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UCL Centre for Educational Leadership

The UK’s largest university-based centre for research, teaching, development and innovation in educational leadership.

The UCL Centre for Educational Leadership was formerly known as the London Centre for Leadership in Learning (LCLL).

Director: Professor Qing Gu

Located in the UCL Institute of Education, we are a world-leading centre for knowledge creation, exchange and application to promote high quality leadership, management and learning in education in London, the UK, and internationally.

We provide research-informed advice and guidance for educational leaders, managers and policy makers, focused on the impact of their strategies and actions.

About us 

Aims
  • 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.
Values
  • 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 postgraduate degrees draw on the extensive knowledge and research base of the UCL Centre for Educational Leadership and are taught by leading experts in the field.

They enable established and aspiring leaders and managers from education and wider sectors to reflect on educational 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 at the world’s leading education department, UCL Institute of Education.

Programmes

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 the centre 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 our 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.

The programmes described below complement the National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) which are delivered by UCL Centre for Educational Leadership under license from the DfE.

Developing your leadership career

Our offer includes:

Maximising your personal and team performance

Our offer includes:

National Professional Qualifications

The UCL Centre for Educational Leadership, 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.

See details and apply now

Early Career Framework

UCL Institute of Education leads a consortium offering a robust professional learning and development pathway for early career teachers and mentors based on the Early Career Framework (ECF).

This work is situated within UCL Centre for Educational Leadership recognising the critical importance of leadership in the development of early career teachers.

Our consortium is a strong university-school partnership comprising three world-leading universities - the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), Newcastle University and Manchester Metropolitan University - and schools at the forefront of excellence in training and research from North East Teaching Schools Partnership, Doncaster Research School by Partners in Learning, and Greetland Academy Trust.

Activities

Our research

Our research generates cutting-edge evidence and theory which informs our teaching, consultancy and knowledge exchange work with schools and other educational settings in London, the United Kingdom and beyond. 

We are a nationally and internationally recognised leading voice for innovative research on educational leadership and organisational learning and development in early childhood, primary, secondary and post-compulsory sectors. 

Our research explores assumptions, processes and systems that shape and inform leadership, learning and development for individuals, teams, educational organisations and partnerships in diverse contexts, including schools, academies and multi-academy trusts (MATs) in England, and independent and international schools. 

We provide research-informed advice and guidance for educational leaders, managers and policy makers, focused on the impact of their strategies and actions.


Expertise

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

Centre members undertake research and evaluation projects and teach on our post-graduate programmes. This means that our programmes are at the cutting-edge of current research and thinking.


Methodologies

When undertaking research we use a range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies and draw on a number of social science disciplines and theoretical perspectives - this includes governance theory, organisational and institutional theory, knowledge mobilisation, ethical and social network theory, as well as theories of educational leadership, improvement and effectiveness.


Themes

Our research interests are wide-ranging and overlapping but broadly fall under the following four themes:

  1. Leadership and leadership development in education 
  2. Education policy analysis and system reform
  3. Leadership of learning, evaluation and improvement
  4. Leadership for wellbeing, social justice and equity.

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


Current projects

See also:


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:

Consultancy and Knowledge Exchange

Working for and with the profession is central to our approach. We routinely work with governments, agencies, MATs and school groups. We do not just carry out research. We focus on ensuring that our research is relevant, accessible and supports professional and policy stakeholders in making a difference.

By collaborating with a wide range of professionals and key stakeholders in the education system nationally and internationally, we connect our research, leadership learning and development programmes closely with and for the wider profession. Such connection is fundamental in helping us to enhance the policy and practice impact of our centre’s research and teaching profiles.

At the UCL Centre for Educational Leadership we:

  • sit at the nexus of research, policy and practice knowledge to promote multi-way communication 
  • work with colleagues and partners to shape and carry out projects that give insight into the practice of educational leadership, leadership wellbeing, learning and development, and systems change
  • co-design bespoke programmes, projects, strategies and materials to meet the needs of partners and other stakeholders, and draw on their experience and expertise
  • work with stakeholders to understand, interpret, frame and share findings that lead to mutual learning, action and impact.

Examples of recent projects

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Global reach

We offer international consultancy, knowledge exchange and professional development, having worked extensively with international school groups, governments and donor organisations in many locations around the world.

We support governments in the reform of education systems, working with ministries to develop and enact educational leadership policy including the provision of professional learning and development for school leaders.

Examples of recent 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 headteachers (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 because 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.

Publications

See a list of recent publications from UCL Centre for Educational Leadership staff.

Free online learning resources

It is 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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