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SP10287: Social policy and YOU

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 20%, PF 80%
Assessment Detail:
  • CW 20% Coursework (CW 20% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
  • PF 80% Portfolio (PF 80% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
SP10287B - PF 80% Portfolio (where allowed by programme regulations)
SP10287B - Reassessment 20% Coursework (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: 1. To illustrate to students the ways in which policy influences their lives from before their birth through until after their death.
2. Focus on key transitional stages of life (such as school years and transition into work), examining the role of policy in shaping these transitions that have particular relevance to current University students.
3. To understand the theoretical perspectives under-pinning the policy positions held by different sides in policy debates.
4. To critically examine policies in action, discussing and debating the merits of different policy options in a range of contexts using evidence from the academic and policy literature.
5. To highlight the importance and relevance of the topics studied by focusing on the arguments for and against recent policy changes or current proposals to change policy in the life-stages studied.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this unit, students will be able to:
1. Understand a wide range of areas in which policy choices directly affect each of us at different times in our life.
2. Use empirical evidence to critically evaluate a number of current policy positions (and their theoretical underpinnings) and draw their own conclusions regarding the 'right' policy direction.
3. Recognise how inequality between individuals can operate along a number of dimensions, with government policy having the opportunity to reduce or exaggerate the effects.
4. Understand the boundaries between the state, civil society institutions (such as the family) and individuals, appreciate how policy affects these boundaries and the pros and cons of shifting them.

* To think creatively and analytically.
* To communicate an argument.
* To evaluate others' arguments and research.
* To learn independently and be able to assess own learning needs (i.e. identify strengths and improve weaknesses in methods of learning and studying).
* To critically evaluate and assess research and evidence as well as a variety of other information.
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding.
* Study & learning skills (note taking, avoiding plagarism, using the library, gathering and using information, constructing a bibliography, referencing).
* Basic ICT skills (word processing, email, using the web, use of VLEs).
* Interpersonal and communication skills.
* Essay research, preparation and writing skills.
* To construct a bibliography
* Essay writing skills.
* To manage time effectively and respond to changing demands.

Content: 9 topics:
1. Pre-birth years: covers areas such as sexual health, sex education, teenage pregnancy
2. Early years and childhood: covers areas such as child health, childcare, early years education, child benefit
3. School years: covers areas such as education policy, school systems, SATs and testing, post-16 choices, RPA
4. School-to-work transition: covers areas such as University fees, vocational training, apprenticeships, youth unemployment, scarring effects, NEETs, entering the labour market during a recession
5. Voting, young people and policy: covers areas such as engagement with politics, campaigns, apathy and disaffection
6. Working life: covers areas such as labour market inequalities, gender, SES, pay-gaps and progression, top jobs, unemployment, dynamics, effects, New Deal
7. Family life: covers areas such as maternity/paternity leave, childcare and maternal employment, breakdown and single-parenthood
8. Retirement, ageing and death: covers areas such as the third age, funeral costs, digital and other assets, inheritance tax
9. Intergenerational transmission: covers areas such as transmission of education, wealth, status; social mobility and inequality; intergenerational justice.

Programme availability:

SP10287 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB21 : BSc(Hons) International Development with Economics (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB21 : BSc(Hons) International Development with Economics with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change 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.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.