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EL10684: Modern British society: social institutions

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2014/5
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Academic Skills Centre
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Essay (CW 20%)
  • In-class Test (CW 5%)
  • In-class Test (CW 5%)
  • Seminar Presentation (CW 20%)
  • Timed Essay (CW 50%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: This unit is solely for Socrates-Erasmus, Exchange and Visiting students.
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The aim of the unit is to give students a broad overview of contemporary British society with particular emphasis on social structures at both the formal level, such as the NHS and other manifestations of the welfare state, and at the informal level of the family and social group.

Learning Outcomes:
Having completed the unit students will be able to:
* understand the demographic composition of modern Britain and review current trends
* understand and explain the workings of British institutions such as the health service, schools and universities
* set out and evaluate the arguments for and against change in the structures studied
* elucidate and understand the role of informal rules and constraints in modern British society.

Having completed the unit students will be able to:
* differentiate between interpretations of events and the values and assumptions which may underlie these;
* give seminar presentations, suiting their material to their audience and leading discussion and encouraging participation.

The course will cover the following topics:
* The changing concept of state provision from the idea of passive welfare recipients to that of active consumers.
* The post-war welfare state, broadly defined: cash benefits and credits and the rise in recipients: the means-testing v. universalism debate.
* Public attitudes to welfare spending: the "deserving" and the "undeserving".
* The NHS in practice and in theory, its role as a national symbol and agent of social cohesion.
* Changes in family patterns, the rise in the number of lone parents, demographic change and the falling birthrate; implications of an ageing population and the pensions debate.
* Rising standards of living and the gap between the prosperous and the poor.
* Social class and its influence on attitudes and expectations.
* Education, private and publicly-funded: the introduction of the national curriculum, faith schools and new types of state school, league tables, external examinations and the concept of and constraints on school choice.
* Expansion of higher education, differential take-up and funding issues.
* The housing market: council house sales, social housing, owner-occupation and housing finance.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

EL10684 is Optional on the following programmes:

English Language Centre
* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.