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The Senior Leader Apprenticeship – Education Management with optional top-up Master’s Degree



This apprenticeship standard was co-developed by businesses, professional bodies, and training providers to ensure that the development and demonstration of key skills and behaviours are given equal, if not more weighting to pure academic knowledge. From 29 March 2021 there was no longer a requirement for a Master’s degree, however, we are pleased to announce that you will have an opportunity to top-up into a Master’s degree for a small additional fee

The apprenticeship follows a work-based and problem-based learning approach, and apprentices will be expected to demonstrate how they have utilised their learning and development in solving business-related issues and problems by integrating and building on perspectives from the course and the learning material, plus their own contexts

Apprentices will complete six core modules and be assessed on how they have been applied in their workplace.  Apprentices must pull together all of their technical knowledge plus their skills and behaviour training to demonstrate competencies across the whole Apprenticeship Standard

The End Point Assessment for the apprenticeship programme comprises of a presentation of a Strategic Business Proposal, plus questioning and a Professional Discussion underpinned by a Portfolio of Evidence

London Examinations Board has a unique apprenticeship programme with an option for apprentices to top-up into a UK MBA or a Master’s degree with an education focus.  The MBA top-up comprises of a research-methods module and submission of a Management Project/dissertation . The top-up Master’s degree is with a European University although we are looking to a top-up with a UK University as well.  The top-up is not part of the apprenticeship and must be undertaken in your own time outside of work


This apprenticeship is designed for professionals and employees at management level who want to add more value and be equipped for senior leadership positions. It is recommended for individuals in or moving into a senior role

Our apprenticeship focuses on shaping leaders in the private and public sectors. From general managers to chief executive officers, the qualification allows them to realise their full career potential

There is no age restriction but:

  • You are an existing PAYE employee or a new hire in a real job in England
  • Your employer agrees for you to spend at least 20 percent of your working time doing off-the-job training i.e., on the apprenticeship programme
  • You already have GCSEs or equivalent in English and Math (otherwise this must be achieved before Gateway)
  • You have a Bachelor’s degree or have at least three years’ work experience at a supervisory level

If you do not have a degree but you have other professional qualifications and/or managerial experience – this may be sufficient. Please contact us for further information


  • Apprentices will gain the knowledge, behaviours and skills to confidently engage in sustainable, evidence-based business decision-making
  • Apprentices will gain an in-depth understanding of how to shape organisations, explore new market strategies, apply economic theory and build high-performing collaborative teams
  • From the start, these apprentices are required to apply what is being taught to their employment context: reflecting on their work-based experience and solving real issues faced in their organisation
  • Apprentices are being empowered to undertake £14,000 worth of respected training and learning and achieve a valuable Apprenticeship certificate which is free for apprentices and at nil or low cost to the organization
  • It is a £14,000 tax-free perk for an employee which should engender increased loyalty to the employer
  • The organization will continue to have all the normal statutory employer responsibilities for the apprentice. The employers will need to agree to providing paid time off from work for study, provide in-company support/mentoring for the apprentice and collaborate with London Examinations Board. However, the apprentice continues to devote most of his working day to the job
  • They will undertake a Master’s-level programme covering business, financial, management and leadership issues that all companies face while working and earning their salary
  • While having on-the-job training at Master’s-level they will be able to apply what they learn quite early on in the programme


Phase 1: Months 1 – 12

The Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Strategy and Innovation’s six core modules (PGDLSI).  Each module is over a 2-month period to allow you to properly apply the knowledge you gain.  Each module is delivered through live online lectures held every week for 8 weeks plus online learning.  The core modules are:

  1. Education Leadership & Management
  2. Strategic Management
  3. Instructional Leadership & Supervision
  4. Corporate Governance, Ethics and CSR
  5. Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  6. Leading Change

Assessment of each Module is as follows:

  • Written Assignment of about 3,500 words for the testing of knowledge (70% of the marks); and
  • Submission of evidence to demonstrate the application/attainment of related skills and behaviours (30% of the marks)

Phase 2: Months 13 – 15

Preparing for EPA:

  • A 500-word Strategic Business Proposal summary (this must be agreed by the employer and approved by ILM)
  • Outline of a Strategic Business Proposal
  • Completed Strategic Business Proposal Matrix
  • Compiled Portfolio of Evidence

Phase 3: Months 16 to 20

ILM End Point Assessment.  Before starting the EPA, an apprentice must meet the Gateway requirements, i.e.:

  • the employer must be content that the apprentice is working at or above the occupational standard
  • the apprentice must have achieved English and mathematics at Level 2 (GCSE or equivalent at grade C or above)
  • the apprentice has prepared the 500-word Strategic Business Proposal summary (this must be agreed by the employer and approved by ILM)
  • a completed Strategic Business Proposal Matrix
  • a compiled Portfolio of Evidence

The End Point Assessment Officer (EPAO) must confirm that all required gateway evidence has been provided and accepted as meeting the gateway requirements. The EPAO is responsible for confirming gateway eligibility. Once this has been confirmed, the EPA period starts

This EPA should then be completed within an EPA period lasting typically for 3 to 5 months. This EPA consists of 2 discrete assessment methods

Phase 4: Months 13 onwards

The optional Master’s or MBA top-up will comprise of a research methods module and submission of a Management Project.

There is a small fee for the top-up MBA qualification and this is your responsibility.  It can either be paid just before you are accepted by the University or by monthly instalments  If you pay by instalments you will be fully refunded if you change your mind about the top-up MBA prior to you starting it


From start to finish this Senior Leader Apprenticeship should take about 18 months.  If the top-up Master’s degree is to be included, then the apprenticeship + Master’s degree top-up can be completed in 18 months to 2 ½ years.  It is delivered on a part-time basis, i.e., while you continue to work for your organisation


If an organisation has a payroll bill of over £3 million each year – it pays the levy. It can use its levy funds only for apprenticeship training

If the employing organisation doesn’t pay the levy or if it has used all its levy there is co-investment where it only pays 5% of the training costs and the government pays 95%

The funds cannot pay for other costs associated with apprentices (e.g., wages, statutory licences to practise, travel and subsidiary costs, work placement programmes or the setting up of an apprenticeship programme)

The funds can only be used up to the funding band maximum for the apprenticeship (£14,000 for the Senior Leader programme). It cannot be used to pay for the top-up MBA.  This cost is the employee’s responsibility


End Point Assessment method 1: Strategic business proposal, presentation with questioning (this assessment method has 2 components)

Component 1: Strategic business proposal (undertaken after the apprentice has gone through the gateway)

The assessment method is the production of a strategic business proposal, presentation and questioning. The strategic business proposal must be undertaken after the apprentice has gone through the gateway

A strategic business proposal involves the apprentice completing a relevant and defined piece of work that has a real business benefit. Apprentices will prepare and deliver a presentation that, along with the strategic business proposal, appropriately covers the KSBs assigned to this method of assessment. It will be followed by questioning from the independent assessor

The strategic business proposal should be designed to ensure that the apprentice’s work meets the needs of the organisation, is relevant to their role and allows the relevant KSBs to be assessed for the EPA

The employer will ensure it has a real business application and the EPAO will ensure it meets the requirements of the EPA, including suitable coverage of the KSBs assigned to this assessment method as shown in the mapping of assessment methods

The strategic business proposal does not need to be fully implemented during the EPA period, but it must be a comprehensive strategic business proposal that will enable full implementation at an appropriate time for the organisation. The strategic business proposal must include evidence of board or senior leader sign-off for implementation

The strategic business proposal’s word limit is 4,000 words (+/- 10% at the apprentice’s discretion) excluding tables, graphs, figures, references and annexes.  The 4,000 words is reflective of the real world that senior leaders work in and aligns with this role’s demands, as well as adding real value

The apprentice will have 12 weeks to write and submit the strategic business proposal and presentation, following the EPAO’s approval of the strategic business proposal’s scope and title

Component 2: Presentation with questioning

Apprentices will prepare and deliver a presentation that appropriately covers the KSBs assigned to this method of assessment. The purpose of the questioning is to seek clarification of the strategic business proposal or presentation, to assess the depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and behaviours and to assess those KSBs that the apprentice did not have the opportunity to demonstrate with the strategic business proposal, although these should be kept to a minimum

The presentation must be submitted at the same time as the strategic business proposal (no later than 12 weeks after the Gateway). The independent assessor should have two weeks to review the strategic business proposal prior to the presentation

The apprentice will be given 4 weeks’ notice of the presentation date to allow the independent assessor sufficient time to review the strategic business proposal and presentation and prepare appropriate questions

The presentation will typically last for 20 minutes, and the questioning will typically last for 40 minutes. The discretionary additional 10% time can be allocated in any proportion across the presentation and questioning

End-point assessment method 2Professional discussion underpinned by a portfolio of evidence (this assessment method has 1 component)

A professional discussion is a two-way discussion which involves both the independent assessor and the apprentice actively listening and participating in a formal conversation. It gives the apprentice the opportunity to make detailed and proactive contributions to confirm their competency across the KSBs mapped to this method

The professional discussion was selected as a valid way to draw out KSBs, in particular behaviours. It allows for a range of examples to be brought forward during the two-way conversation and ensures that excellence can be achieved and acknowledged. It allows the apprentice to be assessed against KSBs that may not naturally occur during other assessment methods. It enables the apprentice to demonstrate the application of skills and behaviours as well as knowledge

It allows scope for the apprentice to demonstrate the depth and breadth of KSBs, allowing for a distinction marking

The professional discussion must last for 60 minutes. The independent assessor has the discretion to increase the time of the professional discussion by up to 10% to allow the apprentice to complete their last answer

The apprentice will be encouraged to refer to their portfolio of evidence during the professional discussion to support their responses

The portfolio of evidence

This should be complied during the programme period of the apprenticeship must contain evidence related to the KSBs that will be assessed by the professional discussion.

  • It will typically contain 18 discrete pieces of evidence
  • Evidence may be used to demonstrate more than one KSB; a qualitative as opposed to quantitative approach is suggested
  • Evidence must be clearly mapped, in an annex, against the KSBs allocated to this assessment method
  • Evidence sources may include*:

    • video/audio extracts (these should be a maximum of 5 minutes in length)
    • written statements
    • project plans
    • observation reports
    • presentations to feedback from managers, supervisors or peers (any employer or peer contributions should focus only direct observation of evidence (for example witness statements) rather than opinions
    • papers or reports written by the apprentice
    • performance reviews

This is not a definitive list; other evidence sources are allowable

The portfolio of evidence is not directly assessed/marked. It underpins the professional discussion


This is an opportunity for you once you have successfully completed the 6 taught modules. You will need to undertake a research-methods module and a Management Project/dissertation to gain the University of South Wales or the University of Gloucestershire MBA. The dissertation will be supervised by us.

With the University of South Wales, they deliver an assessed online Research Methods module.  There is no assessed research methods module with the University of Gloucestershire. Research Methods Module will develop your understanding and skills of research in a management subject discipline.  You will learn to critically review a range of research methodologies and select the most appropriate one to address a research need. It will you with the skills required for the practical aspects of planning, conducting and producing a Master’s level work.

The Management Project with the University of South Wales 

The taught element of the Management Project will be delivered asynchronously online and be supported by two synchronous lectures delivered by University of South Wales staff.  Learners will:

  • Explore the principles and practice of project management in an educational management especially when analysing a complex problem
  • Examine and critically assess the organisational dynamics that provide the context for using selected approaches to managing projects and problem solving
  • Evaluate selected management tools and techniques in project management and explore key consultancy skills and the ability to evaluate appropriate approaches to problem solving
  • Understand the necessity of true cause and effect analysis and the impact this analysis will have on cross functional and multi-organisational relationships
  • Be able to communicate project content in a structured and coherent manner to a variety of organisational ‘clients’

Research proposals will be received and approved by the University of South Wales and learners will be allocated LEB supervisors

Learners should select a research topic that is of interest to them, which capitalises on their skills and knowledge and will add value to the organisation on which the project is based

Assessments of the USW Research Methods

The Research Methods has two assessment components consisting of a 2,500 word assignment critically appraising quantitative research methods and a 3,000 word assignment on qualitative research methods where students collect and analyse qualitative data

The Work Based Project is a 12,000 word management report


London Examinations Board has significant experience in delivering Master’s level programmes and pathways in partnership with various universities in the UK, Australia, USA and Europe

Over a thousand of our learners have graduated with an MBA with us. Our experience has given us complete confidence that, as an established training provider, we can cater to the needs of individual learners who wish to develop their knowledge through structured and customized learning

Our Senior Leader Apprenticeship will be delivered online so the programme will be scheduled in a flexible manner to meet employers’ and apprentices’ requirements and taking into account their family needs.  We are not a university delivering only academic focused learning

Face-to-face learning will usually take place via live online lectures and workshops to create the most conducive and best possible learning experience

Apprentices on the optional top-up MBA are also welcome to attend a graduation ceremony at the University of South Wales

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