module specification

SS4020 - The School and the City (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title The School and the City
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Seminar presentation of a selected reading critically summarising key points
Coursework 70%   Multimedia essay in which students will explore a variety of ways in which the city offers learning opportunities and ch
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon
Year (Spring and Summer) North Thursday Morning

Module summary

The module encourages students to reflect on their own identities and educational possibilities and limitations in urban contexts.  Students will engage with key reading and relevant theories to support this exploration.  Students will look at how the urban environment can be used as a resource for educational enquiry, particularly concepts of borders, boundaries, place and space and how these influence the social reality of the city.  The module explores how education and policy in the urban environment impacts on social class, ethnicity, gender, race, language and multilingualism.  Further, it investigates formal and informal learning in a variety of urban educational contexts.   Throughout the module, students will develop their critical reading and writing skills and improve their oral skills in presentations and seminars.


Activities in and out of class will encourage students explore their own identities and relationships with London in comparison to those of their peers and others through methods such as walking, photography, video and observation.

Students will explore theories related to space, place, globalisation, multiculturalism, equality and social justice, and how these contribute to the debates around and understanding of education in the urban context.

The module will investigate educational debates focusing on equality and diversity as hallmarks of urban schooling. These debates will be supported by the study of empirical research, policy and theory.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is taught through a series of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Students are actively guided and supported with the development of their study skills throughout the module. Feedback is offered throughout the module in a variety of ways including oral, written, group and individual feedback as well as feedforward to final assessments. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) contains additional materials and resources, which students are asked to explore independently and contribute to discussions online.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Recognise the city as an empirical resource for educational inquiry;
2. Acknowledge different social realities;
3. Identify a range of urban educational issues locally and globally;
4. Demonstrate an understanding of theories and research in urban education;
5. Show awareness of educational debates and policy around diversity and inclusion, educational institutions and their impacts on urban life.

Assessment strategy

Assessment 1. Presentation/seminar in which students engage critically with a chosen key reading.
Assessment 2. Multimedia essay in which students engage critically with a range of chosen key readings


Core texts
Back, L. (2012). Cultural sociology: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
Blundell, D. (2016). Rethinking children’s spaces and places. London: Bloomsbury.
Creswell, T. (2015, 2nd Edition). Place: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
Delaney, C., (2004). Investigating culture: An experiential introduction to anthropology. Oxford: Blackwell.
Gottdiener, M. & Budd, L. (2016). Key concepts in urban studies. London: Sage.
Hall, S. (2012). City, street and citizen: The measure of the ordinary. London Routledge.
Hollingsworth, S. & Archer, L. (2010). Urban schools as urban places: School reputation, children’s identities and engagement with education in London. Urban Studies, 47(3), 584-603.
Ingold, T. & Verguns, J. L. (eds.) (2016). Ways of walking: Ethnography and practice on foot. New York: Routledge.
Maalouf, A., (2000). On identity. London: Harville Press.
Massey, D., (2007). World city. Cambridge: Polity Press. – Introduction, pp.1-26
Pratt-Adams, S., Maguire, M. & Burn, E. (2010). Changing urban education. London: Continuum.
Rose, G. (2012, 3rd Edition). Visual methodologies: An interpretation of visual material. London: Sage.
Tuan, Y. F. (2001). Space and place: The perspective of experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
Ward, C. (1990). The child in the city. London: Bedford Square Press.