The educational landscape in Northern Ireland is changing, with new initiatives such as extended schools and specialist schools, allied with curricular and policy imperatives aimed at encouraging school cooperation, all highlighting a new context of collaboration between schools and the need for a new generation of school leaders. The School of Education and The Regional Training Unit (RTU) are collaborating to provide this MSc to meet the needs of teaching professionals at the leading edge of these developments. The programme will be delivered by staff from the School of Education and RTU.
The key policy drivers for changes in education are:
The Entitlement Curriculum will require all schools to provide a set range of courses for all pupils at Key Stage 4 and Post-16 levels, but this will only be possible by schools working together in collaborative networks and by collaboration with Further Education Colleges.
The Independent Strategic Review of Education has provoked a constructive debate on the issue of sustainable schools. One key recommendation is that more effective and efficient education delivery can be achieved by cooperation between schools over facilities and resources
The Shared Future policy seeks a new development in the promotion of improved community relations in Northern Ireland by challenging the drift towards separation and encouraging the developed of shared practice in as many social sectors as possible. Under the Shared Future policy schools are given the charge to prepare young people to live and work in a diverse society, and to promote greater appreciation of the complexity of our history. Efforts are already underway to encourage sustained, high-status, cross-sectoral collaboration between schools as part of the Shared Future agenda.
This new education programme links directly to key research and development programmes in the School of Education, including the Sharing Education Programme through which we are working with Specialist Schools to develop models for effective collaboration, comparative reviews of collaborative practice in other jurisdictions, rigorous testing of curriculum interventions designed to promote positive engagement with difference, and wider programmes of work on integrated education, integrating education and public attitudes to options for change.
The programme involves two specialist modules entitled ‘Collaborative School Leadership’ and ‘Effective Collaboration for School Improvement’ and a dissertation on a theme related to collaborative leadership in schools.
Collaborative School Leadership (30 CATs)
This module will allow students to interrogate the theory on collaborative school leadership to develop and enhance their strategies for successful leadership. By the end of the module successful students will be able to:
* Critically analyse the relevant research on collaborative school leadership
* Plan and implement strategies for effective collaboration
* Understand and react to the changing educational environment
* Effectively manage school resources
Effective collaboration for school improvement (30 CATs)
This module will explore the literature on school improvement, allowing students to develop and implement improvement initiatives underpinned by the principles of school collaboration. On successfully completing the module students will:
* Have gained a critical appreciation of a range of theories and perspectives on school improvement
* Be able to apply these theories and perspectives to the issue of collaboration
* Be able to locate their own professional practice, and that of others, within a broader range of theories and perspectives on school improvement and collaboration
* Be able to make use of these theories and perspectives to reflect upon and critically assess school improvement initiatives in their professional practice
* Influence and develop policy in a professional environment
The remaining modules are chosen from the wide menu of modules on offer under the whole MSc/MEd programme. Full details of modules can be found in the prospectus MEd/MSc courses 2008-09. (Link)
The MSc/MEd are awarded to those students who have accumulated 180 M Points (including a dissertation equivalent to 60 M points).
On successful completion of the programme students will:
* Have acquired a comprehensive and critical understanding of the concepts, issues and practices of school leadership
* Have developed an awareness and understanding of current theories and debates relating to collaboration between and within schools
* Be able to critically reflect upon their own professional practices, and those of others, as they impact upon school leadership
* Have gained the skills to evaluate and implement educational practices successfully
* Be able to manage school resources effectively and efficiently
Applicants who have completed the PQH(NI) will be entitled to 60 CATS points exemption for the MSc.