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SO244-15 Educational Inequalities

Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Cath Lambert
Credit value
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module seeks to provide students with an understanding of the role of education in re/producing and/or challenging social inequalities. It takes an intersectional approach, enabling students to engage with the complex ways in which social differences intersect to make a difference in terms of people’s educational opportunities, experiences and outcomes.

Module web page

Module aims

To provide students with an understanding of the role of education in re/producing and /or challenging social inequalities.

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.

To provide students with an understanding of the role of education in re/producing and /or challenging social inequalities.

Week 11: Understanding Educational Inequalities: theories and methods
Week 12: Education and difference: 'race' and ethnicity
Week 13: Education and difference: the gender agenda
Week 14: Education and difference: sex and sexuality
Week 15: Education and difference: special educational needs (SEN) and inclusion
Week 16: Research and reading week
Week 17: Discipline and punish: educational exclusion
Week 18: Spaced out: the uneven architecture of learning
Week 19: The bigger picture: the global educational landscape
Week 20: Module summary and overview

Learning outcomes

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

  • Understand that different individuals and groups have different educational access, experiences and outcomes.
  • Have a critical understanding of some of the complex reasons for persistent educational inequalities
  • Be able to apply intersectional analysis and draw on relevant theoretical resources to explore the intersections between identities and education.
  • Analyse, assess and communicate empirical evidence presented in module texts and policy materials .
Indicative reading list

Archer, L. & Francis, B. (2007) Understanding Minority Ethnic Achievement: the role of race, class, gender and 'success' London: Routledge
Apple, M. (2001), 'Creating profits by creating failures: standards, markets and inequality in education', International Journal of Inclusive Education, 5, (2): 103-118.
Epstein, D. (1998), Schooling Sexualities. Buckingham, Open University Press,
Gillborn, D. (2005) 'Education as an act of white supremacy: whiteness, critical race theory and education reform', Journal of Education Policy, 20 (4) 485-505.
Lauder, H. Brown, P., Dillabough, J-A., Halsey, A,H. (2006) (eds.) Education, Globalisation and Social Change, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Leathwood, C & Read, B. (2008) Gender and the Changing Face of Higher Education: A Feminised Future?, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/ Open University Press
Mac an Ghaill, M. (1995) The Making of Men, Buckingham, Open University Press.
Mac an Ghaill, M. (1988) Young, Gifted and Black, Milton Keynes, Open University Press.
Mirza, H. (1992) Young, Female and Black, London, Routledge
Peters, S. J. (2010) 'The heterodoxy of student voice: challenges to identity in the sociology of disability and education', British Journal of Sociology of Education. 31(5): 591-602.
Pomeroy, E. (2000). Experiencing Exclusion. Great Britain: Cromwell Press
Ranciere, J (1991) The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Reiss, M., DePalma, R. and Atkinson, E. (2007) (eds) Marginality and difference in education and beyond, Stoke on Trent, Trentham Books.
Searle, C. (2001) An Exclusive Education: Race, Class and Exclusion in British Schools, Lawrence and Wishart, London.
Shilling, C. (1991) 'Social Space, Gender Inequalities and Educational Differentiation', British Journal of Sociology of Education, 12 (1): 23 — 44.
Taylor, Y. (ed.) (2012) Educational Diversity: The Subject of Difference and Different Subjects, London, Palgrave Macmillan
Troyna, B. and Williams, J. (1986) Racism, Education and the State, London, Croom Helm Vincent, C. (ed.) Social Justice, Education and Identity, London, RoutledgeFalme

Subject specific skills

Applying appropriate sociological theories to education
Using sociological analysis in understanding education.

Transferable skills

Critical thinking
Oral communication skills
Research using both acacdemic and ‘grey literature’
Self-direction / motivation
Achieving deadlines

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (50%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (50%)
Total 18 hours
Private study description

Weekly 'essential' reading extend lectures and underpin the design of seminars.
Students contribute towards peer study activities.
Recommended and further reading inform summative assignments.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
3000 word essay 100%

Students will select one from a number of titles, each reflecting a different aspects of the module. They also have the option to negotiate and original title with course tutor.
All essays will enable students to demonstrate module's principle learning outcomes.

Feedback on assessment

Written online feedback


This module is Optional for:

  • Year 2 of USOA-L301 BA in Sociology

This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 2 of USOA-L301 BA in Sociology
  • Year 2 of ULAA-ML33 Undergraduate Law and Sociology

This module is Option list B for:

  • USOA-L301 BA in Sociology
    • Year 2 of L305 Sociology with Specialism in Cultural Studies
    • Year 2 of L303 Sociology with Specialism in Gender Studies

This module is Option list G for:

  • UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
    • Year 2 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)
    • Year 2 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)
    • Year 2 of V7ML Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Tripartite)