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Middle Leadership

2019/20 Part-time Postgraduate course


Postgraduate Certificate


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Education


Magee campus

Start date:

September 2019


Postgraduate Certificate in Middle Leadership.


Year 1

Managing and Building Teams EDU909 10 credits

Participants look at personality traits, team roles and team theory.

Improving Classroom Practice EDU721 10 credits

This module focuses on the leadership skills required to create alignment of colleagues' purpose towards excellence in the classroom.

Motivating People to Improvement EDU722 10 credits

Canditates consider the leadership skills and competencies involved in motivating colleagues towards excellence in their performance.

Year 2

Leadership for Learning EDU867 30 credits

This module considers the leadership challenge of focusing on improvement where it matters most, at the teacher student interface. It considers leadership styles including distrbuted leadership.

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About this course


This qualification ishould be attractive to those in middle leadership posts or to those aspiring to such . Study is complemented by participant reflection on real situations and is supported by an experienced tutor. The overall theme is on the development of leadership and management skills and capabilities. There is a strong focus on improvement on classroom practice in particular contexts.

Applications for the course close in mid-September each year and classes begin at the end of September.


Students are required to attend all the face to face seminars, 3 per 10 credit module on a fortnightly basis and 6 for the 30 credit module. Participants are required to engage regularly with the online non-synchronousdiscussion boards in the 30 credit module, and on the synchronous chats in the 10 credit modules.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The variety of teaching, learning and assessment methods and approaches used throughout the course enable students to develop flexible, appropriate and creative and/or entrepreneurial approaches to the resolution of problems within their professional work roles and also in terms of their own personal professional development. The intentional building of communities of learning via synchronous and non-synchronous discussion boards, combined with an interactive approach to the face to face seminars, along with the use of guest lecture sessions facilitate this.

Each module will have its own form of assessment tailored to the content being covered but, typically for the 10 credit module 1500 words and for the 30 credit module, two 2500 word assignments.

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    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
    • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
    • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

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Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Improving Classroom Practice

Year: 1

In week 1, we examine the argument that we need to focus on Quality Assurance rather than (or alongside) Quality Control. This is based on Deming's timeless work and one which is challenges the current obsessive control environment in our schools. 'If only we highlight the failings of our students by repeated testing, they will get better' NO! We need to be subversive and courageous or we do our young people a disservice. In weeks 2 and 3 we move towards a definition of what we should be doing. John Hattie's work is extremely seductive and very helpful in building a set of skills for classroom effectiveness. We examine a model operating in some NI schools. Your role is to critique the model, to take what you find useful and reject what you find facile. The main point of the module is a simple one, namely that quality assured teaching is achieved when we get things 'right first time' and that will happen when classroom practice is focused on the proper management of: Time Resources Assessment Communication and Environment In the first three of his 'Seven Habits for..' book, Covey gives some very helpful guidance on the first two of these . Look at his time management matrix to understand the need for a balance between the urgent and the important when we plan lessons and study modules- remember the module is about leadership so we are imagining conversations with peers also; write about the imperative to build timed activity into lesson planning to cope with attention span; write about the need to set clear learning intentions (Begin with the end in mind) For 'Assessment', use Dylan and Wiliam, the two who initiated the whole concept of assessment for learning. For 'communication' use the work of John Novak and William Purkey,'inviting school success' through basing all your interactions on the five values, Trust, Respect, Optimism, Intentionality. and Care. Overall, colleagues need with intent to create an environment which makes the classrooms in your department the best learning Environment possible.

Transforming Leadership

Year: 1

Leaders require followers to collaborate in the process of planning. This module provides an opportunity to develop the knowledge and competencies and to acquire the methods and skills for leadership of a team so that there is an understanding of the challenges and opportunities offered by collaboration of stakeholders in drawing up a vision of an agreed future through a process of strategic intent. Such an activity engenders alignment of purpose and improved outcomes.

Managing and Building Teams

Year: 1

Increasingly, schools require teachers to operate as a team and communicate effectively. This module provides an opportunity to acquire the methods and skills for leading and managing a team effectively.

Year two

Leadership for learning

Year: 2

The key theme of the module is that leadership at all levels of the school matters in enhancing student learning. Distributed leadership and learning-centred leadership are important concepts for leaders in helping improve learning and teaching in classrooms and schools.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must normally:

(a) have gained

(i) a degree from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or

(ii) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma or an approved alternative qualification, e.g. a professional qualification; and

(b) be currently working in a teaching or training environment.

(c) be currently working in a leadership role, e.g. Form Tutor, Pastoral Tutor, Head of Year, Head of Department or have aspirations to do so.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America


Typically we require applicant for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree (usually in a relevant subject area). Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus. We consider students who have good grades in the following:

Bachelor degree

English Language

Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

An aim is that candidates will greatly enhance their performance as middle leaders, or will enhance their prospects for promotion to middle leadership posts.


Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU: £1,967.00

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.


Husband and wife teachers celebrate graduation success at Ulster University

30 June 2016

Husband and wife teachers Trevor and Jenine Jamison are among the first cohort of students graduating from Ulster University’s postgraduate certificate in middle leadership.

Married teachers, Trevor and Jenine Jamison, are today celebrating their graduation from Ulster University after topping the class, both with distinctions.

Trevor, a science teacher at Hazelwood Integrated College, and Jenine, a religious studies teacher at Belfast Boys' Model School, are among the first cohort of students to graduate from Ulster University's postgraduate certificate in middle leadership. It is designed to enhance teachers' skills, knowledge and understanding of management and leadership and support their continuing professional development.

Jenine said: "I am the typical cliché in the sense that teaching is all that I have ever wanted to do. I love to learn and have had some fantastic learning experiences in my life due to some truly inspiring teachers. I am from North Belfast and attended Belfast Model School for Girls. I benefited hugely from a secondary school education and now as a teacher I get to give something back.

"I want to see the young men from my part of this city realise their full potential. As a religious study teacher I am passionate about my subject and the values it instils in the boys I teach.

"Between my husband and I, we have nearly 30 years experience in teaching. Trevor and I both have a desire to continue to improve in a personal and professional capacity. As new middle leaders in our schools we wanted to prepare ourselves for the task of leading teams and developing our subject areas while improving the quality of our own teaching. The Ulster University course gave us the structure to do just that. It also gave us an opportunity to network and share best practice with education colleagues from across Belfast.

Trevor added: "Let's just say I wasn't the most interested pupil during my time at school. I wasn't pushed at home and had little guidance or aspiration. What I did have were three excellent teachers that took an interest and believed in me.

"Once I completed my undergraduate degree I started to think about a career in teaching. I've always been pastoral at heart and love to see people do well. I want to be that excellent teacher who inspires and believes - I want to be the difference to my pupils that allows them to succeed.

"Both Jenine and I love to learn, we strive to improve our own teaching and develop ourselves and those around us. The Ulster University course was a great opportunity to advance our own professional development. It was great to explore the latest academic research and apply the most relevant material in practice. In September we are going back to Ulster University again to do a postgraduate diploma in headship.

"Today is a really special day for us - we get to celebrate all the new skills and knowledge we have gained that will enhance both our careers and also the lives of the young people we teach."