Institute of Education


London Centre for Leadership in Learning

The UK's largest Higher Education centre for research, development and teaching in educational leadership, innovation and impact.

Director: Professor Qing Gu

The UCL Institute of Education building

The London Centre for Leadership in Learning (LCLL) is the UK's largest Higher Education centre for educational leadership with a strong, and growing, international presence. We are based within the Department for Learning and Leadership at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and offer expertise across a range of leadership fields.

Our research generates leading-edge evidence and theory which then informs our teaching, consultancy and partnership work with educational organisations and leaders in London and beyond.  We hope you will want to engage with LCLL, whether as a partner, a student or a member.

About us 

  • Develop criticality: build evidence-based, theory-informed and innovative approaches to policy and practice
  • Deepen learning: broaden perspectives and forge connections between theory, policy and practice
  • Nurture collaboration: encourage shared thinking within and between communities of learners
  • Activate knowledge: develop and mobilise knowledge and understanding within organisations and systems
  • Enhance equity: promote understanding about, and action around, equity and social justice.


  • Collegiality and trust
  • Openness and optimism
  • Respect and kindness
  • Excellence and integrity.
Our staff

Research, teaching and enterprise staff

Professional Services Support Team

Study with us

Graduate taught

Our flexible Master's degrees draw on the extensive knowledge and research base of the UCL Institute of Education and are taught by leading experts in the field. They enable leaders and managers from education and wider sectors to reflect on leadership theory and evidence and to relate this to their own practice, helping them become effective leaders of learning and change. Participants have opportunities to network with and learn from other professionals from a variety of settings.


Graduate research

The IOE was ranked number one in the world for Education for the seventh year running in the World QS University Rankings 2020, so it is the perfect place to study for a PhD or EdD in educational leadership. 

Doctoral students based in LCLL study various aspects of leadership and gain an excellent grounding in research design and methodology, selecting from the IOE's wide range of specialist programmes. They receive supervision from LCLL's academic team to support their personal research. 

Further info:

My doctorate has been of enormous benefit to my work as a headteacher. I understand more about leadership and I have been asked to contribute more widely to policy-making and development in education at a national level. The intellectual capital which LCLL has in the field of education research is second to none. The library is extensive and the help received from tutors and professors is generous, open and willing. For all these reasons, as well as a great peer student body, I recommend LCLL"
- Dr Vanessa Ogden, Headteacher of Mulberry School for Girls.  
Leadership Development programmes

Our cutting-edge research, together with our close collaboration with schools, ensures that our programmes keep pace with current policy and practice. Programmes are delivered at the IOE or on-site for schools, groups of schools, local authorities and multi-academy trusts.

Developing your leadership career

Our offer includes:

Maximising your personal and team performance

Our offer includes:

National Professional Qualifications

The London Centre for Leadership in Learning, together with outstanding Teaching Schools and their partners, has formed a dynamic collaboration - Leadership CoLab - to offer the National Professional Qualifications. The curriculum is structured around four levels that reflect the different stages in a leader's professional development and career.

  • NPQEL: Executive Leadership, leading across several schools
  • NPQH: Headship, leading a school
  • NPQSL: Senior Leadership, leading across a school
  • NPQML: Middle Leadership, leading a team

In addition we offer continuing professional development programmes to support headteachers and their schools:

  • Exploring Headship: an extension of the National Professional Qualifications. This programme is based around a series of face-to-face sessions, facilitated events and one-to-one coaching for newly appointed headteachers in their first year of headship. 
  • 360 Diagnostic: a peer evaluation tool to drive professional development in educational leadership.

See details and apply now

Our activities


    Our research generates cutting-edge evidence and theory which then informs our teaching, consultancy and partnership work with schools and colleges in London and beyond. 

    We focus primarily on educational leadership in early childhood, schools and post-compulsory contexts, but the team also works on leadership in other sectors.


    Our research group includes world-recognised academics, senior professors and a significant group of visiting professors and researchers.

    Group members undertake research and evaluation projects and teach on LCLL postgraduate programmes. This means that our programmes are at the cutting-edge of current research and thinking.


    We use quantitative and qualitative methodologies and draw on a range of disciplines and theoretical perspectives including governance theory, organisational and institutional theory, knowledge mobilisation and social network theory, as well as work on educational leadership, improvement and effectiveness.


    Our three main research themes are: 

    Many of our researchers also publish in other fields, see:

    Featured research

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    UCL Institute of Education Research & Development (R&D) network

    The IOE R&D network was launched as a vehicle to connect schools, colleges, alliances and trusts that want to build their capacity for evidence-informed improvement with the IOE's huge range of researchers, knowledge and expertise.

    You can join as a single organisation or existing alliance/network. Membership brings access to the IOE's library, a facilitated annual workshop to assess your school/network's progress and priorities for developing evidence-informed practice and access to a dedicated membership website.

    For full details see:


    We work with you to co-design individual projects and bespoke leadership programmes to meet the specific needs and contexts of your educational organisation, using evidence-based approaches and tools to improve learning and outcomes for pupils, practitioners and leaders.

    Examples of recent projects

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    Global reach

    We offer international consultancy and professional development, having worked extensively with international schools in many locations.

    We also support governments in the development of education systems, working with ministries to provide professional learning and development for school leaders.

    Examples of LCLL's international work

    Armenia: Leadership Development programme, AyB Foundation

    Supporting the education system reform in Armenia. The work commenced with a review of existing leadership policy. The programme (2018-2021) focuses on building sustainable leadership capacity to support the implementation of a new curriculum, the 'Araratian Baccalaureate', initially in 42 'model' schools. Leadership standards have been agreed following six regional conferences and design work on a new leadership programme for Principals and Vice Principals is underway.

    Estonia: Early career head teachers study visit, Foundation Innove

    Improving the quality of teaching and learning in Estonia - a learning opportunity for the understanding of key competencies of effective school leaders and school leadership. Two study programmes were recently held in Estonia on behalf of Foundation Innove: for early career headteachers (Jan 2018) and for aspiring head teachers (Nov 2017).

    China: Leadership development programme, Bright Scholar Education Group (BSEG)

    We are currently delivering the third cohort of the International Leadership Programme for Headteachers and are engaged in discussion about supporting leadership capacity more widely across BSEG, with whom we continue to build a strategic relationship. BSEG is China's largest group of international schools with 150 bilingual schools teaching Chinese and British curriculum which has an emphasis on successful application to top universities in the UK and USA.

    Myanmar: British Council Myanmar High Education Project

    Developing leadership capacity for Teacher Education and Higher Education. Funding by the British Council and its continuation is subject to constant review due of the refugee crisis. 

    South East Asia: Alice Smith School (Malaysia)

    Delivered Widening Leadership programme (Jan 2018) at the Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, trialling the use of the new Catalyst cards developed by Louise Stoll. There were 27 participants, half from Alice Smith and the rest from Borneo, Sabah, Singapore and other schools in Malaysia. The participants were stunning in their engagement in the programme and the evaluations were very positive.

    Netherlands: British International School

    Delivered Early Leadership programme to a group of participants from a number of European International Schools (early 2018) - participants ranged from teachers some in the early years of their career to a Head and Deputy from Sweden and an acting Head from within the Netherlands. This was a first phase of involvement with the Leadership Centre at the British International School in the Netherlands.

    International professional certificate for school leadership (IPCSL)

    A leadership programme to improve schools by developing leaders and aspiring leaders. Further information:


      These are papers and think pieces which you may not be able to find elsewhere and include contributions from our own staff, academic visitors and students: 



      Free online learning resources

      During school closures, it's important that children are able to continue their learning.

      We have compiled a list of resources helpful to teachers, school leaders, parents/carers and young people.


      Latest news

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      Forthcoming events

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      Short courses

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