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EQ107-15 Education Today

Education Studies
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Mark Pulsford
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

What are the contemporary issues and entrenched concerns in education today? What are the narratives dominating educational debates at this stage of the 21st century? What forms of educational practice and policy can be seen to be increasing social justice and whcih perpetuate injustices? What should be taught in our schools? Launching into the big questions, expect a module full of debate, investigation and controversy!

Module web page

Module aims
  1. To critically analyse and define the concept of education through analysis of contemporary case-studies, policies and debates drawn
    from both national and international contexts.
  2. Through analysis of different contemporary educational curriculum frameworks, debate what the purposes, ambitions and ideological underpinnings are of a range of contemporary models of schooling.
  3. Through critical reflection and debate, identify the strengths and weaknesses of contrasting contemporary approaches to addressing issues of educational inequality within society.
  4. Critically analyse and debate the concept of spirituality within education and explore how spirituality relates to concepts such as morality, social and emotional development, community and citizenship in society.
  5. Critically debate the role of religion within contemporary education and identify arguments for and against schools with distinctive religious characters within a multicultural society.
  6. Critically analyse the role of attainment, targets and outcomes within contemporary education and the effect these concepts have on learners and educational institutions' senses of identity, market value and future prospects.
  7. Understand how education fits into wider multi-agency approaches in society.
  8. Critically analysing the profession of teaching and through this address the question of 'What skills and aptitudes are required of teachers in today's rapidly changing and diverse societies?
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

This module concerns understanding and debating contemporary trends within education and the social values they reflect. It will encourage students to become familiar with the dominant areas of debate, controversy and innovation that can be seen to characterise contemporary education discourse. The module will approach the topic of education through many contrasting perspectives. It will encourage students to critically appraise the social, cultural and political factors that affect students, teaching professionals, parents and other key stakeholders as they negotiate and participate in the contemporary education 'offer' provided at a local, national and international level. Key practical approaches and philosophical perspectives will be introduced and debated as students consider how factors such as inclusion, equality, diversity, community, religion, attainment, quality, excellence, economic growth and political instability interact within the contemporary education marketplace. Through a mixture of lecture, seminar and tutorial students will be encouraged to identify particular areas of debate and controversy that interest them and to develop presentations and seminar papers that investigate the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that can be identified within contemporary education policy and practice.
Key areas to be debated include:
(i) Why educate?
(ii) Why go to school?
(iii) Does politics help or hinder educational policy and practice?
(iv) How is education leadership conceptualised within different models of education?
(v) Do schools work? In what ways do different institutions, organisations, communities and faith groups approach evaluating this matter?
(vi) Is too much asked of schools? Is too much asked of pupils? Is too much asked of teachers? (vii) What will schools be like in the future?

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • 1. To comprehend and articulate the key debates within contemporary educational theory and practice.
  • 2. To be able to distinguish between different ideological and political orientations as expressed in contrasting models of education.
  • 3. To be able to identify and express the key challenges facing different stakeholders within education such as pupils, parents, governors, teachers, politicians and multi-agency professionals.
  • 4. To be able to debate and articulate the contrasting ways in which different models of education respond to issues of educational inequality.
Indicative reading list

Abbott, 1., Rathbone, M., & Whitehead, P. (2013) Education Policy, London: Sage
Bartlett, S. & Burton, D. (2012) Introduction to Education Studies (Third Edition), London: Sage Bates, J., Lewis, S. & Pickard, A. (2011) Education Policy, Practice and the Professional, London: Continuum International Publishing Group
Chitty, C. (2009) Educational Policy in Britain (Second Edition), Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan Collini, S. (2012) What are Universities for? London: Penguin Books
Curtis, W. & Pettigrew, A. (2009) Learning in Contemporary Culture: Perspectives in Education Studies Series, Exeter, Learning Matters
Duff, L. (2003)Spiritual development and education: A contemplative view, International Journal of Children's Spirituality, Vol. 8 (3).
Garrat, D. & Forrester, G. (2012) Education Policy Unravelled, London: Continuum International Publishing Group
Jackson, P.W. (2012) What is Education? Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
Pratt-Adams, S., Maguire, M. & Burn, E. (2010) Changing Urban Education, London: Continuum International Publishing Group
Ward, S. & Eden, C. E. (2009) Key Issues in Education Policy, London: Sage

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

Students should demonstrate a critical understanding of:

  • the underlying values, theories and concepts relevant to education
  • the diversity of learners and the complexities of the education process
  • the societal and organisational structures and purposes of educational systems, and the possible implications for learners and the learning process
  • theories, practice and research in the area of education.
Transferable skills
  • Active listening
  • Communication skills
  • Confidence
  • Coordinating with others
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Judgement and decision making
  • Managing others/People Management
  • Motivation, tenacity, commitment
  • Negotiation
  • Passion
  • Personal development skills
  • Persuading/influencing
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Problem solving
  • Reasoning
  • Team working

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 2 hours (13%)
Private study 120 hours (80%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Independent study hours include background reading, completing reading/other tasks in preparation for timetabled teaching sessions, undertaking research using the library resources, follow-up reading work, working on individual and group projects, the completion of formative and summative assignments, revision


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A
Weighting Study time
Exam Week 100%

This assessment will take the form of an 'Exam Week'. In a specified week after the teaching on the module has finished, students will answer a series of questions in essay form (working to a maximum overall word limit). The questions will be made available on the Monday morning and students will have until the Friday afternoon to complete the assessment. The module leader will confirm the exact specification of this assessment once the module teaching begins.

Feedback on assessment

Cohort feedback


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UEQA-X35B Undergraduate Education Studies
  • Year 1 of UIPA-XL38 Undergraduate Education Studies and Global Sustainable Development
  • Year 1 of UPSA-C804 Undergraduate Psychology with Education Studies