Education: Leadership and Management

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How to Apply

In a globally connected and rapidly changing world the skills needed in the future are very different to those needed today. It is argued that education offers each individual and nation the best chance of navigating an unknown future. This course explores the unique challenges facing educational leaders in the 21st century as they learn to cope with uncertainty and adapt to evolving conditions.

Why study Education: Leadership and Management?

The MA Education: Leadership and Management is designed for those who are interested in becoming, or presently working as, middle and senior managers and leaders in schools and other educational organisations in the UK and internationally. Drawing on internationally based research this course offers a critical and culturally based understanding of leadership as a social and ethical practice.

This course promotes the development of leadership competencies through practice based inquiry in which theories may be applied, or developed, within the workplace. The course will develop individual leadership skills and competencies as well as the capacity to lead and manage change.

Course structure

The course is structured over three trimesters (thirds) and totals 180 credits (90 ECTS). It is available in campus-based mode, low-residency mode or online-only. You can start in September or February and will study for 60 credits per trimester. In your first trimester you will study the MA Education core module Education: Economics, Politics and Society (30 credits) plus your award core module (30 credits). In the second trimester you will study the core module Social Science Research (30 credits), plus two 15-credit elective modules, one of which may be a shared elective from another MA award. In your third trimester you will research and write your Dissertation (60 credits) on a topic relevant to your award. If you take the low residency option, the face-to-face teaching of all modules will take place during two 2-week intensive blocks (typically in September and February).


Trimester 1

In your first trimester you will study two compulsory core modules totalling 60 credits.

Core Module:

Education: Economics, Politics and Society (30 credits) explores how education can be understood in a complex and globalised world where it is seen by many governments as a significant factor in economic growth and competition. You will learn how to question the policies and organisations involved in defining the purposes, content and outcomes of education.

Award Core Module:

Leadership in Practice: part 1. (30 credits) explores how leadership is exercised in your own educational setting through analysing a specific example of improvement and change. Taught sessions will provide an understanding of the ways in which leadership impacts on the climate and culture of a school or educational setting you will explore theories of organizational change. You will then undertake a work-based action research project in order to critically evaluate a change initiative and your impact as a leader.

Trimester 2

In your second trimester you will study one compulsory core module, and two 15 credit elective modules, one of which may be a shared elective from another MA award. This will total 60 credits.

Compulsory Core Module:

Social Science Research (30 credits) sets educational research within the broader context of the social sciences and introduces a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and methods from which you can select the most appropriate for your dissertation.

Elective Modules:

Leadership in Practice: part 2. (option 15 credits). An important aspect of leadership development is concerned with the way that our life experiences influence our values, beliefs and practice as a leader. This module explores the narratives that we tell as leaders and how our educational vision is shaped by our past experiences. Drawing on research into ‘learning lives’ you will be supported to write a reflective case study of self that articulates the influences that have shaped your professional identity and will inform your future development.

Leadership principles: context and challenges. (option 15 credits). This module will develop your critical thinking and practical understanding of the principles of leadership. Time will be spent in sessions exploring current international research and thinking in order to challenge and develop an understanding of what constitutes effective leadership within particular contexts.

Leadership and coaching. (shared option 15 credits). Coaching is recognised as a significant, and distinctive, leadership style. This module will help you to gain an understanding of the differences between coaching, mentoring and leadership. You will have an opportunity to develop your coaching skills in your school or setting. These experiences will enable you to reflect critically on what constitutes effective coaching and its value as a leadership style. 

Trimester 3

In your third trimester you will research and write your Dissertation (60 credits) on a topic relevant to your award.

Dissertation (60 credits) enables you to study and research an aspect of education theory, policy or practice in depth, guided by an expert to arrive at your own synthesis of a topic to take forward into your career.

Course assessment

There are no written exams on this course; each module is assessed through coursework. This typically involves an essay of 2,500 words for a 15 credit module or 5,000 words for a 30 credit module. For some modules assessment may be by verbal presentation or online activity. The dissertation is 15,000 – 20,000 words and focuses on an area agreed with a specialist tutor, who will offer guidance on structure and academic writing.

All modules are taught through lectures, small-group seminars and individual tutorials.

Teaching methods

For the campus-based mode of study, some lectures and seminars will take place during the day, whilst others may be in the evening or at weekends. For low-residency students the teaching will be concentrated into two 2-week blocks (typically around 6 hours per day). The course also makes extensive use of online teaching, particularly for the low-residency and online only modes. This will include a combination of individual and shared learning using the Bath Spa University virtual learning environment.

Staff / Tutors

  • Nicholas Sorensen: Award Leader for Educational Leadership and Management: Nicholas has over 25 years of professional experiences working in secondary schools, including six years as the headteacher of a large comprehensive school in Wiltshire. He joined Bath Spa University in September 2008 as a Senior Lecturer in Continuing Professional Development and he also teaches undergraduates on the Education Studies degree course. He is currently undertaking research into expert teachers and has a particular interest in the improvisational nature of teaching and leadership.
  • Sara Layen: Senior Lecturer: Early Years: Sara has been involved in the field of education for more than 20 years, with experience of teaching, primary school leadership, Local Authority early years consultancy and as Early Years Advisor (Wiltshire LA). She joined Bath Spa University as Senior Lecturer on the Early Years Professional status programme in June 2010 and currently teaches on the Educational Studies undergraduate programme. Her research interests include exploring the role of autobiography and narrative life stories in leadership development.
  • Dr Richard Riddell: In an educational career that spans over 37 years Richard has gained considerable leadership experience at Local Authority level, he was a Director of Education in the City of Bristol for seven years. Since then he has combined academic scholarship and research with being an education consultant and as joint Head of the Education and Student Team at Amnesty International UK. His research interests are focussed on the concept of ‘urban pedagogy’ and the ways in which educational leaders can and should address the needs to disadvantaged children.
  • Dr Ghazala Bhatti: Ghazala has been involved in education for well over two decades. She has taught in schools, further education and then since 1996 in higher education. She has been Director of different Master’s Programmes at two British universities for over 15 years before joining Bath Spa University in 2012. Ghazala has supervised Master’s dissertations of several local and international students from many countries in Europe, South East Asia, the Far East and Africa. Some of these students developed their Master’s work further and went on to complete their doctoral degrees. Ghazala’s research is concerned with social justice in educational setting- including schools and universities.

Application method

Download the application form from

For special information for international students, including entry requirements, visits to your country, fees and scholarships go to

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

For all enquiries please contact the CPD Administrator:

Telephone: +44 1225 875593


Entry requirements

You will need to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognised higher education institution. The content and subject matter of your degree is open. For overseas, non-native speakers of English, a minimum language level of IELTS 6.5, or equivalent, is required.

Career opportunities

A qualification that combines practical and theoretical knowledge provides a good basis for applying for middle, senior or leadership roles in schools or other educational institutions. Many students on our educational leadership awards gain promotion within 12 months of completing the course. A good grounding in academic work that supports further research at PhD level and eventual employment in an academic institution.

What students say...

This is a new MA and it will start in the academic year 2013-14.