Education Policy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anne West OLD.2.30


This course is available on the 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 has a comparative and international focus. The course aims to show how major concepts used in social policy can be applied to the study of education, for example, equality of opportunity, equity and the distribution of resources. 

Issues to be addressed include: policy goals of education; historical development of education and the role of the state in provision and funding; the impact of social characteristics on educational outcomes (class, gender, ethnicity and ‘race); education of children with special educational needs and disabilities; financing education; private schooling; privatisation and the changing role of the state; early years education; school-based education; post-compulsory education including higher education; education systems in comparative perspective and education regimes, decentralisation and devolution. Not all of these issues are covered as separate weekly topics.



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

Indicative reading

Some introductory texts are recommended:

Arthur, J., Peterson, A. (eds) (2011) The Routledge Companion to Education. London: Routledge.

Lauder, H., Brown, P., Dillabough, J., Halsey, A.H. (eds) (2006) Education, Globalization and Social Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Specialist reading lists for each topic will be provided.


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2019/20: 14

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: Yes (20)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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