module specification

SS5034 - Education Policy in Historical and Social Contexts (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Education Policy in Historical and Social Contexts
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
86 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
4 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Historical Essay (2500 words)
Coursework 50%   Critical Policy Commentary (2500 words)
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

Module aims:
• To acquaint students with the relation between educational policy and the wider social, political and economic context in which it is formulated;
• To investigate policy as a symptom of underlying conceptions of the purpose or aims of education within specific historical periods; 
• To appraise different conceptions of the nature of schooling, in relation to wider social goals in specific historical periods;
• To introduce students to key educational reports of the 20th century, and critically analyse the reasons for their impact or lack of impact on educational policy and legislation


Part 1:  The History of Education and Educational Policy in England and Wales from the 19th to early 21st centuries

Educational institutions prior to 1870; the Education Acts of 1870 & 1880; Balfour Act of 1902; WWI and the Fisher Act, 1918; the 1920s and Hadow’s Consultative Committee; WWII and the Butler Act of 1944; 1960s counter-culture and the context of the Plowden Report; 1970s, issues with minorities excluded from education; 1980s and the foundation of the National Curriculum; New Labour Educational Policy. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO6

Part 2:  In-depth study of landmark Education Reports of the 20th century – Hadow, Plowden, Warnock & Swann
Hadow’s notion of the Primary School and qualified advocacy of child-centred progressivism; Plowden’s full-blooded advocacy of Primary School progressivism and its challenge to the 11+; Warnock’s definition of Special Educational Needs and the issue of integration vs. inclusion; Swann’s challenge to institutional racism and racially segregated schooling. LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Lectures and seminars will encourage the exploration of key themes in policy in relation to historical contexts. Private, independent study will deepen formal teaching. Weblearn resources will assist with the latter. Essay briefings and one-to-one tutorials leading up to assignments will assist students’ reflective learning and study skills.

Learning outcomes

1. Students will be able to engage in historical debates concerning the context leading up to the state’s involvement in education in England and Wales
2. Students will be able to summarise the history of the growth of educational institutions and the legislative policies that formed them up to the present day
3. Students will be able to understand the relation between education policy and the social, political, economic and cultural forces that have alternatively promoted and restrained its impact
4. Students will be able to recount the context and central proposals of landmark education reports of the 20th century
5. Students will be able to evaluate the policy initiatives of these reports and identify those of their initiatives that were translated into legislation, and those that were not
6. Students will be able to give causal reasons that account for the success of some policy initiatives and the failure of others

Assessment strategy

Students will be assessed as follows:
1 Historical essay 2500 words
2 Critical policy commentary 2500 words


Core Texts
Report of the Consultative Committee on The Primary School, London: His Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1931 (Hadow Report)
Children and their Primary Schools: A Report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (England), Vol. I, London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1967 (Plowden Report)
Special Educational Needs: Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People, London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1978 (Warnock Report)
Education for All: Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Children from Ethnic Minority Groups, London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1985 (Swann Report)
Secondary Texts
Alexander, R. (ed.), Children, their World, their Education: Final Report and Recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review, London: Routledge, 2010
Alexander, R., ‘Where There is no Vision…’, Forum 49:1 & 2, 2007, pp.187-199
Barber, M., The Making of the 1944 Education Act, London: Cassell, 1994
Bartlett, S. and Burton, D., An Introduction to Education Studies, London: Sage, 2010
Barton, L., & Tomlinson, S., (eds.) Special Education: Policy, Practices and Social Issues, Harper & Row, 1981
Bernbaum, G., Social Change and the Schools 1918-1944, Routledge, 1967
Blundell, D., Education and Constructions of Childhood, London: Continuum, 2012
Blundell D., “Childhood and education”, in Isaacs, S., Blundell, D., Foley, A., Ginsburg, N., McDonough, B., Silverstone, D. and Young, T., Social Problems in the UK: an introduction, London: Routledge, 2014
Blundell, D., Rethinking Children’s Spaces and Places: attitudes in contemporary society, London: Bloomsbury, 2016
Brehony, K.J., ‘The ‘Schools Master’s Parliament: the Origins and Formation of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education 1868-1916’, History of Education 23:2, 1994, pp.171-193
Coffey A., Education and social change, Buckingham, Open University Press, 2001
Coldron, J., ‘Uses and Abuses of Primary Education: the Relation of Primary to Secondary Schooling in England between 1870-2014’, 
Cunningham, H., The Invention of Childhood, London: BBC Books, 2006
Cunningham, P., Curriculum Change in the Primary School since 1945: Dissemination of the Progressive Ideal, Falmer, 1988
Finch, J., Education as Social Policy, London: Longman, 1984
Fowler, W.S., Implementing the National Curriculum: the Policy and Practice of the 1988 Education Reform Act, London: Kogan Page, 1990
Galton, M., et al, Inside the Primary Classroom, Routledge, 1980
Gillard, D., ‘The Plowden Report’,
Gillborn, D., Racism and Antiracism in Real Schools, Buckingham, OUP, 1995
Gillborn, D., Racism and Education: Coincidence or Conspiracy?, London: Routledge, 2008
Glennerster, H., ‘The Plowden Research’, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 132: 2 (1969), pp.194-204
Gundara, J., Jones, C., & Kimberley, K. (eds.), Racism, Diversity and Education, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1986
Harris, B., The Origins of the British Welfare State: Society, State and Social Welfare in England and Wales, 1800-1945, Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004
Hendrick, H., Children, Childhood and English Society, 1880-1990, Cambridge: CUP, 1997 
Jones, K., Education in Britain: 1944 to the Present, London: Polity Press, 2003
Lawson, J., A Social History of Education in England, London: Methuen, 1973
McCulloch, G., (ed.) The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in the History of Education, London & New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2005
Maclure, S., Educational Documents: England and Wales, 1816 to the Present Day, London: Methuen, 1985
Maclure, S., A History of Education in London, 1870-1990, 2nd edition, London: The Penguin Press, 1990
Moss, D., ‘The Social Divisions of Childhood’ in Childhood: Services and Provision for Children, edited by P. Jones et al, Harlow: Pearson, 2008
Murphy, J., The Education Act 1870: Text and Commentary, London: David & Charles, 1973
Ozga, J., ‘Education: New Labour, New Teachers’ in New Managerialism, New Welfare?, edited by J. Clarke, S. Gewirtz & E. McLaughlin, London: Sage & OUP, 2000
Parton, N., The Politics of Child Protection: Contemporary Developments and Future Directions, Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014
Peters, R.S. (ed.), Perspectives on Plowden, Routledge, 1969
Race, R., Multicultural Education, London: Continuum, 2011
Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B., Globalising Education Policy, London: Routledge, 2010
Sabatier, P., ‘Toward Better Theories of the Policy Process’, Policy Studies Jul 1991, pp.147-155
Sage, R., (ed.) Meeting the Needs of Students with Diverse Backgrounds, London: Continuum, 2010
Selleck, R.J.W., English Primary Education and the Progressives, 1914-1939, Routledge, 1972
Sharp, J., Ward, S. & Hankin, L., (eds.) Education Studies: An Issues- Based Approach, 2nd edition, Exeter: Learning Matters, 2009
Shephard, M.T., Maria Montessori: Teacher of Teachers, Minneapolis: Lerner, 1996
Simon, B., The State and Educational Change: Essays in the History of Education and Pedagogy, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1994
Stone, M., The Education of the Black Child in Britain: The Myth of Multiracial Education, Fontana Paperbacks, 1981
Swinnerton, B. ‘The 1931 Report of the Consultative Committee on the Primary School: tensions and contradictions’, History of Education 1996, 25:1
Taylor, J., Joseph Lancaster, the Poor Child’s Friend: Educating the Poor in the Early Nineteenth-Century, West Wickham: Campanile Press, 1996
Taylor, J., Joseph Lancaster and his Lancasterian Monitorial Schools, Hitchin: Hitchin British Schools Trust, 2007
Tierney, J., (ed.) Race, Migration and Schooling, East Sussex: Holt Education, 1982
Tomlinson, S., Education in a Post-Welfare Society, 2nd edition, Maidenhead: OUP, 2005
Tomlinson, S., Race and Education: Policy and Politics in Britain, Maidenhead, OUP, 2008
Tomlinson, S., The Politics of Race, Class and Special Education, Taylor & Francis, 2014
Trowler, P., Education Policy, 2nd edition, London: Routledge, 2003
Visser  J. & Upton, G., (eds.) Special Education in Britain after Warnock, David Fulton, 1993
Warnock, M., “Children with Special Needs: The Warnock Report”, British Medical Journal, 1979 1, pp.667-668
Warnock, M., & Norwich, B., Special Educational Needs: A New Look, Continuum, 2011
Welch, S., ‘Education: Service or System?’, in Childhood: Services and Provision for Children, edited by P. Jones et al, Harlow: Pearson, 2008 
Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K., Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, London: Penguin, 2010
Wolf, A., Does Education Matter? Myths about Education and Economic Growth, London: Penguin, 2002
History of Education: Journal of the History of Education Society
Journal of Philosophy and History of Education
Education in England: