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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Education

EDUC3221: Political Sociology of Education

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To study the political sociology of education in relation to educational provision and experience.


  • The module addresses inequality in education and issues of meritocracy and fairness, critically evaluating policy development and practice on a national and international level.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • In terms of knowledge and understanding students will be able to demonstrate: an understanding of the sociological and educational theories and concepts used to describe education policy.
  • an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the educational strategies developed in relation to social and political movements.
  • an ability to reflect on autobiography and history and the ways in which this shapes their value system and perceptions of equality and diversity.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the analysis of complex situations concerning human learning and development in particular contexts, including their own learning;
  • the use of examples of the implementation of education policies in practice;
  • provision of well-argued conclusions relating to significant educational issues;
  • students should be able to demonstrate an ability:
  • to reflect on their own value systems and development;
  • to question concepts and theories encountered in their studies of education;
  • to interrogate the assumptions underpinning theory and research.
Key Skills:
  • think critically and independently;
  • acquire complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way;
  • construct and sustain a reasoned argument;
  • communicate effectively with appropriate use of specialist vocabulary;
  • use ICT and a variety of library and IT resources;
  • improve their own learning and performance, including the development of study and research skills, information retrieval, and a capacity to plan and manage learning, and to reflect on their own learning;
  • work to deadlines.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students will be introduced to a range of sociological and educational theories concerning the sociology of education and policy studies through a lecture and tutorial programme.
  • As part of that programme students will not only listen to formal lectures but be expected to engage in debate and reflection through seminar discussions.
  • As their summative assessment, students will be expected to write two assignments in which they will reflect critically on issues around social class and educational inequality, identity politics in education and the marketization of education.
  • As their formative assessment, students are invited to submit an essay plan and proposed reference list for their first summative essay. They also have an opportunity to receive feedback on their second summative assignment plans in an essay workshop.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
assignment 2000 words 100% No
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
assignment 3000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Essay plan and proposed reference list for first summative essay

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

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