BSc Education / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Equity in Education

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC30651
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course unit will introduce the following content areas:

An exploration of the way in which key issues in education relate to wider concerns in society.

A detailed study of the following areas:

  • Poverty and social class
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Disability


This course unit aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of threats to equity in education and measures which have been taken to overcome them, by exploring examples of research, policy and practice across a range of contexts. Key issues will be explored in sufficient detail to allow students to gain knowledge of the historical and educational contexts which give rise to the inequalities associated with this issue, while developing a broader understanding of the relationship between education and society.

Learning outcomes


Knowledge and understanding


  • The social and educational background to a range of key issues in education including: Poverty and social class; Race and ethnicity; Gender; Disability.


  • the way in which social beliefs and values influence the process of education.
  • the impact of the issues listed above on the experiences of individual pupils
  • how schools can respond effectively through policy and practice to these and other issues.

Intellectual skills

  • critically reflect upon the relationship between education and society;
  • theorise about the causes of inequality in educational achievement  in a variety of political and economic contexts.

Practical skills

  • Contribute to debates about the equity and diversity challenges facing education systems globally;
  • Examine educational practices in the light of emerging understandings of equity and diversity.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • an analytical approach to problem solving
  • skills in analysing documentary and other evidence


Teaching and learning methods

' A seminar approach will be used throughout
- Group work to prepare and make presentations

Assessment methods

Assessment task Word Length Weighting
One short formative assignment – ‘What is the nature of the (equity) problem? 1000 words 25%
A longer assignment which builds on the first one:  ‘How might this problem have developed?’ and ‘What has been done to address it?’ 3000 words 75%


Feedback methods

Online Blackboard

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

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

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kathryn Telling Unit coordinator

Additional notes

12 taught sessions : 24 hours
Presentation preparation : 3 hours
Private study/assignment preparation: 100 hours
Directed reading: 68 hours
Individual/group tutorials : 5 hours

Total hours : 200

12 weeks @ 2 hours per week


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