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The University of Southampton

EDUC1033 Contemporary Education Issues, Problems and Policies

Module Overview

This module will provide you with a comprehensive overview of key issues and debates in contemporary education. Through studying this module, you will be introduced to some of the main approaches and concepts for understanding key contemporary education issues and debates. You will explore a range of topical and policy-related themes and you will become familiar with how such issues develop over time.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key issues and debates in contemporary education
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of inequalities in education and key theoretical perspectives
  • Examine the application of key concepts and approaches in the sociology of education to specific policy initiatives in education
  • Use your knowledge and understanding to examine the different perspectives in relation to inequalities in education
  • Develop awareness of key developments in the education profession, as well as innovations and debates in technology-enhanced learning
  • Conduct a relevant review and research on a chosen topic for assignment purposes


- An introduction to key issues in education, including the aims and purposes of the education system; - An overview of key policy developments over the past half a century, the basis for these policies and their impacts on very recent policy developments; - An exploration of key issues around equality and life chances and the role played by social, class, gender and ethnicity; - An introduction to changes in post-compulsory and higher education, including their expansion; - An overview of developments and debates within contemporary teacher education and the wider context of schooling; - An introduction to innovations in technology and digital learning and some critical insights on their application.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will attend a range of lectures and tutorials and conduct directed reading and suggested additional research. The group tutorials will be based on discussions and presentations, as well as independent reading and research on related topic areas. Tutorials will also involve you in debates stimulated by a range of current print and on-line media coverage. You will be encouraged to develop and defend a position on a range of topical educational issues. Typically, this module is taught through lectures with and group tutorials that follow the lectures.

Independent Study130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bartlett, S and Burton, D (2016). Introduction to Educational Studies. 

Rationing Education: Policy, Practice and Reform in Education. 

Education in Britain: 1944 to present. 

The Education Debate. 

Education in a post-welfare society. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s)  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.


No exceptional cost implications have been identified for this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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