module specification

AE4017 - Understanding Education Policy, Themes and Issues (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
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
60 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
6 hours Placement / study abroad
162 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Written (2300 word) essay
Coursework 50%   Presentation or podcast on chosen theme (10 minutes )
Running in 2023/24

(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.

• To encourage discussions about social justice in education and decolonising the curriculum.

Prior learning requirements

Enhanced DBS for school visits.


The syllabus for this module will include:

• 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 for example: decolonising the curriculum, reflecting realities – representation of diversity in children’s books.

• 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.

• Engaging Parents.

• Supporting children with English as an Additional Language.

• Social Justice and education.

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. 

The module requires students to carry out observational visits to a school and field trips.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will:

1. Be able to discuss primary education in relation to a broad historical, social, political, economic and global contexts.

2. 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.

3. Explore issues around current policy and practice to identify possible future developments and change in curriculum and pedagogical choices.

4. Reflect on the development of 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.