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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 05/04/2022 16:03:14

Title of Module: Leadership - 'School' Improvement

Code: EDUC11132 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:C  Bignell

Summary of Module

Through structured engagement with relevant resources, this module provides participants with opportunities to critically explore the range of factors that influence and underpin a drive for school improvement and improved outcomes for learners.  

A range of tasks and activities undertaken in the course of group and independent work help participants to develop an understanding of the improvement planning process and to reflect critically upon issues such as how we might define improved outcomes and who brings influence to bear on what is valued (and often ‘measured’) in the drive for school improvement.  Through reading, discussions and personal responses, participants will explore a range of approaches that might support school leaders in painting a richer picture of learner outcomes and what it might mean to ‘be a learner’ within an educational setting.

The UWS Graduate Attributes that are commonly developed through the completion of this module are:

  • Development of leadership knowledge and skills;
  • Critical and analytical thinking;
  • Resilience, autonomy and motivation;
  • Effective communication and collaboration;
  • Development of professional knowledge and skills.


Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate critical understanding of key concepts related to improvement planning and the implications for educational leadership.

L2. Critically engage with leadership theory and research within the context of education and present reasoned arguments and ideas clearly and coherently.

L3. Demonstrate a critical understanding the processes of improvement planning and how these might support change management to ensure a positive outcome for learners.

L4. Critically reflect on professional practice in the area of leadership in light of relevant theories and research findings

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

Deep understanding of key theories, concepts, principles and terminology in relation to leadership in education.

Critical understanding of the development of principles of change management.

Critical awareness of current issues related to leadership in education in relation to theoretical underpinnings and recent/current research findings.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Apply knowledge, skills and understanding to leadership practice across a variety of professional contexts.

Identify informed approaches to change management in a range of educational settings.

Critical reflection on professional practice and contemporary issues that impact on it.

Synthesise information and gain a coherent understanding of theories and practices in change management.

Retrieve, interpret and use primary and secondary information relevant to this module from a variety of sources including electronic databases.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to issues of leadership in an educational context.

Demonstrate an understanding of an issue and develop a creative and sensible solution to a leadership or change management problem.

Develop and demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively in a variety of professional settings.

Give reasoned opinions, identifying flaws in arguments and discriminating between what is of relevance and what is not, especially within the context of leadership in education.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Effectively and appropriately communicate knowledge and understanding of leadership in education practices to a range of audiences.

Make effective use of information retrieval systems and information technology applications to present documents in an appropriate form.

Use a range of (relevant) IT applications to support and enhance work on the module.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Exercise autonomy and initiative and taking responsibility for own work.

Work as part of a professional team to analyse information, formulate relevant responses and present these back to the group.

Work effectively in collaboration with others in groups or teams, taking a leadership role where appropriate.

Systematically identify and address own learning needs within the context of leadership, making use of academic research materials as appropriate.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module handbook, and other detailed material made available to participants, will give more specific information on the particular learning and teaching methodologies, and combinations of these methodologies. This will clarify expectations for module content and for the overall balance of learning and teaching methodologies to be used during the module.

This module is structured through individual and group tasks delivered through technology enhanced learning methodologies supported by the University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The use of Moodle enables asynchronous learning, as participants engage with their fellow learners and tutors through online learning and discussion forums. By working in this way, the tutor team seek to foster a community of professional practice, embracing a social constructivist model of online learning.

Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery20
Asynchronous Class Activity25
Independent Study150
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity5
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bernhardt, V. (2016) Data Data Everywhere. Oxon: Routledge.

Davies (2011) Leading the Strategically Focused School: success and sustainability. Online: Sage Knowledge.

Dimmock, C. (2011) Leadership, capacity building and school improvement. London: Routledge.

Townsend, T. & MacBeath, J. (2011) International Handbook of Leadership for Learning. London: Springer.

Educational Management Administration & Leadership
Management in Education: The Journal of Professional Practice
School Leadership and Management

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime participants (part-time and distant learning participants should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to participants who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardEducation
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCareer-Long Professional Learning
ModeratorA Killen / C Oates
External ExaminerC Jones
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
The participant will submit a written assignment of 3,500 words (+/- 10%)* and a 2-page extract from his/her setting’s improvement plan. With reference to the improvement plan extract, the essay will critically explore the way in which data and self-evaluation have informed an aspect of school improvement planning in the educational setting and the challenges educational leaders may face when adopting data-driven models of school improvement.

Module handbooks, and other detailed material made available to participants, will clarify the relationship between formative and summative assessment tasks and the specific learning outcomes for the module. This will enable participants to relate feedback from formative assessment to their individual progress on the learning outcomes for the module and further prepare for summative submission. Detailed guidance as to how participants should prepare for formative and summative submissions will be provide via the VLE (Moodle).
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark1000
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
This module is suitable for any student; appropriate support will be provided where required

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.