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Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change

With a strong focus on linking scholarship and research with your professional practice, this module explores aspects of educational leadership and management, particularly models of leadership, leading professional development and internal-facing change. It will help you to examine current issues and concerns in your own practice through collaborative learning with other students, contributing to your own identity as a practice leader. Through an experiential and reflective practice approach its focus on your individual professional development within your place of work means that it is essential that you have access to an education setting that can be linked to your study. 

Vocational relevance

This module is explicitly focussed on developing your educational practice. As such it will enhance your ability to provide educational leadership within your organisation or sector.


EE811 is an optional module in our:

EE811 is the recommended Stage 1 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
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

The module is divided into five sections. The first:
  • welcomes you to the Leadership and Management route within the Masters degree in Education
  • provides a brief overview of the field of educational leadership 
  • introduces some key concepts that will be used throughout the module, including: views of knowledge, agency, power and identity
  • gets you to set up your learning journal and to start reflecting on your professional practice
  • helps you to engage with the other students in your tutor group through a structured discussion forum
  • explains some of the research skills that you will develop as you work through the module (e.g. searching the literature, reading critically, evaluating ideas) 
The second section looks at views of leadership and challenges some commonly held notions of what it means to be a leader. Taking your practice as an educator as a starting point you will consider issues to do with agency, power and structure, and how they impact on you and other stakeholders, including students. Inevitably this involves thinking about your views of learning and the purposes of education. You will start to develop your ability to read individual research articles with a critical eye, and will extend the focus of your discussions with your peers in the tutor group forum. You will also have the opportunity to enrich your understanding of educational leadership by engaging with other students from a diverse range of educational contexts (e.g. schools, adult education and nurse education) across the world (e.g. the UK, Africa, the Middle East). The first assignment is linked directly to this section of the module.
The third section of the module looks at leading professional learning. You will start by exploring characteristics of effective professional development, linking your own experience with evidence from research and theoretical constructs such as power, agency and views of knowledge. Different approaches to professional learning will be examined and analysed, including traditional courses, Personal Learning Networks, communities of practice, and practitioner research. Given the focus on leadership, you will consider the implications of this work on the leadership of professional learning. You will refine your ability to search for relevant literature and reflect critically. Engaging in the discussion in your tutor group forum, which is an essential requirement of the module, will extend and deepen your understanding, thus contributing directly to your response to the second assignment. 
The next section of the module considers the leadership of educational change. You will examine theories of change and the management of change. You will analyse the practice(s) in your own setting in the light of these theories and concepts such as agency, power and identity. You will further extend your ability to engage critically with the literature (and your own practice) and to synthesise evidence from a range of sources. The compulsory structured tutor group forum discussion will enable you to collaborate with your peers to deepen your understanding of the issues of educational change, drawing on a wider range of contexts and multiple perspectives. The third assignment will focus on the leadership of educational change, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your growing expertise in making use of the literature and your ability to use concepts and theories explored in the module to analyse practice.
The final section 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 understandings and research competences in preparation for the final assessment (EMA) which accounts for 50% of your overall grade. 
As you progress through the module you will take on progressively greater responsibility for managing your own learning. Studying the module requires an average of 15 hours per week, the balance of which will shift from guided study to independent study as you move through the module. Throughout there is an expectation that you will take part in both tutor group discussions (as part of your guided study) and module forum discussions (as part of your independent study). The tutor group forums feed directly into the assignments.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You and your tutor will primarily communicate with each other through email and tutorials. Tutorials are offered via online meeting rooms. Your tutor will also moderate the four structured discussion activities that will take place in your tutor group forum over the course of the module.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.
You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2020.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2022.


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 have the minimum of a bachelors degree (in any subject) from a UK University or an equivalent professional qualification. We warmly welcome applications from students who have an undergraduate degree level qualification from universities outside the UK and which is deemed equivalent to a UK higher education degree.

    You must have access to an educational setting that can be linked with your study.

    You need to be able to spend approximately 15-18 hours per week on studying this module.

    Preparatory work

    The module website will be available to registered students two weeks in advance of module start. You may find it helpful to explore the guidance entitled ‘supporting your study’ that includes activities designed to develop familiarity and confidence with some of the tools you will encounter in the module’s online environment. On registration, you will also have access to the Masters in Education qualification suite that introduces some postgraduate induction materials. 


    Start End Fee Register
    02 Oct 2021 Jun 2022 Not yet available

    Registration closes 16/09/21 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.

    Future availability

    Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) starts once a year – in October.

    This page describes the module that will start in October 2020.

    We expect it to start for the last time in October 2022.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All study materials are provided on the module website. This includes a Reader, the module study guide, audio/video material and a range of tools to support your study, including real-time conferencing and online forums. 

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    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). Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future. 

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.