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Unit information: Education Policy in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Education Policy
Unit code EDUCD0068
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Watermeyer
Open unit status Not open
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School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

This unit is aimed at helping students develop an understanding of policy, governance and implementation in the education sector. The course focuses on the nature of policy and governance and their relationships, of the assumptions underpinning theories of policy and governance, theories on the nature of policy actors such as the state and community and market stakeholders, the changing regional and global contexts for states and their impact on states’ policy making capacity, the changing nature of policy in educational states in transition, and the implementation and management of policy in educational institutions. It will address the roles of professionals in governance and policy at all levels of education systems. Critical discourse analysis will be elaborated as a key analytical tool for policy text analysis, while models of implementation that can be used in empirical settings for evaluation-based research will be reviewed. Selected examples and case studies will be used as a basis for closer analysis of policy formation and implementation throughout the unit. Students will be invited to present case studies based on their experience and critically reflect on the usefulness of the theoretical and conceptual ideas discussed.


To critically consider recent theory, practice and research in educational governance, policy formation and implementation in education settings at the global, national and local levels.

Your learning on this unit

At the end of the unit participants should be able to:

  1. Identify different conceptualizations of educational policy, governance and implementation and describe the basis of those differences.
  2. Analyze the structure of policy systems including global political economy, policy cultures, policy institutions and policy actors.
  3. Examine the relationship between how the state is conceptualized, policy formation and how policy is implemented and managed in local settings.
  4. Reflect upon the changing roles of professionals and other stakeholders in education systems around issues such as quality, effectiveness, accountability and evidence based policy.
  5. Undertake a critical analysis of policy discourses and their implementation in an organizational setting.
  6. Consider how the ideas, evidence and methods raised in the unit might be applied in your own institutional context; and reflect critically on your own experience as a practitioner in relation to the issues discussed in the unit.

How you will learn

The course will be delivered through a combination of teaching strategies, which may include whole group lectures, visiting speakers, case studies, critical analysis of key readings, group discussions and student presentations.

How you will be assessed

Presentation linked to a 4,000 word essay which will assess students’ critical understanding of the literature on policy, governance and implementation and ability to discuss the implications of the theories, concepts and methods of analysis in relation to their own professional practice and current educational policy.


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. EDUCD0068).

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.