Schooling: a social and cultural history (Module 19249)

This module will examine the development of compulsory schooling in England and Wales from 1870 until today. 

It will cover both the social and political history, analysing both how the development of schooling can be related to economic trends, political struggles and social problems, and exploring the symbolic dimensions - the meaning, experiences and representations - of schooling.

By undertaking exercises in critical reading and documentary analysis, you will be developing a range of study skills required for higher education.


By the end of this module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of education reform in the period.
  • Relate education reform and practice to wider political, economic and social change.
  • Explain representations of schooling and school practice as moments of symbolic practice.
  • Employ basic theoretical concepts in order to analyse historical case studies in written work.
  • Read and understand appropriate academic prose.
  • Lead and contribute to academic group discussions in an appropriate manner.
  • Demonstrate a basic ability to summarise historical arguments.
  • Identify and begin to implement strategies for analysing historical arguments.

Module Lead

Dr Laura Day-Ashley


20 credits


2,000 word essay (50%) and 2 hour unseen examination (50%)

Contact time

Lectures (20 hours), Seminars (20 hours), External visits (1 hours), Guided independent study (159 hours)  

Programmes associated with this module