You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Educational leadership: context, strategy and collaboration

This module explores the external facing and strategic aspects of leadership and management in education, including the impact of environmental and internal organisational factors, leadership theories, perspectives and values, leading change strategy and collaboration and partnerships. By taking an experiential learning and reflective practitioner approach this module helps you to examine current issues and concerns in your own practice settings and to be involved in peer collaborative learning. The module uses a blend of learning methods and includes a printed Reader containing material by major authors in the field and a DVD providing UK and international examples of leadership practice.

Vocational relevance

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


E856 is an optional module in our:

E856 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.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses.

Request your copy today

What you will study

This module enables you to explore current thinking on educational leadership and management, and encourages 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 this module.

This module will enable you to develop your:

  • knowledge and understanding of key themes and issues in educational leadership and management: theories, values, change and strategy, partnerships and collaboration
  • understanding of the impact of changing contextual factors on educational organisations
  • investigative understanding and skills
  • ability to critically analyse and evaluate theoretical ideas and practice
  • ability to reflect on and apply module ideas to your own practice both within your own organisation and with the community and other organisations and professionals with whom you work
  • 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 audio-visual material 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.

This module 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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will be responsible for assessing your assignments and providing detailed feedback on them. Tutor support will be provided both through group activities in online forums and real time online tutorials.

You will be expected to use the links on the E856 website to access articles and chapters relevant to your assignments and to use these and the University library’s electronic search facilities to search for other materials relevant to your assignments.

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.

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

Future availability

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


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.

Entry requirements

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.

A minimum score of 7 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is recommended for students for whom English is not a first language. Please see their website for details.

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



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

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

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

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

Ways to pay

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

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 conferencing 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.

If you have a disability

In this module you are expected to use a wide range of resources. Most of the study materials will be delivered as web pages, pdf files and web-based tools. Many tutorial and student-led discussions and activities will be carried out in text-based discussion forums online. To complement this interaction, some discussions and collaborative activities will take place as live events in our audio-conferencing environment, which combines voice, text and images.

We have tried to avoid using inaccessible resources, but some material that is core for the module may not be easily accessible if you use assistive technology. Some students may find the amount of reading from different sources challenging. In most cases there will be sufficient alternative activities and materials to enable you to complete assignments successfully. Where this is not the case, you will be given individual support by your tutor in collaboration with other University staff. Support for access to Library resources is available from the Library Helpdesk.

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.