module specification

ED7130 - Curriculum Leadership (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Curriculum Leadership
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
9 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
161 hours Guided independent study
30 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   4,000-5,000 word essay
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Evening
Spring semester North Wednesday Evening

Module summary

The module aims to:
 critically analyse how decisions on the content, organisation, delivery and assessment of the curriculum are located within historical, social, cultural, economic, political and ideological contexts.
 develop a critical understanding of what characterises and enables effective learning and teaching in a school setting.
 develop a critical understanding of the way different approaches to leadership influence curriculum planning, delivery, development and pupil learning.
 To reflect on the strengths and limitations of the research methodology used in the context of designing and conducting a dissertation.
 To further develop academic study and enquiry skills.


The interface between the fields of curriculum and leadership will be explored through both theoretical study and a small-scale, practical, qualitative research project. 

Students will be introduced to different theories of leadership in the context of contemporary schooling and will be encouraged to critically analyse how these may be applied in different contexts and critiqued according to a range of ideological perspectives.  Different ideas about human knowledge and learning will be considered in terms of how leadership of the curriculum is transacted in contemporary schools.  Current ‘orthodoxies’ will be challenged.  In particular, the dominant ideological and political position of the National College will be explored as an exemplar of official policy, linked to current national accountability policies and mechanisms.

Students will consider the roles and responsibilities of curriculum leaders in contemporary schools in different phases of education, exploring how different dimensions of the curriculum are led and managed in the context of school-located historical, political, social and ideological circumstances.

The leadership of curriculum change and innovation will be examined through scrutiny of case study research.  This will introduce the design of a piece of qualitative research in a school setting, demonstrating the centrality of context.  Data gathered from the visit will be used to develop emerging ‘grounded theory’, enabling students to develop skills in the analysis and interpretation of practical evidence.

Learning Outcomes LO1 - LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is distinctive in its research-based, reflective, collaborative pedagogy.  Students will work together to prepare resources, review articles, discuss issues, co-design and evaluate research tools, and interpret research findings.
2 hour lecture/ workshop sessions in the evening will be complemented by a 5 hour site visit, small group tutorials and 5 hours’ directed learning, including a reflective learning journal, within the online learning space for the module.  
The module leader will design a range of workshop opportunities and guided independent study resources, to support students in explicitly applying their learning from other core MA in Education modules.
Opportunities for team teaching with the leader of the Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment module will be built into the delivery schedule.

Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this module will be able to:
1. demonstrate appreciation and critical understanding of a range of perspectives relating to the leadership of curriculum design, organisation, delivery, assessment and development;
2. demonstrate awareness of the dynamic and contingent nature of educational policies, school curricula and learning provisions and how these might be affected by a range of social, historical, cultural and political processes;
3. consider the efficacy and implications of different leadership approaches, styles and structures and processes;
4. articulate an emerging personal theory of curriculum leadership.

Assessment strategy

Formative Assessment
Assessment criteria will be shared at the outset of the module and used to focus and guide reflection throughout.
Students will make a short presentation or lead a discussion during the course of the module on an aspect of curriculum leadership.  This will be followed by peer and tutor feedback. 
The tutor and peers will provide feedback on directed learning activities undertaken in the online learning space for the module.
Students will be encouraged to submit drafts of their final assignment for formative comment.
Summative Assessment
100% by coursework: one 4000-5000 word essay/ research report to be submitted during week 15.


Core Text:

Brook, JS and Normore, AH (2018) Foundations of Educational Leadership: Developing Excellent and Equitable Schools, London: Routledge

Preedy, M; Bennett, N and Wise, C (eds) (2012) Educational Leadership. Context, Strategy and Collaboration. London: Sage

Wise, C; Bradshaw, P and Cartwright, M (2013) Leading Professional Practice in Education. London: Sage

Other Texts:

Brown E., Day C., Gu Q., Harris A., Hopkins D., Leithwood K., Sammons P. (2010) ‘Ten StrongClaims about Successful School Leadership’, available from [URL:].
Brundett, M & Duncan, D, 2010, Leading curriculum innovation in primary schools, Nottingham, National College for School Leadership. Available at primary-schools.pdf 
Bush, Tony (2011) Theories of Educational Leadership & Management. London: Sage
Busher H, Harris A, Wise C (2000) Subject Leadership and School Improvement, PCP, London
Cornbleth, Catherine. (1990) Curriculum in Context, Basingstoke: Falmer Press.
Day, C., Sammons, P., Hopkins, D., Harris, A., Leithwood, K., Gu, Q., Brown, E., Ahtaridou, E., and Kington, A. (2009) The Impact of School Leadership on Pupil Outcomes, Final Report to DCSF, RR108, London, Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Eacott, S and Evers, C (2016) New directions in Educational Leadership Theory, London: Routledge.

Fielding, M. and Moss, P. (2010) Radical Education and the Common School, London: Routledge.
James M, Pollard A, ed. (2011) Principles for Effective Pedagogy, International Responses to Evidence from the UK Teaching & Learning Research Programme, Routledge 
Hargreaves, A. (2007) the Long and Short of Educational Change, Education Canada Vol. 47 (3)
Hargreaves, D, 2010, Creating a self-improving school system, Nottingham, National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services. Available at 
Harris, A., Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P. and Hopkins, D. (2007) ‘Distributed leadership and organizational change: Reviewing the evidence’ in Journal of Educational Change. 8 (4), 337-347
HM Government, 2010, The importance of teaching, CM 7980, London, The Stationery Office
McCombs, B and Whisler, J S, 1997, The learner-centred classroom and school: Strategies for increasing student motivation and achievement, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass
McCombs, B and Whisler, J S, 1997, The learner-centred classroom and school: Strategies for increasing student motivation and achievement, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass
Ofsted, 2008, Curriculum innovation in schools, HMI 070097, London, Ofsted. Available at type/Thematic-reports/Curriculum-Innovation-in-schools 
Perkins, D, 2009, Making Learning Whole: How seven principles of teaching can transform education, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass
Watkins, C, 2010, Learning, performance and improvement, London, International Network for School Improvement no. 34

Journal of Leadership Education
Journal of Research on Leadership Education, Sage
Leadership and Policy in Schools

The EPPI site ( includes summaries of published research on a range of topics
Fullan, M. (2006) 8 forces for leaders of change.  Available from: [ 06/8ForcesforLeaders.pdf].
National College for Leadership
Ofsted 2011, Excellence in English: what we can learn from 12 outstanding schools (100229), available from: [].
Ofsted, 2010, Supplementary subject-specific guidance for inspectors on making judgements during subject survey visits to schools (20100015), available from:
Robinson, K. New Educational Paradigms, RSA, You Tube, available from:
Teaching and Learning Research Programme site ( has downloadable publications and research digests.