Manchester Metropolitan University


Educational Leadership and Management

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Specialist research and teaching expertise within the Faculty's Education and Social Research Institute (ESRI)
  • Collaborative links with ESRI, including guests speakers and conferences
  • Study at our £139 million Brooks Building which has world-class facillities for teaching and learning
  • In the QS World University rankings for Education and Training, released by the Times Higher this week, the Faculty of Education was placed in the top 250 providers worldwide.

Student Profile: Kevin Foster on the MSc Educational Leadership and Management

Kevin Foster

"At present I am Phase Leader as well as Numeracy Coordinator at my school. Naturally, I would like to take on greater responsibility as I look to progress to Deputy Headship. Therefore I wanted to prepare myself sufficiently for the role by trying to underpin my practice with theory, hence strengthening my position within the market.

This MSc has been invaluable and I have restructured my thinking in the way I view the operation of schools, the role of managers within the setting as well as government policy and their agenda. I have thoroughly enjoyed my reading around ‘performativity’ and its impact on the whole ‘effectiveness’ and ‘improvement’ agenda and how this can potentially reshape teachers’ identities and professionalism in a fiercely competitive education market, through the employment of accountability procedures.

The most challenging aspect of the course for me has been finding the time to undertake background reading as I am a father with two young children. At times it has been difficult to leave them with others over the weekends to enable me to attend the library to complete my assignments or conduct further reading. It should also be mentioned that it was difficult to decide on a research question and sometimes this came at the very last minute.

However, I must commend my tutors for their time and understanding in guiding me through the whole process. They used their professional expertise and knowledge to help me through some very challenging material that sometimes brought a level of ‘uneasiness’. This unease I suppose is all part and parcel of studying at Masters level, but I guarantee that it is very much worth it in the end!"

Placement options

Whilst there are no formal placements, this course provides opportunities to gain practice experience in UK educational contexts and to undertake a dissertation allowing in-depth and extended study in an area of interest and relevance.


About the course

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Term 1 Units:

Introduction to Educational and Social Research Design

  • This unit is interconnected with the other full-time Masters awards and enables a consideration of the ways in which knowledge is generated in the field of educational leadership and management.

Leadership and Management in Educational Settings

  • This unit explores the different educational leadership discourses and relevant management theories and concepts.

Term 2 Units:

Students take two optional units that develop their ability to critically engage with published research and to develop their own research skills in support of their own fields of interest:

  • Collaborative Research Project
  • Globalisation, Social Justice and Social Change
  • Identity, Equality and Empowerment in Childhood
  • Independent Study
  • Key Issues in Managing Diversity, Disability and Special Educational Needs
  • Practice Based Project
  • Transformative and Ethical Leadership in Educational Settings 

Terms 2 and 3

  • Dissertation

Core Units

The dissertation is an extended piece of writing reporting on research undertaken independently by the student, guided by a supervisor.

Identification and definition of an appropriate research topic. Identification, location and critical review of relevant textual resources: literature reviews, documentary analysis, policy/professional documents, official statistics. Discussion and selection of an appropriate research strategy; developing a research proposal. Developing meaningful research questions from initial concepts, ontological/epistemological considerations, methodology/approach, ethical issues, (data) analysis, dissemination. Ethical clearance for research undertaken.  Implementation of the research and writing a research report and presenting research findings.

Introduction to Education and Social Research Design

This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the research design process. It will start with framing the issue and reviewing literature. Students will learn how to formulate research questions and hypotheses, and how in turn decisions made at this stage shape the research design. They will be presented with a selection of common research designs and a wide range of research data collection approaches and analytical tools. The focus of this unit is on the decision making process researchers need to go through, underpinned by political, methodological and ethical issues which need to be taken into account.  

Leadership and Management in Educational Settings

The unit will explore theories of leadership and managment and the complex ways in which they relate to practice/application in a  learning environment. 

The unit will provide an overview of current leadership and management theories with particular reference to those that are viewed as having particular relevance to educational settings.  Leadership and management discourses will be critically assessed and located within global contexts.  In particular, the relationship between organisational effectiveness, accountability and leadership will be analysed.  Additionally, students will have the opportunity to critically evaluate concepts relating to: leadership / management styles, organisational design, organisational structure, organisational culture, managing people and resources, and leading change.  Through this students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the complexities of leading and managing in educational settings.

Likely Optional Units
Collaborative Research Project

This unit aims to provide students with the practical and analytical skills needed to embark upon collaborative research. It is assumed that students will already have a grounding in theory and methodology and in the process of research design. This unit will thus allow students to apply it to a real-world research context. Students will work in small groups of 3-4 students through the process of research on a ‘real-life’ issue/problem, clarifying research questions and perspectives, deciding on a methodological approach, selecting data collection and data analysis methods, carrying out the project, writing up and dissemination. Throughout the unit, students will be expected to critically engage with the political and ethical implications of generating research knowledge (as well as practical challenges and constraints including word limits, and research issues arising from working together) and the ways in which theory informs practice as students develop research literacy.

Globalization, Social Justice and Social Change

This unit will explore the relationship between education, social justice and the state within a global context.  It will provide theoretical frameworks to enable students to develop critical understanding of educational inequalities in national, international and global contexts. The unit will also consider strategies adopted to address these inequalities.

Students will be introduced to the key concepts of social justice, globalization and identity. Students will be engaged in critical thought and discussion about the social, political, and economic mechanisms that perpetuate educational inequalities globally. Students will apply appropriate theoretical perspectives to case studies or their own professional contexts to explore implications for the development of more equitable practice and global citizens.

Identity, Equality and Empowerment in Childhood

By focusing on issues of personal agency and identity, the unit helps the student to establish their own critical positioning as a practitioner/professional in a childhood/youth setting. It enables students to identify and articulate effective methods of investigating the experiences of different  individuals to inform the critical development of structures and practices that support children. The unit will reflect on a range of philosophies, disciplines and ideas that can inform ways of enhancing equality, empowering individuals and communities. This unit complements the studies carried out in the unit ‘International comparisons of childhoods’ but can also be taken as an option unit by other programme award students.

The unit will draw on critical philosophical accounts of identity and inequality to consider how these accounts can inform research and practice. The unit will explore studies of personal learning and professional relationships to consider how individual agency can be nurtured and how tensions between individuals can be reduced. Students will be encouraged to consider the relevance of engaging in research to support their own areas of interest.

Independent Study

This unit allows students to articulate, plan, and pursue a topic of special/individual interest related to the student’s award area, and under the guidance of a tutor.

Participants will negotiate an appropriate area of study and demonstrate how this will enable them to meet unit learning outcomes and the ways in which it fits with the award area and their own learning.

The student will carefully consider and agree with the unit leader the approach to be adopted, carry out the agreed programme of work to support the agreed output, and reflect on the process of independent study.

The main teaching input will take the form of a set up tutorial, further guidance (including via email etc), and a point for formative assessment. Participants may, and are encouraged to, integrate other activities, such as conferences or courses in other programmes of study where possible and that support learning in the area under consideration.

Key Issues in Managing Diversity, Disability and Special Educational Needs (SEN)

This unit examines issues of exclusion and marginalisation, disability and difference, race and culture.  It focuses on critical issues for equity and diversity rather than on particular categories of special educational need. An emphasis is placed on understanding different perspectives (sociological, psychological, medical, educational, rights-based etc), on locating oneself in the debates and on implications for policy and practice. Students are introduced to a variety of issues for analysis and exploration from a range of contexts as well as drawing on specialist/discrete fields of knowledge such as autism, specific learning difficulties, social emotional mental health. In this way, the unit enables students to articulate and explore wider questions pertinent to theory, policy and/or practice in the field of inclusion, disability and SEN: how can education promote greater equity in an increasingly diverse society?  What does inclusion mean in an age of austerity and Globalization? How should we understand the complexities of inclusive education in a rapidly changing world? Drawing from such fields as critical pedagogy, disability studies and multicultural education, the unit explores critical theory and research and examines a range of alternative approaches to promoting social justice in education. Students are encouraged to pursue their own areas of interest using analysis, reflection and evaluation, students will undertake a presentation and report on an issue of their choice. 

Practice Based Project

This unit involves a significant (practice-based) independent study which critically addresses current knowledge in the field as defined by the students’ award and developed within the context of engagement with a practice setting and/or practitioners.

Introduction; reflective practice in education and approaches to reflective writing. Identifying an area of focus/setting(s) context, aims and objectives; ethical issues, preparation, negotiating access and planning for a practice engagement; dealing with difficulties and using IT for tutor support and research. 

The unit will enable students to undertake an independent study based on involvement in a practice setting(s) and/or with practitioners, which is related to their Masters study focus and future employment and/or practice interests. This will take the form of a practice-based project plan, and related critically reflective journal and evaluation. Students will be supported to choose a relevant and appropriate topic area, potential practice setting(s), and to negotiate access, but this will be led by the student with guidance, and access to particular settings cannot be guaranteed. Students will locate their topic within their setting context/practice engagement remit, relevant education/related policy and research, and discuss implications for own understanding and professional development. The form of practice engagement will vary depending on student focus of interest and practical constraints but might include observations/shadowing, professional conversations with practitioners/stakeholders/managers, visits to settings/organisations, participation in a professional network or meetings, online and library-based research, and other activities related to an educational or related setting/organisation. The practice engagement will normally always include agreed activities in the practice setting/s. The form(s) of engagement will be negotiated and agreed with the supporting tutor and relevant setting(s) but normally comprises 15 days (or equivalent) directly in practice-related activities.

Students should note that access to particular practice settings cannot be guaranteed and that access to settings for most activities normally also requires DBS clearance. Students should plan well ahead of the unit and with the supporting tutor to ensure that DBS clearance can be achieved in time and where this is needed.   

Transformative and Ethical Leadership in Educational Settings

This unit focuses on the developing understandings of transformative and ethical leadership in educational contexts. The unit will explore the contribution of educational leadership in delivering social change and equality. Additionally democratic leadership approaches will be analysed in educational organisations. Educational values in an age of performativity will be critically analysed and the notion of educational leadership as an ethical endeavour will be explored.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

Standard Manchester Met admission requirements for taught postgraduate programmes apply: applicants need to have an honours degree, or a postgraduate diploma or a professional qualification recognised as being equivalent to a UK honours degree. Other qualifications or experience may be acceptable if students are able to demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills to a UK honours degree standard.

Language requirements
International applicants need to demonstrate English Language requirements at IELTS 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any component, or equivalent.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for full- and part-time taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

Career options after the course

This programme is suitable for those engaged in or aspiring to leadership and management roles in educational settings.  It will develop and hone your skills and understanding in ways that enhance your workplace role and enable you to articulate and argue persuasively for well reasoned, innovative and strategic shifts in practice.

There are also opportunities to undertake research at the University's Education and Social Research Institute (ESRI), one of the leading centres for applied educational research and evaluation in the UK.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.