Educational leadership: exploring strategy

This module looks at the external facing and strategic aspects of leadership in education, including the impact of environmental and internal organisational factors, leadership theories, perspectives and values leading to an exploration of strategic change. This module also looks at the research behind the theories, takes an experiential learning and reflective practitioner approach and helps you to examine current issues and concerns in educational settings. The module uses a blend of learning methods, including opportunities for peer collaborative learning, although there is no compulsory requirement for you to collaborate with others in your tutor group. You will also have access to a Reader containing material by major authors in the field and audio-visual material providing UK and international examples of leadership practice.


EE812 is a compulsory module in our:

EE812 is an optional module in our:

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.


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
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module enables you to explore current thinking on educational leadership 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 leaders and others working in educational and related organisations, the module will develop your understanding of educational leadership, particularly in relation to strategic planning and change. You will engage in critical reflection and develop your analysis and communication skills as well as your understanding of research processes and thinking. You do not need to have a designated leadership post to benefit from this module, but it is desirable to be working in an educational organisation or have access to one, to aid your reflection and your research.

This is the second module in the Leadership and Management route of the Masters degree in Education. It is not essential to have studied Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) specifically to enable you to study this module as any of the Stage 1 modules in the Masters degree in Education will provide suitable preparation. 

This module will enable you to develop:
  • knowledge and understanding of key concepts, current debates, themes and issues in educational leadership and management and their application to practice in a range of contexts, including the wider political, economic and social ones;
  • knowledge and understanding of approaches to the practice of applied research and ethical issues relating to research and enquiry; the processes entailed in carrying out a small scale research enquiry such that you will be able to undertake practice-based enquiry in an area of educational leadership and management of interest to you; 
  • the ability to critically reflect on the area of your own educational leadership and management practice, following an appraisal and critical review of academic publications sourced for the purpose;
  • the ability to engage critically and creatively with debates relevant to the development of your own professional thinking about educational leadership and management, through critically analysing and evaluating, interpreting and assessing research methodologies and their evidence;
  • the ability to produce and present written text employing a suitable writing style, including defining and appropriately utilising key terms, concepts and theories in educational leadership and management.
The module content is covered through three themes which will look first at values and culture and their potential impacts on leaders and leadership. The next theme will go on to critique current thinking on the potential influence of external context, policy, working with other professionals and partnerships on the leadership of an educational organisation. The final theme will build on both of these to analyse the concept of strategic change and the role of leadership and leaders within it.
The module is designed to provide you with some of the tools, skills and knowledge you will need to research your own answers rather than providing a ‘tool kit’ or ‘how to’ approach to leadership. It builds on the work of the Stage 1 module (which developed skills in searching for, analysis and synthesis of academic literature) to develop tools for critiquing research methods and their outcomes. This work on data collection and methodology is done throughout the module so that you gradually develop your understanding and finally are able to plan and carry out your own small scale piece of research into an area of your practice.
Online group activities are a vital 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 views to reflect on and develop your own practice. Developing your understanding of the importance and value of diversity and cross-cultural/national perspectives in educational leadership is a key feature of the module. Throughout the module the emphasis is on the diversity of perspectives, knowledge-based decision-making and the need for critique and curiosity rather than bland acceptance. 
The three assignments that make up the continuous assessment for the module are timed to be at the end of each theme. They will be assessing your understanding of the concepts and ideas introduced in that theme along with your growing understanding of research. An important element of the assessment is your ability to apply your learning to your own practice and reflect critically on its implications. Throughout the module there is an expectation that you will take part in both tutor group discussions (as part of your guided study) and module forum discussions (as part of your independent study). Engaging in tutor group forums is an essential requirement of the module and the work you do here will feed directly into the assignments.  
As we stated at the beginning of this description, improvement in your leadership practice is an integral part of the module and the recording of your own professional development is an aspect that runs through the whole module. You will be given opportunities and tools to help you reflect on this and to produce a plan for how you might continue this development at the end of the module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You and your tutor will primarily communicate with each other through email and tutorials. Tutorials are offered via online meeting rooms and support is also facilitated asynchronously in tutor group forums.


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

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

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

Future availability

Educational leadership: exploring strategy starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2022, the last time we expect it to start. A replacement module, Exploring educational leadership: values, context and strategy (EE842), is planned for October 2023.


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

    Entry requirements

    We’ve designed this Stage 2 module to follow the Stage 1 module Educational leadership: agency, professional and change (EE811). You must have passed this or another Stage 1 module from the Masters in Education (F70).

    You should be prepared for study at postgraduate level and have the minimum of a bachelors degree (in any subject) from a UK University or an equivalent professional qualification. We warmly welcome applications from students who have an undergraduate degree level qualification from universities outside the UK and which is deemed equivalent to a UK higher education degree.

    You will need access to an educational setting that can be linked to your study in order to collect data for your dissertation.

    You need to be able to spend approximately 12-15 hours per week on studying this module.

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


    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.

    Future availability

    Educational leadership: exploring strategy starts once a year – in October.

    This page describes the module that will start in October 2022, the last time we expect it to start. A replacement module, Exploring educational leadership: values, context and strategy (EE842), is planned for October 2023.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

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

    Ways to pay for this module

    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, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All study materials are provided on the module website. This includes a Reader, the module study guide and activities, audio/video material and a range of tools to support your study, including real-time conferencing and online forums. 

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    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 (and where applicable: musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Other alternative formats of the module 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. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.