National Grammar Schools Association
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The University of Buckingham.

M.Ed. in Educational Leadership.

 “If you want a good school, get a good Head. All depends on the courage, risk-taking and autonomy of one person, the Headteacher…Leadership is essential.” Simon Jenkins (The Sunday Times – June 2008)

“The nearest thing to a magic wand in education is a good Headteacher…” Sir Keith Joseph (when Secretary of State for Education)

The University of Buckingham accepts these assertions as truths. In consequence, its MEd course aims not merely at the study of educational leadership but at the development of top quality educational leaders. For this reason -

The course is deeply practical

  1. Its methods have more in common with a degree in engineering than one in theoretical physics, with medicine than biological science
  1. It draws on best existing practice in the state and the independent sectors
  1. The leadership models that it considers are not confined to the world of education, and its approach is heavily influenced by the Harvard Business School’s famous case study method
  1. All written assignments are rooted in the professional concerns of individual course members. Our intention is that, at all times, the work should be directly relevant to their interests and the professional challenges facing them.

It is based on the 4 core assumptions

      • The central concern of schools is Teaching and Learning and therefore the central concern of heads must be to ensure excellence in this area
      • Such excellence is achieved through the motivation and management of people – not through administration and bureaucracy
      • Success in the enterprise is dependent on intellectual honesty and independence of thought, not on blind adherence to systems and fashionable nostra.
      • Since leaders are individuals, the course needs to be tailored to individual requirements

Though its intentions are deeply serious, its style is irreverent, even idiosyncratic

The course aims to couple intellectual challenge with enjoyment. The best leaders are, after all, independent-minded individualists not humourless automata.

Course Features:

The course is work-based and is realistic in its term-time demands. It is built around 4 units, each complete with its own supporting text (Leadership theory; Managing people; Teaching and Learning; Effective use of resources) and four 2 or 3-day residentials. On-line support is available throughout the course.

Speakers include prominent headteachers from both the independent and state sectors and former HMCI Chris Woodhead.
Theory work is very closely linked to real life case studies and existing good (and bad) practice.

The course is run by Peter Ireland, a man with experience in both independent and state schools and the former head of The Nelson Thomlinson School in Cumbria. He was described by The Sunday Times as “the model headteacher” and his school was judged by Ofsted to be outstanding:  “It does everything in its power to maximise the life chances of its students by providing the highest quality teaching… It has maintained its excellent results over many years.” 

A designated Training School, Nelson Thomlinson was the first school in the world to have its own mirror-glass-sided professional development classroom. The school has strong links with the course, as do a number of independent schools.


One 5000 word essay on Leadership Theory (20% of total marks); one 7000 word essay on Teachers and Teaching (30%); a 12000 word research project (40%); plus oral mark (10%) based on contributions at residentials.


£3000, inclusive of residentials.

Further details: Please contact Nikki Mugford   [email protected]  nicola.mugf

Closing date for applications for 2009/2010: 
10th July, 2009.