MA Educational Leadership / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
School Improvement

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC70882
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Education
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


' The historical development and current context of school improvement.
- The relationship between school effectiveness and school improvement.
- Central models and theories of school improvement.
- Initiating, implementing and embedding change.
- Improving classroom practice.
- Target setting and external pressures for raising pupil achievement.
- Turning around ineffective schools.
- Creating a learning structure.
- Critical success factors in school improvement - lessons from case studies and consultancy.
- Future perspectives - school improvement in the 21st century.


The course unit aims to develop students' knowledge and understanding of practical approaches to school improvement and of current theories, issues and debates in the field.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

- Demonstrate their understanding of the major approaches to school improvement;
- Critically analyse the main conceptual and theoretical issues underpinning such approaches;
- Understand the range and complexity of school improvement efforts;
- Apply research findings from school improvement programmes to their own situation and to other educational contexts;
- Act as advocate for school improvement efforts in their own institutions.

- Critical analysis of appropriate literatures;
- Understanding the complexity of the relationship between theory and practice;
- Appreciation / conceptualisation of current issues in the field;

Teaching and learning methods

The course unit will be taught using a variety of approaches including, group lectures, group activities, presentations by students, fieldwork and small group tutorials.

Assessment methods

Essay or case study

Recommended reading

Ainscow, M and West, M (Eds) (2006) Improving Urban Schools: Leadership and Collaboration, Buckingham: Open University Press

Barth,R (1990) Improving Schools from Within. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Connor, C and Southworth, G (1999) Managing Improving Primary Schools: Using Evidence Based Management and Leadership, London: Falmer

Hopkins, D Ainscow, M and West, M (1994) School Improvement in an Era of Change, London: Cassell

Reynolds, D et al (1996) Making Good Schools: Linking School Effectiveness and School Improvement, London: Routledge

Sergiovanni, R J (1994) Building Community in Schools, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Additional notes

This course unit is compulsory for students on the MEd Educational Leadership and School Improvement.

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