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Education, Policy And The City (Module)

Module description

Policies are developed in order to tackle what are perceived to be social issues or problems. For example, currently we have policies which aim to include children, students and all learners in society in order to improve their life chances. However, concerns about 'problems' in society are not new. In the nineteenth century in Britain, the movement of many people from the country-side to the newly emerging cities was accompanied by social changes and concerns about poverty, poor housing, child labour and what were viewed as the threats of the growing urban working class. It became accepted that the government (the state) would have to do something about these issues. Social policies were enacted to try to ameliorate these problems. Obviously education – the focus of this module - was one form of policy intervention. In this module we want to consider the origins of state intervention (policy) into educational provision. We will examine how and why certain policies were taken up, which ideologies have dominated at certain times and we will explore the sorts of policy outcomes which have come from all this. We want to consider how policies are developed and how they are implemented. We also want to consider how they change in the different contexts in which they are interpreted, experienced, enacted and/or resisted as well as through the actions of those charged with their implementation. Our module title includes the word 'city' because it is in cities that we can most easily see the way in which educational and other policies do their work and are resisted/ appropriated/impact on the lives of those who 'people policy'.

"The city concentrates and makes highly visible the contrasts between the rich and the poor. This concentration and visibility means that conflicts over scarce resources, not least education, between rich and poor are more likely, more extreme, and in turn, more visible in urban areas" (Coulby, 1992, p. 221)


*Please note that although all module information is correct for the 2020/21 academic year, it is subject to change for future academic years.

Staff information

Dr. Emma Towers

Teaching pattern

Not applicable

Module assessment - more information

  • 1 x 1000 word blog or policy briefing (15%)
  • 1 x 5000 word essay (85%)


Key information

Module code 7SSEM005

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 30

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module No