Education, Policy and Society

This module will explore the landscape of education policy, examining how and why policies gain or lose prominence at particular moments.

Drawing on the foundation disciplines of history, philosophy and sociology, we will critically interrogate the contested role and purpose of education in the 21st Century. We will analyse who is engaged in this contest for influence, which social and economic challenges are made prominent and which are not and, consider how education priorities differ within different international contexts.

We will adopt an intersectional framework throughout the module, as we explore central themes of power, equity and social justice. With regard to the English education system, for example, we are interested in the factors contributing to the government’s focus on testing. How do schools respond to these expectations and changes to the curriculum? What is the impact of these policies on the ways in which families and pupils themselves come to view education? These factors will be explored via three main strands:

1. Understanding Educational Priorities: Critiques, Concerns & Contestations - this will provide evidence & set the scene

2. Professional Identities, Educational Subjects, Parental Resistance – this will consider the views and experiences of the recipients & stakeholders of education, agency and forms of resistance

3. The Future of Education: Case for Optimism or Cause for Concern – this strand will consider future possibilities and trends in the context of arapidly changing economic and political context.

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Situate key education policy debates within a historical context.
  • Critically evaluate and assess the impact of key governmentpolicies on key stakeholders.
  • Understand how education policy impacts on differentmarginalized groups.
  • Draw on empirical research and key debates to evidence andcorroborate arguments around the development and impact ofeducation policy.


4,000 word essay (100%)