Education Policy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anne West OLD.2.30


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 available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and 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 and international component. The course aims to show how major concepts in social policy can be applied to the study of education, for example, inequality, social justice and distribution of resources. The course focuses on broad issues of educational policy, including the 1944 Education Act, the 1988 Education Reform Act, the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act and the 2010 Academies Act.  It also explores specific issues that have implications for equality of opportunity, equity and social justice: social class, ethnicity/ 'race' and gender, special educational needs/disability and financing education across different phases of education – early years, schools and higher education.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

One formative essay in MT and one formative essay in LT.

Indicative reading

Some introductory texts are recommended: R Aldrich, A Century of Education, 2002; C.Chitty, Education Policy in Britain, 2009; H. Lauder et al (eds) Education, Globalization and Social Change, 2006. A comprehensive bibliography will be provided.


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

Student performance results

(2014/15, 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
First 33.3
2:1 48.1
2:2 14.8
Third 0
Fail 3.7

Teachers' comment

This course is different from a ‘standard’ undergraduate course.  Instead of lectures and classes there are weekly seminars in MT.  These involve a short introduction one week, with a discussion of key questions and issues arising from students’ reading and a group activity the following week. In LT, the arrangements are different to allow for in-depth learning: for each topic there is a seminar one week and the following week two or three students give a joint presentation on different aspects of the topic and organise a group activity. This format provides an opportunity for students to gain experience of carrying out focused research on a particular topic; working in a team; presenting their work to others in the group; and facilitating discussion amongst the student group.

Examination results: In 2014/15 one candidate was recorded as a fail due to absence from the examination.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2016/17: 14

Average class size 2016/17: 15

Capped 2016/17: Yes (15)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

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