Not available in 2013/14
Education Policy

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anne West OLD 1.16


This course is available on the BSc in Social Policy, BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

This course provides an introduction to the main issues in educational policy. It draws on interdisciplinary research literature and focuses on contemporary Britain although there is a comparative component. The course aims to show how major concepts in social policy can be applied to the study of education, for example, inequality (in terms of class, ethnicity and gender), social justice (special educational needs) and redistribution of resources. The course focuses on broad issues of educational policy, from the end of the 19th century onwards, including the 1944 Education Act, recent education reforms in early years, schools and higher education. It also explores specific issues that have implications for equality of opportunity, equity and social justice in the area of education: social class, ethnicity/ 'race' and gender, special educational needs/disability, early years education, adult learning and financing education.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of seminars in the ST.

Indicative reading

Some introductory texts are recommended: R Aldrich, A Century of Education, 2002; D Lawton, Education and Politics in the 1990s: conflict or consensus? 1992; A H Halsey et al, Education: Culture, Economy, Society, 1997; A West & H Pennell, Underachievement in Schools, 2003. A comprehensive bibliography will be provided.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2012/13: 18

Average class size 2012/13: 18

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills