module specification

AE4017 - Understanding Education Policy, Themes and Issues (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Understanding Education Policy, Themes and Issues
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
6 hours Placement / study abroad
210 hours Guided independent study
84 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Written (1,000 word) preparatory essay for case study
Coursework 60%   Setting-based case study of the implementation of aspects of the selected theme in practice (c.2,500 words)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Morning

Module summary

The module aims:
• to offer students a broad overview of educational policies, themes and issues that will encourage reflection on their experience and inform their identities as educational professionals;
• to situate these policies, themes and issues within historical, political, social, economic and global contexts thereby opening up students’ educational imagination;
• to consider the meaning of primary education, along with debates over its values in relation to social, economic and personal goals;
• to introduce pedagogy, curricula and assessment
• to enable students to construct and use critical languages and appropriate vocabulary to express their knowledge and understanding of education and professional practice;
• to recognise education as a site for dispute, controversy and contest and the responsibilities of teachers as social pedagogues.


• Outline history of education in England and Wales linking policy and legislation to social, political and economic contexts;
• Introduction to current policy and debates shaping primary education;
• Exploration of the meaning, goals and values surrounding primary education and professional practice as well as disputes and controversies;
• Introduction to pedagogy, curricula and assessment;
• Special education and additional needs;
• Equality, diversity and inclusion: ethnicity, social class, gender, (dis)ability and sexuality in education;
• Children’s lives, rights and primary education;
• Becoming a primary teacher
• Researching policy in practice
• Technology and change LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is committed to building from students’ existing experience of education and enhance this with knowledge and understanding that takes them forward as critically informed professionals.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will:

• be able to discuss primary education in relation to a broad historical, philosophical, social, political, economic and geographical contexts;
• be able to discuss and offer a critique of educational policy, key themes and controversial issues with confidence using sound knowledge, conceptual understanding and appropriate vocabulary;
• recognise the need to look beyond existing practice to embrace possible future developments and change;
• have a established a foundation for the construction of their professional identity as primary educators.

Assessment strategy

The assessment instruments seek to enable students to bring together their existing experience of education, the overarching dimensions of the theme(s) they select, and an understanding of how policies, principles and theories are realised in practice.  All this requires students to understand and use appropriate professional and academic vocabularies.


Core reading:

Bartlett S. and Burton D., (2016) Introduction to Education Studies. London, Sage
Matheson, D., (ed)(2015), An Introduction to the Study of Education, London: David Fulton
Thomas, G., (2013), Education: a very short introduction, Oxford: OUP
Ward, S., (ed)(2012), Education Studies: a student’s guide. London: Routledge Falmer

Additional reading:

Blundell, D., (2012), Education and Constructions of Childhood, London: Continuum International
Curtis, W. and Pettigrew, A., (2009), Education Studies: a reflective reader, Exeter: Learning Matters
Curtis, W. and Ward, S., (eds.)(2013), Education Studies: an issues-based approach, Exeter: Learning Matters
Jones, K., (2015), Education in Britain: 1944 to the present, London: Polity
Judge, B., Jones, P. and McCreery, E., (2009),  Critical Thinking Skills for Education Students, Exeter: Learning Matters
Ward, S. and Eden, C., (2009), Key Issues in Education Policy, London: Sage