Educational Leadership Apprenticeship

Course fact file

Course type

Postgraduate, taught


18 months part time

Fees and funding

The Apprenticeship is paid for by an employer, there are no costs incurred by the learner

Start date

January 2023

Study options

Postgraduate part time

Sessions will be delivered in twilight sessions (5pm - 6:30pm) with some extended Saturday sessions (10am – 3pm). 

Contact Details

For all enquiries relating to this programme please contact our Apprenticeship team at:


The Educational Leadership apprenticeship provides a distinctive, evidence-focused programme that builds on the National Professional Qualifications and develops capacity for leadership and expert practice in schools. Our Educational Leadership Level 7 Apprenticeship, aligned to the Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard, will allow you to gain a PGDip in Educational Leadership funded by the Apprenticeship Levy.

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long-standing reputation as a centre of excellence for teaching and research in a wide range of areas of educational practice and policy. It is an international leader in education and has a history of top-rated research dating back to its founding in 1896. It is one of the largest research-led schools of education in the UK employing over 100 academic staff and teaching more than 2,500 students. 

As a Russell Group University our levy-funded Apprenticeship programmes are developed with research-informed teaching at their heart, bringing together world-class research and cutting-edge facilities to produce exceptional learning outcomes.

Key themes include: Making a difference through leadership; Improving teaching to improve learning; Using evidence to improve practice; Inclusion and developing the whole person; and School in the context of policy. 

“There’s no substitute for the combination of theory of research and practical experience the apprenticeship provides. It is delivered by experienced University academics, but also supplemented by experience and well-respected leaders in the education sector. The course was fun, engaging and insightful, but also broadened and deepened my knowledge, skills and behaviours as a school leader.”

Why study this course?

  • A flexible mode of delivery to suit both learner and employer needs through a blend of online and on-campus learning
  • Enrolment on the programme will enable you to build new networks and connections with leading academics and expert local school leaders, develop as a education sector leader and work with new ideas and approaches to solve organisational challenges
  • You will develop capacity for rigorous and critical analysis of evidence from research and evidence from practice in improving schools
  • You will develop specialist areas of expertise through research, leadership enquiry and other practice-focused assignments
  • Assessment includes the ongoing submission of academic assignments and an end of programme meeting with an independent assessor to discuss your final project and your attainment of the occupational competencies through your work.
  • This programme is fully levy-funding compliant with advice and guidance from our Apprenticeships team

Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship we offer you the opportunity to achieve a full Masters level qualification via completion of a 60 credit dissertation. The cost of completing the Masters will be £4,000 which can be funded by the employer or individual, or a combination of both. Discounts and scholarships may be applied in certain circumstances, please contact us to discuss.

Fees and funding

The Apprenticeship will be paid for through your employer, there will be no costs incurred by you.

All employers who have a payroll over £3 million pay an Apprenticeship Levy. They can use this levy to fund your enrolment on the programme.

Entry requirements

This is a ‘fast track’ professional learning programme which requires students to have prior experience and understanding of educational leadership.

All applicants are required to:

  • be currently working in a senior leadership role;
  • have a National Professional Qualification (NPQ), equivalent professional experience, or equivalent M-level credits related to school improvement and educational leadership;
  • hold a good first degree, diplomas or other relevant qualifications.

We recognise that the knowledge and skills required for educational leadership are varied and educational leadership experience and learning comes in many forms. 

We are accepting the NASENCo award as an NPQ equivalent as standard. Examples of other relevant qualifications and programmes include the leadership pathways and programmes offered by SSAT and by the former National College. You may have completed a series of shorter courses or received ‘in-house’ training. We also are considering experiential learning and any achievements, experiences or duties which demonstrate the applicant has met the NPQ standards and has experience and understanding of senior leadership practice.

  • An NPQ which was achieved more than 5 years ago is typically suitable, especially if you have been working in a senior leadership role following your NPQ award.
  • If you are currently undertaking but yet to complete an NPQ, National SENCO award or another relevant programme you should include details of your learning to date and any indications that you are on track to complete the award. Examples include transcripts, details in a personal statement or CV, and references from programme tutors or directors.

In all cases, prior learning is assessed against the programme aims and the NPQSL standards to ensure that you have the experience and understanding of education and senior leadership required to benefit from this postgraduate diploma qualification in Educational Leadership.

How to apply

You will need to apply for the Degree Apprenticeship through your employer, who will have their own selection criteria.

For all enquiries relating to this programme please contact our Apprenticeships Manager: