Education Policy

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anne West OLD.2.30


This course is available on the BSc in Criminology, BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Social Policy, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available with permission 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.

The course is different from a ‘standard’ undergraduate course.  Instead of lectures and seminars there are weekly seminars. In MT these involve a short introduction one week; this provides a framework for reading and focuses on the seminar questions. The next week there is a discussion of key issues arising from students' reading. Students are expected to read the essential readings each week (and at least one recommended reading). In the LT, the format is different.  There will be an interactive session one week and discussion.  The following week there will be presentations by students: students will be expected to work with a small number of other students and prepare a presentation relating to key seminar questions; this will require research to be undertaken.  This format provides an opportunity for students to gain experience of carrying out focused research on a particular topic and a deeper understanding of that topic; working in a team; presenting their work to others in the group perhaps using PowerPoint; and facilitating discussion amongst the student group. The seminars will also address essay writing,  critical research skills and the use of different forms of evidence.

Formative coursework

One formative essay in MT, one formative essay in LT, one mock examination essay LT.

Indicative reading

Some introductory texts are recommended:

 A comprehensive bibliography will be provided.


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

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills