BSc Education / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Social Justice in Education

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC24051
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course unit will involve detailed study of the concept of social justice (including relational approaches) and explore their relevance to diverse educational contexts, locally, nationally and globally. It will consider social justice in relation  to poverty, power and place drawing on research from MIE and globally.

As described above, the focus, whilst understanding intersectionality, remains on poverty and place. We have drawn on research within MIE and globally to exemplify this.


This course unit aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of ways in which to social justice in education have been understood and applied  by exploring examples of policy and practice in a range of local, national and international contexts. Key issues will be explored in sufficient detail to allow students to gain knowledge of specific historical, social and cultural contexts which give rise to educational inequalities and issues of injustice.

Teaching and learning methods

  • An interactive seminar approach accompanied by online learning activities will be used throughout
  • Group work for in class/formative presentation opportunities

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify and understand how social justice has been constructed and applied in education  Identify how power and ideology shape social justice practice in place
  • Identify the way in which social beliefs and values influence policy and the process of education.
  • Explain impact of the issues listed above on the experiences of individual pupils
  • Explain how schools and other educational settings can respond effectively through policy and practice to these and other issues.

Intellectual skills

  • Apply reasoning and analytical skills to illuminate the contributing factors to issues of social injustice in education relating to a variety of political,historical and economic contexts.
  • Use theory and knowledge to question the legitimacy and limitations of claims made regarding inequality and education.
  • Review educational practices globally, nationally and locally in the light of emerging understandings of equity and diversity.

Practical skills

  • Evaluate the issues raised and their relation to a variety of educational settings, and consider the implications for future study and career options.
  • Contribute to debates about the challenges to social justice  within education systems globally;
  • Access and evaluate data regarding inequalities in education globally using digital tools and resources.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • use digital evidence to solve problems relating to social justice in education
  • Use digital communication tools to construct an argument regarding social justice in education

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%
Set exercise 70%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be available via Turnitin

Recommended reading


Detailed lists of reading on specific issues will be provided for students.  The following is a list of some key publications.

Arnot, M. & Mac an Ghaill, M. (2006) The Routledge Falmer reader in gender and education. London: Routledge

Bartlett, S. & Burton, D. (2012) Introduction to Education Studies (3rd edition). London: Sage Publications Ltd  

Ball, S. (2003) Class strategies and the education market: the middle classes and social advantage. London: Routledge Falmer

Chitty, C. (2004) Education policy in Britain. 2nd Edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gillborn, D. (2005) ‘Education policy as an act of white supremacy: whiteness, critical race theory and education reform’ Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp 485-505

Gorski, P. C. (2012). Perceiving the problem of poverty and schooling: Deconstructing the class stereotypes that mis-shape education practice and policy. Equity & Excellence in Education, 45(2), 302-319.

Kerr, K., Dyson, A. and Raffo, C. (2014) Education, Disadvantage and Place. Making the local matter. Bristol: Policy Press.

Ladson-Billings, G and Tate, W. F. (1995) ‘Towards a critical race theory of education’ Teachers College Record, Vol. 97, pp47-68

Payne, R. K. (1998/2005). A Framework for understanding poverty (4th ed.). Highlands, TX: RFT Publishing

Raffo, C., Dyson, A., Gunter, H., Hall, D., Jones, L. & Kalambouka A. (2007) Education and Poverty: A critical review of theory, policy and practice.  York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Raffo, C. (2014) Improving Educational Equity in Urban Contexts. London:Routledge

Raffo, C., Dyson, A., Gunter, H., Hall, D., Jones, L. & Kalambouka, A. (2010) (Eds) Education and Poverty in Affluent Countries. London: Routledge.

Reay, D. (2006) The Zombie stalking English schools: social class and educational inequality. British Journal of Educational Studies, 54 (3), September: 288-307.

Whitty, G. (2001) ‘Education, social class and social exclusion’ Journal of Education Policy, 16 (4), 287-295

Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. (2009) The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

Willis, P. (1977) Learning to Labour: How working class kids get working class jobs. Aldershot: Gower

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Louisa Dawes Unit coordinator
Carl Emery Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Hours Allocated

12 taught sessions


Private study/assignment preparation


Directed reading


Individual/group tutorials


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