SP432      Half Unit
Education Policy, Reform and Financing

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sonia Exley OLD 2.64


This course is available on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations) and MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All Social Policy Courses are ‘Controlled Access’. Please see the link below for further details on the allocation process:


Course content

This course considers education policy, reform and financing across a range of countries. It uses concepts and tools from a number of academic disciplines – social policy, sociology, economics, politics and philosophy – to scrutinise education. Throughout the course, there is particular focus on equity, social justice and the distribution of resources.

Issues to be addressed include: the impact of social characteristics on educational outcomes (class, gender and race and ethnicity, with a cross-cutting focus on special educational needs and ideas of ‘inclusion’) and related policy reforms; accountability and market-oriented reforms in education; privatisation and the changing role of the state; power and the politics of educational policy making; global policy transfer in education; early years education; school-based education and post-compulsory education. Not all of these issues are covered as separate weekly topics.



15 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

One formative essay in LT.

Indicative reading

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


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

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills