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[SI0005] - Education and Society

Module Code: SI0005
Module Leader: Martin Jephcote
Year: 1
Semester: Both
Number of Credits: 20

Teaching Method: Lectures and seminars
Assessment: Coursework (Essays) 2500 words (40%) - Autumn Semester; Written examination 2 hours (60%) - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Education; Social Science; Sociology


Module Aims

This module will introduce you to the role of education in modern societies, with particular reference to England and Wales.  You will consider the structure and organisation of education in schools, colleges of further education and universities and be presented with a selection and summary of key policy changes and their impacts.  The emphasis will be on developing your own understanding and critical analysis of the relationship between education and society and in this way, the module will provide a foundation for further studies in Year Two and Three.  Thus, the overall aimof the module is to provide a foundation to engage in intellectually rigorous analysis of educational processes, systems and approaches, and their cultural, societal, political, historical and economic contexts.


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Comprehension

  • Describe in outline the structure and principal changes in education in Britain since the early 19th Century.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the impact of major education policies on educational provision.
  • Show a good working knowledge of the societal and organisational structures and purposes of educational systems and their implications for people’s engagement with mainstream culture, and participation in society and political processes.
  • Understand the problematic nature  of educational theory, policy and practice.

Skills (Application and Analysis)

  • Analyse and apply a critical perspective to relationships between educational provision and wider social structures.
  • Question the aims and values of education and its relationship to society.
  • Appreciate the competing claims made on education and indicate the outcomes to which they give rise.
  • Through use of examples of the implementation of policies in practice, question and reflect on the reasons for educational reform and justify a personal position by reference to the research literature.

Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)

  • Show a basic understanding of the reasons for major educational reform (with special reference to the UK), and reflect on ones’ own development as a learner.
  • Develop and demonstrate a critique of current policies and practice and challenge assumptions.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between educational contexts and the wider social structures in which they are situated.
  • Show an understanding of the changing impacts of educational systems on communities and society.

Transferable Skills

The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills:  Your ability to construct and sustain a reasoned argument about educational issues in a clear, lucid and coherent manner; promote a range of qualities including intellectual independence and critical engagement with evidence.   For example, formative and summative assessments will help you to develop your written work and seminars will provide an opportunity to engage and develop confidence in oral expression and group work.  Module reading and preparation for and engagement in seminars will develop data retrieval and processing; and application and analysis skills.


Synopsis of Module Content

The module will provide you with an historic overview and understanding of the current structure and principal features of education in Wales and England, including schools, further and higher education.  Within and across these different contexts, the module will introduce you to:

  • the societal and organisational structures and purposes of educational systems, and the values underpinning their organisation, such as equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome;
  • potential connections and discontinuities between each of the contexts and the possible implications for learners and the learning process;
  • analytical perspectives on education, the state and society, including regulation, accountability and markets;
  • the social determinants of  educational attainment, such as class, gender end ethnicity;
  • the changing governance of education, including choice, diversity and new managerialism;
  • the social organisation of knowledge;
  • access to educational opportunities, educational engagement and disengagement, and differential outcomes.

Opportunities for Formative Assessment

FORMATIVE assessment is an opportunity to undertake a review and assessment of your learning (knowledge, skills and understanding) and to get some feedback.  Unlike SUMMATIVE his does not count towards the final mark for the module.

In the mid-point of the Autumn semester you are required to submit a short 1500 word essay.  Time will be given in a seminar to prepare for this.  This is an opportunity for you to get some practice at essay writing before you submit your SUMMATIVE coursework assignment in January.

Towards the end of the second semester you will be required to undertake an on-line assessment which will check your recall of information from across the module and this will provide instant FORMATIVE assessment and feedback.  There will be an opportunity to discuss this in a seminar.


Arrangements for Feedback on Work

You will be provided with feedback on FORMATIVE assessments. You will each also receive individual written feedback on your SUMMATIVE coursework assignment, which is submitted in January.  A lecture in the Spring semester will be devoted to giving more general feedback, that is, to the whole group, on this assessment.

Following marking of the May/June examination scripts, generic feedback including an overall commentary of performance will be posted on Learning Central.


Indicative Reading

* Key texts

Coffey, A. (2001) Education and Social Change Buckingham: Open University Press.

Gewirtz, S. and Cribb, (2009) Understanding Education, Cambridge: Polity Press

*Meighan, R. and Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2003) A Sociology of Educating (Fourth Edition), London: Continuum

Moore, R. (2004)  Education and Society,  Cambridge: Polity Press

*Trowler, P. (2003) Education Policy: a policy sociology approach (2nd edition) Eastbourne: Gildridge Press