Middle-level leaders are the beating heart of any organisation.

Occupying the critical space that embraces strategy and operation, middle-leadership skills are essential to making change and improvement happen.

We’ve designed this popular short course to equip you, as a middle leader or someone keen to move into middle-leadership roles, with the skills you need to form and influence policy and ensure its implementation.

This course is particularly suitable for aspiring leaders across education in any setting, sector or country. It’s part of our suite of online Leadership courses, designed to help you develop your career and lead improvement in your organisation.

What you’ll study

Middle leadership is a challenging and unique area and this course will guide you through the latest thinking and approaches to leadership at this level. You’ll look at:

  • leadership theories and styles and how they work in middle-level leadership contexts
  • the values and vision of organisations and how leaders in the middle levels are aligned to them
  • the importance of research in generating fresh perspectives on professional knowledge. This will give you a deeper understanding of different theoretical approaches and how you can apply these to your own professional practice
  • middle-level leadership within the education sector
  • models of leadership that prevail in schools today, including distributed leadership
  • how middle leaders can facilitate and build the leadership capabilities of their teaching staff.

Developing your knowledge and understanding of leadership, including formal and informal roles, this course encourages you to put theory into practice. We’ll show you how to apply your learning in your existing role.

How you’ll study

Online learning

Leading and Managing from the Middle is delivered part-time, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

This course encourages you in the open exchange of ideas with others. One of the key benefits is that participants span not only industries and sectors, but the globe. You’ll learn as part of a truly international online community, gaining fresh perspectives and insights every day.

Your teaching

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • video conferences
  • podcasts of lectures
  • workshops
  • case studies
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

Your tutors

The course is taught at Masters level by experienced academics and leadership specialists. You’ll blend theory with practice, learning directly from real leaders in industry, the public sector and third sector.


A popular element of our Leadership courses, where we pair together participants from very different work environments.

You’ll learn about your partner’s work sector and its challenges, encouraging fresh perspectives that can free you from the group thinking that’s so common within organisations. You’ll also develop coaching skills here that you’ll adapt and use in your normal working day.


You’ll be assessed entirely online via your participation in online discussions and scheduled online collaborative sessions, and a final 6,000-word essay.

Your teaching team

Where this will take you

Build your learning

We offer a range of specialist online Leadership courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications.


Whatever your background, and whatever your career goals, this course will help you develop the skills you need to lead improvement now and in the future.

We have students joining our leadership courses from a wide range of sectors across education: primary, secondary, special. You don’t have to be in a leadership role at the time of applying for this course.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Feedback from previous participants has been very positive. Many students have used the course as a basis to gain promotion into leadership roles in schools.

Ian Parkin, course tutor

Entry requirements

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 (second-class) undergraduate degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
18 September 2023
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