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Unit information: Education and Social Change in 2021/22

Unit name Education and Social Change
Unit code EDUC10002
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Julia Paulson
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces students to:

  • the main disciplines which shape education, including sociology, philosophy, economics, history and psychology, and the accounts they give of the relationships between education and social change;
  • the structures of formal education in the UK and the different conceptions of the value and purposes of education they represent;
  • how key stakeholders, such as policymakers, professional associations, teacher unions and employer bodies, have influenced the ways in which education is organised, for example, by raising the school leaving age, the introduction of a National Curriculum, or Academies;
  • the potential of education to create a more just and socially cohesive society, and what structural, organisational, and individual barriers help or hinder the realisation of this vision;
  • the role of educational theory and research in identifying and analysing critical educational changes, using concepts such as, marketisation, widening participation, social justice, social inclusion.

Using education in the UK and its regions as the critical case, the aims of the unit are to enable students to:

  • describe the institutional arrangements that make up a formal education system;
  • recognise how and why such arrangements vary over time and with what consequences for whom?;
  • develop a critical understanding of how the different disciplines of education account for educational challenges and social change;
  • understand some of the key theoretical perspectives that have shaped education as a multi-disciplinary and applied field, identifying salient differences in how they conceptualise values, purposes and outcomes in education.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. describe the main ways in which formal education in the UK is organised and explain key factors that have shaped current arrangements;
  2. recognise why and how education systems adjust in the light of wider social change and the different ways in which disciplinary traditions understand these processes;
  3. review a range of research studies on a given theme, drawing them into a coherent argument.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of lectures, class discussion, investigative activities and group presentations. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment : a short presentation jointly researched topic

Summative assessment: a 2,000 word essay (ILO 1-3)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUC10002).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.