ED2BEP-Contemporary Education and Policy

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Prof Richard Harris
Email: r.j.harris@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will cultivate students’ understanding of the UK’s post-war public policy context within which education is a part. It will promote the use of critical thinking in order to explore political and philosophical debates in relation to the purpose of education in society.  


This module will encourage students to see education from an historical and political context, with reference to legislative and policy developments. It will consider the use of education as a social tool and it will refer to literature to consider questions about the purpose of education within society.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Identify a range of policy and legislative changes in education

  • Critically analyse a range of perspectives in relation to the purpose and value of education

  • Demonstrate an understanding through analysis of ethical and moral considerations in relation to the concept of the rights of the individual

  • Evaluate factors impacting on education through policy development and implementation

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

  • Exploring the purpose of education

  • Understanding the impact of curriculum and assessment

  • Contemporary education policy in the UK

  • Legislative and political change in education

  • Educational philosophers and their work

  • Structures of education and society

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, discussion groups, small group tasks and online contributions 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 24
Tutorials 1
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 40
    Wider reading (directed) 30
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation for tutorials 2
    Preparation for presentations 3
    Preparation for seminars 10
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 10
    Essay preparation 64
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

2500 words

Formative assessment methods:

There will be regular opportunities for formative assessment and feedback 

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission during the summer resit period. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: 

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding: 

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 

Last updated: 13 August 2021


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