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Unit information: Future Leaders in Contexts of Change (Teach First) in 2014/15

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Unit name Future Leaders in Contexts of Change (Teach First)
Unit code EDUCM0031
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Orchard
Open unit status Open

EDUCM0026, EDUCM0027 and EDUCM0028


Independent Self Study (Teach First)

School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will seek to extend participants’ understanding of the nature of leadership within the classroom to include the challenges and opportunities of leadership in educational organisations at all levels and in the context of institutional, local, national and global changes. Following a review of contemporary organisational and leadership theories, and associated research, the unit will focus on topics such as organisational cultures, how leaders learn and what they do, decision-making, strategic management, issues of organisational power and politics, and the leadership and management of change. These topics will be considered in the context of institutional, local, national and global policy and participants will be invited to reflect upon specific management and leadership issues in organisations with which they are familiar.

The aims of this unit are to enable participants to:

  • understand the key characteristics of contemporary educational organisations;
  • understand the complexities of leadership in contemporary educational organisations;
  • evaluate the social, political and cultural factors that impact on the management of change at institutional, local, national and global levels;

Research Methods Training will enable participants to:

  • present the main philosophical and methodological positions within social science research with special reference to educational leadership;
  • assess the significance of contemporary theory and relevant research for understanding specific educational organisations and their cultures;
  • consider critically theory, research and professional knowledge about the role of ethical leadership in the management of educational change;
  • explore the extent to which concepts and ideas highlighted in the research and theoretical literature can be applied in different educational contexts and different political and cultural settings.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the unit participants will have:

  • acquired a firm conceptual grasp of contemporary theories of organisation , leadership and the processes of strategic and change management;
  • evaluated the scope and applicability of theories of organisation, management and leadership for understanding a wide range of contemporary challenges for educational leadership in the current and possible future policy contexts;
  • critically engaged with the literature and issues around ethical educational leadership;
  • reflected critically on their own professional circumstances and applied theoretical perspectives and ideas within their own professional contexts;
  • drawn upon relevant theories to critically analyse and propose solutions to specific problems and issues in a particular organisation

Specific research methods outcomes are that participants will have:

  • formulated a relevant and appropriate research question;
  • engaged critically with influential literature in the ELMA field;
  • evaluated research-related documents which have employed a range of research approaches and methods based on differing epistemologies
  • constructed a sustained, coherent and well-reasoned argument in which the participant draws effectively on literature and applies it to the specific school content in which they are situated;
  • have made decisions regarding their future learning needs, in particular in the area of data collection and analysis techniques.

Teaching Information

Given the nature of the programme, with participants dispersed around regional schools and working on a full time teaching timetable, the teaching will be delivered through a mixture of workshop days, on-line synchronous discussion groups, tutor directed activities and asynchronous on-line tutorials. Each participant will have access to both joint unit resources and a ‘personal learning space’ which they will be able to adapt to their own needs and to facilitate learning.

Typically this will be the format of delivery: 3 x 7 hour one day sessions at University of Bristol (21 hours) 1 x 2 hours, 4x1.5 hours, and 2 x 1 hour synchronous electronic meetings (10 hours) 269 hours of independent self study.

Assessment Information

Oral Presentation and supporting 2,000-word written description, of a contemporary challenge for aspiring educational leaders situated in the participant’s own professional context. It will be marked on a Pass/Fail scale.

Successful completion of the oral presentation and supporting written description is necessary for the participant to progress to the 4,000-word assignment.

Following formative feedback on the oral and written presentation, from both tutors and peers, this work will then be written up in a 4,000-word assignment which draws on an appropriate range of the theoretical and research literature to reflect on the arguments. This will be marked on a literal five point scale (A-E), the grade of which will constitute the final unit grade.

All formal marking will be the responsibility of staff working within the Graduate School and, as such, will conform to our generic M-level criteria and marking scales.

Reading and References

Key texts for this unit can be found among the international research journals found in the Graduate School of Education Library, including the on-line journals. In particular:

  • Educational Management, Leadership and Administration
  • School Effectiveness and School Improvement

Bush, T. (2011) Theories of Educational Leadership and Management (4th Edition), London: Paul Chapman

Hoyle, E. and Wallace, M. (2005) Educational Leadership: ambiguity, professionals and managerialism, London: Sage

Harris, A (2012) Leading System Wide Improvement; International Journal of Leadership in Education 15.3: 395-401

Day, C., Sammons, P., Leithwood, K., Hopkins, D., Gu, Q., Brown E., Ahtaridou, E. (2011) Successful School Leadership: Linking with Learning and Achievement, Oxford: OUP

Wrigley, T., Thomson, P., Lingard, B. (2012) Changing Schools: alternative ways to make a world of difference, London: Routledge

Carter-Wall, C. and Whitfield, G. (2012) The Role of Aspirations, Attitudes and Behaviour in Closing the Educational Attainment Gap, London: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Other books will be recommended when the leadership approaches have been decided on.