SA4B9      Half Unit
Education Policy, Reform and Financing

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sonia Exley OLD2.65


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy), MSc in Social Policy (Research) and MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course considers education policy, reforms and financing across developed countries. It uses concepts and tools from a range of academic fields - economics, politics, social policy, philosophy and sociology - to scrutinise education, with a particular focus on equity, social justice and the distribution of resources.

Issues to be addressed include: the aims of education; the impact of social characteristics on educational outcomes (e.g. class, 'race'/ ethnicity and gender) and related policy reforms; accountability and market-oriented reforms in education; privatisation and the changing role of the state; power and the global politics of educational policy making; early years education; school-based education; and tertiary education.



10 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Plus revision seminar(s).

Indicative reading

Specialist lists for each topic will be provided. The following introductory books are recommended:

  • Arthur, J., Peterson, A. (2011) The Routledge Companion to Education. London: Routledge;
  • Glennerster, H. (2009) Understanding the Finance of Welfare (2nd edition). Bristol: Policy Press;
  • Halsey, A.H., Lauder, H., Brown, P., Wells, A.S. (1997) Education: Culture, Economy, Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press;
  • Lauder, H., Brown, P., Dillabough, J., Halsey, A.H. (eds) Education, Globalization and Social Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • West, A., Pennell, H. (2003) Underachievement in Schools. London: Routledge Falmer.
  • Ball, S.J. (2008) The Education Debate. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Feintuck, M., Stevens, R. (2013) School Admissions and Accountability: Planning, Choice or Chance? Bristol: Policy Press.


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 10.9
Merit 64.1
Pass 23.4
Fail 1.6

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2014/15: 28

Average class size 2014/15: 14

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 81.6%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)