Exploring educational leadership: values, context and strategy

This module looks at the external facing and strategic aspects of leadership in education, including the impact of the internal and external context, the complexity of ‘wicked’ problems which face educational leaders, the values underpinning particular leadership styles and approaches, and how these impact on strategic change. This module considers practice in relation to leadership theories and perspectives, taking an experiential learning and reflective practitioner approach to help you to examine current issues and concerns across formal, informal and professional educational settings.

Vocational relevance

Exploring educational leadership: values, context and strategy (EE842) is designed to appeal to educationalists interested in developing learning of leadership in a wide range of practice settings and to contribute to current or future roles in relation to leadership. It will enhance your understanding of leadership, can support your professional development as a practice leader and your ability to provide educational leadership within an organisation or sector. It is also the second of three specialist modules in the Leadership and management route within our Masters degree in Education (F70).


EE842 is a compulsory module in our:

EE842 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 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
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.

What you will study

The module is divided into five sections around the key concepts of context, values and strategy.

The first section provides an introduction to the module and information about the various strands of learning involved: developing perspectives on leadership, learning more about the ways in which leadership encompasses both theoretical and practical elements, emphasising the importance of reading critically, and understanding that on this module ‘educational leadership’ is broadly defined, as such leadership is found in a wide range of professional contexts where training and ‘leading learning’ is involved.

The second section provides insight into the nature and importance of context in leadership. Drawing on a wide range of examples of leadership from both formal education and more general professional and training contexts and using sources from across the world, you will examine the ways in which the internal context of an organisation and the wider external context at local, regional and national levels can affect leadership approaches.

The third section focuses on values, including trust and social justice. You will consider the importance of power in relationships and critically examine how values-based leadership is treated in research readings. You will consider ethics in leadership, including ethical perspectives and some of the ethical dilemmas which emerge in leadership situations. You will continue to develop your own perspectives on leadership through this section, in terms of your own professional practice (or practice you are familiar with).

The fourth section of the module considers strategic leadership. You will examine theories which link leadership to significant embedded change at scale, considering what elements of leadership are important in such scenarios. You will consider the social dimensions of leadership and the way in which different leadership styles can influence change. You will also focus on ways in which technologies are increasingly important influences on leadership in terms of ‘digital strategies’ for change.

The final section focuses on the kinds of research skills which are appropriate to understanding the assumptions and the theories underpinning leadership research, to support your critique of leadership literature and, if appropriate, to prepare you for the final module in your masters qualification where you will plan or carry out a small-scale enquiry into a leadership topic relevant to you. This final section also provides the opportunity to review and critically reflect on the module as a whole, pulling together all of the strands that have been addressed and consolidating your understanding, your values, and your own professional learning.

As you progress through the module you will progressively take on greater responsibility for managing your own learning. Throughout, there is an expectation you will participate in both tutor group discussions and module forum discussions. The tutor group forums feed directly into the assignments.

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 throughout. You will be guided in how you can recognise and capture these skills.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll have a named tutor who will support your studies and mark and comment on your assignment work; you can also ask them for academic advice and guidance. You and your tutor will primarily communicate with each other through email and online tutorials. Tutorials are offered via online meeting rooms and support is also facilitated asynchronously in online tutor group forums and module forums. Tutors will also offer online sessions about aspects of the content of the module to the wider cohort of students on the module, which will be a good way to ‘meet’ other students and tutors. We will advertise the tutorials and wider online events before the module starts. Tutorials will be with your tutor, but some of the wider online events may be led by other academic staff associated with the module. We recommend you book online to attend tutorials and note the dates for the live online events.

Working with other students

There is no compulsory requirement for you to interact or collaborate with others in your tutor group, though there are clear advantages to doing so. Many students do this asynchronously through forums and social media, others choose to meet online. We know that the sharing of ideas and experiences with your peers increases understanding of the issues that are studied on this module and therefore there are some activities that benefit from working with other students.


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

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Exploring educational leadership: values, context and strategy (EE842) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2030.


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

You should be prepared for study at postgraduate level and must have the minimum of a:

  • bachelors degree (in any subject) from a UK university, or
  • professional qualification equivalent to a UK bachelors degree, or
  • qualification from a university outside the UK and equivalent to a UK bachelors degree.

Some knowledge and understanding of learning and teaching (around curriculum, pedagogy and assessment) will be expected.

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 overall score of 7.0 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

This module is designed to follow Educational leadership: concepts, change and challenges (EE841). To study EE842 you must have passed Learning and teaching: educating the next generation (EE830) or one of the discontinued modules EE811, EE814 or EE817.

You do not need to be employed in or have access to an educational setting or be in a formal leadership position to study this module. However, it is important that you have a professional interest in leadership and education and some experience of engaging with leadership and working with educational settings/situations. You will need to be in a position to be able to apply your learning to a relevant context or learning environment. In order to get the most out of your studies on EE842 you do need to have an educational context that you know well, to which you can apply what you learn. This may be somewhere you have worked in the past, or somewhere that you volunteer in some role.


Outside the UK

If you are studying outside the UK, you may find it difficult to participate in synchronous tutorials and communications due to time differences. If you can’t attend the synchronous tutorials or make synchronous communications, you can use asynchronous alternative methods, such as watching recorded tutorials and emailing questions.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Oct 2025 £2720.00

Registration closes 12/09/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2030.

Future availability

Exploring educational leadership: values, context and strategy (EE842) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2030.

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

Access to the module study materials via the module website. This includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • details of the assignments and appropriate guidance
  • online tutorial access.

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 Ventura 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). Our resources have been accessibility checked and information to support accessibility of these resources will be found on the module website, which is available during study. This includes alternative formats of the module materials where available, which may be extended in the future.

Where possible, we can make reasonable adjustments to facilitate your participation where a learning difficulty or disability may impact studying.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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