University of Chester

Programme Specification
Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) PGDip
2015 - 2016

Postgraduate Diploma

Educational Leadership (Faith Schools)

Educational Leadership (Faith Schools)

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester campuses;  educational and professional settings

Continuing Professional Development


Classroom / Laboratory, Distance,

2 Years

5 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

QAA (2010) 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 disseminations;
  • 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 Diploma in Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) 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 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 Comp
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 Comp
ED7109 7 Negotiated Study 1 20 Optional
ED7110 7 Negotiated Study 2 40 Optional

Postgraduate Diploma (Faith Schools):120 credits. 80 credits must have a faith-based focus.
Module CD7601 @ 20 credits is mandatory

Module CD7610 @ 20 credits is mandatory. 

Any other modules totaling 80 credits will be allowed but must have a faith –based focus (this can include an APEL claim or a NELM)

Exit award of Postgraduate Certificate (Faith Schools): 60 credits. 40 credits must have a faith-based focus.
Module CD7601 @ 20 credits is mandatory.

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

The Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) has been accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. Students successfully completing the PgDip 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 Diploma in Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) 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 7.0

There are no QAA benchmark statements for postgraduate study specific to Education. The PG Diploma Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) draws on and extends the QAA (2010) 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 Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) aims to develop an individual's professional knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to leadership and management in their current context by building on the significant 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, much 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 the heart of all teaching and learning on the PG Diploma Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) programme 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.

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.

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)


Assessment of Prior Learning

Students may apply for credit as a result of undertaking NCTL programmes, or credit for work-based activities, as part of the PG Diploma in Educational Leadership (Faith Schools).  In all cases of claims for credit, evidence must be provided to demonstrate that the learning for which a student claims credit has been appropriately audited and attested. Credit for prior learning can be claimed where this learning is appropriate to the PG Diploma Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) programme, which will be governed by the University's Principles and Regulations, in particular Section F Regulations Governing the Assessment of Students.

In assessing AP(E)L at Level 7,  submissions will be awarded credit when they:

  • Clearly identify, evidence and critically reflect on key areas of learning.
  • Critically examine and analyse how the learning has been informed by wider theory and/or practice, for example with reference to chosen theoretical perspectives, peer reviewed sources of opinion, external information or review.
  • Demonstrate original/innovative thinking or ways of working in relation to current best practice.


The programme will offer the following assessment palette:

Assessment Methods

Assessment tasks on the PG Diploma Educational Leadership (Faith Schools) are based on an ‘assessment palette' of six assessment methods. Each will comprise one component. Elements are described in the module descriptors.

Assessment task A

An Essay (100%)

Assessment task B

A Reflexive Journal (100%)

Assessment task C

A Reflective Sketchbook (100%)

Assessment task D

An Analytical Case Study (100%)

Assessment task E

A Presentation and Oral Examination (100%)

Assessment task G

Element   1    A Professional Portfolio

Element   2    A Critical Commentary (100% combined)



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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