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Leading professional practice in education

This module explores the internal-facing aspects of professional practice of leadership and management in education, specifically the curriculum and the learner’s role, leadership of internal-facing change and leading professional development. By taking an experiential learning and reflective practitioner approach, this module is closely linked to examining current issues and concerns in your own practice settings and through peer collaborative learning with other students. The module uses a blend of learning methods, including an online study guide, a module reader of selected chapters by major authors in the field, and a DVD with UK and international case examples of leadership practice.


Start End England fee Register
10 Oct 2015 Oct 2016 £1416.00

Registration closes 17/09/15 (places subject to availability)

Click to register
This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.

What you will study

This module will help you to explore current thinking on educational leadership and management, and encourage effective integration of theory and practice in developing your leadership skills. Designed to meet the professional development needs of teachers, middle and senior managers, and others working in educational and related organisations, the module will develop your understanding of educational leadership themes and concepts, as well as your skills of critical reflection, analysis and communication. You do not need to have a designated leadership post to benefit from E855.

The learning outcomes for E855 enable you to develop:

  • your knowledge and understanding of key themes and issues in educational leadership with particular reference to organisational change, leading learning and curriculum development, learner voice, professional development and it's evaluation
  • your investigative understanding and skills
  • your ability to critically analyse and evaluate theoretical ideas and practice
  • your ability to reflect on and apply module ideas to your own practice both within your own organisation and with the community and other and other organisations and professionals with whom you work
  • your communication and team work skills.

Online group activities are an integral part of the module, closely linked to the assignments, enabling you to learn interactively, working with other students and your tutor. The DVD is designed to extend your understanding of practice beyond your own personal setting, to help you draw on alternative contexts and perspectives to reflect on and develop your own practice, and develop your understanding of the importance and value of diversity and cross-cultural/national perspectives in educational leadership.

The assignments will enable you to apply what you learn to your own professional context. The end-of-module assignment (which takes the place of an examination) is a small scale leadership project that will both develop you as a leader and benefit your organisation.

E855 is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of practitioners both in the UK and more widely, from primary phase teachers through to college lecturers, heads of department, head teachers, those working in early years and youth work settings, and more specialised educational practitioners.

Vocational relevance

National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) applicants who hold the Masters in Education (Leadership and Management) can use their prior learning in their NPQH application.


This module can only be studied as part of a qualification (see below for the relevant qualifications). 

You must hold a bachelors degree from a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body, or a qualification at equivalent level.

The module is taught in English. Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


E855 is an optional module in our:

E855 is one of the modules you must select if you want to name your degree MA in Education (Leadership and Management) or Master of Education (Leadership and Management).

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.

Study materials

What's included

Study material and activities are provided online only by means of a dedicated website which also provides access to a range of electronic tools, including real-time online tutorials and online forums. All the online video material is also supplied on DVD. You will be expected to search for other materials relevant to your assignments, and the module will provide you with help and guidance for your literature searching.

You will also be provided with access to Masters degree in Education qualification website, where additional guidance materials will be found.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

The study materials are presented online, with online tutorial support and extensive use of student forums. Your tutor will be responsible for assessing your assignments and providing detailed feedback on them. Tutoring support will be provided through group activities in both online forums and real time online tutorials. You will be expected to use the links on the E855 website to access articles and chapters relevant to your assignments and to use these and the University library’s electronic search facilities to locate and read further relevant articles and materials.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and the end-of-module assessment.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code E855
Credits 60
OU Level Postgraduate
SCQF level 11
FHEQ level 7
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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