Early Leadership (Level 1): Leadership Development Programme (for New and Aspiring Leaders in Education)

  • Approx. 24 hours in class
  • 3.5 days over 2 terms


This programme will help you to understand yourself as a leader, understand others, and develop good leadership skills.

It's for new and aspiring leaders or middle leaders in education who haven't had any previous leadership development.

It'll help you:

  • understand yourself as a leader
  • understand others – behaviours and motivation
  • develop a range of skills necessary for good leadership
  • gain confidence when having challenging conversations
  • develop and understand professional dialogue
  • ask the right questions about data

The programme is designed to increase your professional knowledge and understanding. This will have a positive impact on your leadership behaviour and will benefit your school and leadership team.

You'll also have excellent networking opportunities.

You can also take this course as a three-day summer school.

This programme is level one in a suite of programmes designed for school leaders. It's supported by the most up-to-date research and you'll be taught by curriculum experts from the London Centre for Leadership in Learning (LCLL) at UCL IOE.

Who this course is for

This programme is for:

  • new and aspiring leaders in a first leadership position
  • middle leaders who haven't undertaken any previous leadership development
  • professional staff leading a team of support staff or administrators

Course structure

Over two terms (six months), you'll attend three one-day sessions and one twilight session.

In addition to attending face-to-face sessions, you'll carry out inter-sessional tasks between the leadership days.

Throughout the programme you'll carry out a small-scale action research project and present this in a learning conversation at the end of the programme.

Course content

Each day will cover:

Day one: Modelling leadership

  • being proactive
  • having vision
  • prioritising
  • understanding others
  • teamwork
  • work/life balance
  • communication skills

Day two: Monitoring

  • experience of monitoring
  • giving feedback
  • using data for improvement
  • influences on adult learning
  • feedback on performance

Day three: Dialogue

  • thinking styles
  • professional dialogue
  • critical incidents
  • setting up a small research project

Final twilight

  • present action research
  • learning conversation

Certificates and assessment

You'll receive a certificate of completion at the end of the programme.

You have the option of gaining 30 Master's-level credits towards an IOE Master’s degree. For this, you'll need to complete an additional assignment and pay an additional ‘top up’ fee to cover this. Information about this option will be provided at the start of the programme.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you'll have:

  • gained an understanding of yourself and others as leaders
  • developed a range of skills necessary for good leadership
  • gained confidence in having challenging conversations
  • developed and understood professional dialogue


The six-month programme runs three times a year, starting in the summer, autumn and spring terms.

Other programme delivery options

Schools, collaboratives and local authorities

The programme can be run on-site for schools, groups of schools, local authorities and multi-academy trusts. Contact the course administrator for costs and more information.


For international schools and groups of schools the programme can be run at your overseas venue - contact the course administrator for costs and more information.


The programme can also be used for new leaders who are planning to undertake the National College Leadership Curriculum.

Further information

View the programme flyer (pdf) for further details.

Sign up for short course announcements: Subscribe to the UCL Life Learning newsletter to receive news and updates on courses in your chosen area. (For updates on a specific course, contact the administrator - see 'Contact information'.)

Student review

“Organisation of the programme was superb. Delivery was excellent for opening your mind and making you reflect on your practice.”

“The course has been invaluable and I would recommend it to anybody who is new to leadership. Thank you for everything”

“The facilitators have been a source of inspiration - knowledgeable, friendly and motivating, Thank you I have learnt so much.”

“I really enjoyed this session. I was able to be reflective of my work as a manager, share ideas with other professionals and gained new skills and knowledge to work on my areas for improvement.”

“The course helped me discover my inner leader and it opened my eyes to what it means to inspire others.”

Course information last modified: 30 Jan 2019, 10:17