SP432      Half Unit
Education Policy, Reform and Financing

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Amelia Peterson (OLD.2.38) and Prof Anne West (OLD.2.30)


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 (LSE and Fudan), 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; education systems in comparative perspective. 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:

  • Apple, M.W., Ball, S.J., Gandin, L.A. (eds) (2010) The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education. London: Routledge.
  • 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.
  • McGrath, S. Gu, Q. (eds) (2015) Routledge Handbook of International Education and Development. London: Routledge.
  • Mundy, K., Green, A,. Lingard, B., Verger, A. (eds) (2016) The Handbook of Global Education Policy. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
  • Halsey, A.H., Lauder, H., Brown, P., Wells, A.S. (eds) (1997) Education: Culture, Economy, Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Online 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: 47

Average class size 2019/20: 16

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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