Level 7 Senior Leader (Degree) Apprenticeship

What does the apprenticeship cover?

The Level 7 Senior Leaders standard allows providers to offer a variety of postgraduate degrees as part of the apprenticeship. As a result, there is a wide variety of choice available.

There are two main types of Senior Leader (Degree) Apprenticeships that are suitable for SBPs:

  • Non-contextualised – providers often offer a more general postgraduate degree as part of this apprenticeship (e.g. Master’s in Business Administration). You can also study master’s degree programmes that are aimed at school leaders (e.g. MA in Educational Leadership).
  • Contextualised – there are some providers who offer a master’s degree programme that has been specifically designed for school business professionals and is aimed at tier 4 and beyond of the ISBL professional standards. You will achieve a master’s degree that will help you as a school leader (e.g. MA in Education Business Management).

Please Note: This apprenticeship standard has been recently revised. The new approved version comprising revised occupational standard and end-point assessment plan is now available here. This new version will replace the current version for new starts from 29th March 2021. Training providers provision will change in line with this.

What will I learn?

The contextualised apprenticeship provides students with an opportunity to evaluate, develop and strengthen their business and leadership skills in order to increase efficiency, build cohesive teams and achieve the best outcomes for their school and pupils. The programme covers a wide range of management and leadership skills, knowledge, self-awareness and behaviours.

During the programme, the learner will complete a work-based project that addresses a genuine issue or area for improvement within their school.

Who is it for?

Applicants will usually have been undertaking a senior school business professional role, e.g. Chief Operating Officer, Director of Support Services, within a school/trust for at least two years and have an undergraduate degree from a UK university or an equivalent overseas qualification.

However, providers welcome applications from individuals who do not possess an undergraduate degree but who have significant management experience.

“The key for me was to ensure that the off the job training was relevant, and of value to my work commitments – this way it didn’t feel like you were switching between work/study mode and also made me realise how much we grow and learn every day.”

Read more about Claire Pritchard’s experience of the SLMDA here.

How long does it take?

Typically, a Senior Leader (Degree) Apprenticeship can take 2–3 years.

Students and their employers will be required to commit 20% of their normal working hours to the apprenticeship training. More information can be found at:

Where is it offered and what types of learning options are available?

This apprenticeship is offered nationally through many different universities. The apprenticeship is open to learners throughout England in both levy- and non-levy-funded schools, academies and trusts. Start dates and delivery methods vary from provider to provider.

Serco Education has developed a Level 7 Senior Leader (Degree) Apprenticeship for schools with the University of Gloucester. Click here to find out more.

If starting a full masters degree sounds daunting, then you can work towards one by completing individual modules. We have partnered with the University of Chester to offer the Certificate in Strategic Educational Leadership, a short, accessible level 7 module for school business professionals who want to demonstrate their strategic educational leadership.