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The University of Southampton

EDUC3028 Contemporary Debates and Issues in Education

Module Overview

You will engage in discussing and analysing contemporary debates in education and heighten your awareness of the relationship between empirical evidence and theoretical arguments in advancing public representations of educational issues. You will develop your skills in evaluating the evidence and arguments related to contemporary debates. Contributions to the module will be made by a number of internationally recognised educational researchers.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- Engage and heighten your awareness of the relationship between empirical evidence and theoretical arguments in advancing public representations of educational issues. - Further improve your skills in evaluating evidence and arguments related to contemporary debates.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate and arbitrate between different positions in some contemporary debates about issues in education.
  • Use a range of sources to further extend your knowledge and understanding of issues relating to education, and to critically examine contemporary debates and issues in education.
  • Supportively assess and critique the work of your peers and yourself be competent and capable of responding rationally and developmentally to such critiques of your work.


- Introduction to contemporary debates and issues in education; issues will be derived from compulsory, post-compulsory and higher education sectors; - The purposes and controversies of educational research; - The relationship between educational research and the policy context; - A range of contemporary issues typically including school effectiveness, student academic freedom, educational inequality, social inclusion and exclusion, religion in the education system and curriculum policy

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A mixture of short lectures, student-led discussion groups, debates, and individual reflection exercises will be used. An emphasis will be placed on active student participation throughout the module. Typically, this module is taught in two hour sessions plus individual tutorials and a session preparing for the assessment.

Independent Study128
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Key Journals. This module requires reading across a wide range of academic and professional journals together with the educational press, notably the Times Educational Supplement, the Times Higher Education and University World News which carry the latest news and opinions about topical and controversial educational issues. Key journals include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: British Educational Research Journal
 The British Journal of Sociology of Education Higher Education Journal of Education Policy
School Leadership and Management Studies in Higher Education Teaching in Higher Education

Hayes, D. (2004). The Routledge Guide to Key Debates in Education. 

Recommended secondary texts. As advised in individual sessions.

Electronic Resources. Websites of political parties, pressure groups, think tanks etc. are invariably useful. I would also recommend social media discussion groups as a source of understanding the state of popular, if not academic, debate on a wide range of educational issues.



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3000 words) 80%
Poster Presentation  (1000 words) 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments  (3000 words) 80%
Resubmit assessments  (1000 words) 20%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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