodologies to be utilised. The desired pedagogy moves away from traditional notions of learning towards supporting the development of reflective, autonomous learners engaged in contextualised, work-based learning. From the very start of their course, students will be supported by a University tutor and have access to University facilities and resources.

At Level 7 the Programme learning and teaching strategies aim to build on this level of understanding through the introduction of a range of perspectives and the development of criticality, and to provide 'safe' opportunities for views and beliefs to be challenged, reviewed and discussed. Learning is further enhanced and progressed with tutors' teaching, experience, knowledge, reading and analysis of policy shifts, theories and methodologies that are applicable to the topics covered within the Programme.

At the heart of all teaching and learning are the essential skills of critical analysis and reflection. The Programme's learning and teaching strategies aim to enable students to draw on the knowledge and experience they gain in the context of their own professional environment in order to draw out the learning and to help them to link this to theory, research and policy. In doing so, a reflective and critical approach to professional issues and concerns is fostered. To do this, tutors will provide 'safe' opportunities for views and beliefs to be discussed and challenged and for both understanding and insight to be achieved.

Approaches used on the Programme are informed by accepted adult learning principles and teaching and learning methods are designed to engage self-directed learners in utilising previous experience and drawing on prior learning to address real-life issues and problems in their own workplace. This student-centred approach, which emphasises a process- rather than a content-driven curriculum, is characterised by active learning, participative groupwork and creative methods of encouraging learning, together with the setting of tasks that are relevant to the individual student's needs. A range of methodologies is employed which takes account of best practice and is compliant with the Faculty Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy. These methodologies include:


  • Lectures
  • Group work
  • Presentations, discussions, debates
  • Directed tasks
  • Written assignments
  • Independent research
  • Setting-based teaching and learning activities
  • Personal contextualised reflection
  • Individual or group tutorials
  • Students leading parts of sessions
  • Formative self- and peer assessment
  • Use of the University 's Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) including dedicated module sites providing a range of specific materials to support learning.

On each day of delivery it would be expected that the first input/ lecture would be an introduction to the topic alongside level 4 students. Following this seminars, tutorials and web materials will all be separate and specifically designed for teaching and learning at Level 7.


Blended learning 

Learning undertaken at the University is in a technology-rich environment that creates a flexible approach to learning for part-time students.

We will maximise the advantages of module learning spaces for group and individual online activity linked to learning tasks. Reflection and online aspects of teaching, learning and assessment will increase in line with the advancement of the University's VLE. We are committed to offering a range of teaching and learning experiences and will continue to accommodate face-to-face interaction, peer learning and group work.


Assessment Methods

Assessment tasks on the Church Universities' Certificate (Postgraduate) are based on an ‘assessment palette' of different assessment methods. Each will comprise one component. Elements are described in the module descriptors. The Faculty of Education and Children's Services is committed to principles of assessment that:


  • Support formative assessments that provide feedback and constructive guidance;
  • Support summative assessments that indicate clearly how criteria have been met and that are consistent and comparable;
  • Enable students to demonstrate their achievements against the Level at which they are studying and national agendas;
  • Promote learning;
  • Inform planning and Programme development;
  • Support manageable assessment tasks within an agreed timeframe;
  • Enable students to reflect on and take personal responsibility for their own learning. (Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy, 2011)

The methods employed below are designed to meet these principles.

Holders of the qualification will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for understanding learning, teachings and practices in Church schools 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

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