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Programme & Unit Catalogues

ED60273: Educational policy: theory and practice

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Education
Credits: 18 [equivalent to 36 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 360
Level: Doctoral (FHEQ level 8)
Academic Year
Modular (no specific semester)
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Assignment (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: As a result of the development of the above understandings students will be able to:
(i) critically examine policy initiatives from a range of theoretical perspectives;
(ii) appreciate the cultural and institutional constraints upon policy-making;
(iii) evaluate the evidence for, and against, the effectiveness of specific policies;
(iv) provide an alternative, feasible policy proposal to one currently in use.

Aims: The unit's aims are to provide students with an understanding of:
(i) the relationship between, and recent changes in education, economy, culture and society;
(ii) the ideological, cultural, economic and comparative sources of educational policy;
(iii) theories which seek to explain the educational policy making process;
(iv) the institutional factors e.g. the organisation, culture and politics of relevant state departments and agencies, which shape educational policy;
(v) the factors leading to convergence and divergences in different national contexts; in particular, those relating to economic competitiveness;
(vi) the role and place of policy importation;
(vii) theories concerning the impact of policy at various levels of the educational system.

Skills: (i) Apply a systematic and coherent approach to critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of ideas, information and issues that is well-grounded in existing educational research and literature (intellectual skill)
(ii) Identify, conceptualise and communicate original and well-grounded insights and responses to important issues of educational policy and practice that demonstrate advanced scholarship (practical skill)
(iii) Identify, conceptualise and communicate original and well-grounded insights and responses to important issues of educational policy and practice that demonstrate advanced scholarship (professional, practical skill)
(iv) Use networked learning technologies as a means of developing one's own professional practice and scholarship (transferable skill)

Content: Section 1: Changes in Education, Economy, Culture and Society
(i) The Post-war settlement in western societies.
(ii) Post-industrialism and the global economy.
Section 2: The Sources of Educational Policy
(i) The influence of social change and ideology on educational policy.
(ii) A comparative analysis of divergence and convergence in educational policy.
(iii) Policy importation: an analysis of the issues.
Section 3: Institutions and Policy Development
(i) An overview of theories seeking to explain the policy formation process.
(ii) The organisational agendas and constraints on the policy formation and delivery process.
Section 4: Evaluating Policy Outcomes
(i) Theories of policy implementation.
(ii) Case studies of the policy implementation process.
(iii) Assessing the outcomes.

Programme availability:

ED60273 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Education

ED60273 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • RHSP-APD04 : Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • 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.
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