This course considers education policy, reform and financing across a range of countries. It uses concepts and tools from a number of academic disciplines – social policy, sociology, economics, politics and philosophy – to scrutinise education. Throughout the course, there is particular focus on equity, social justice and the distribution of resources.

Issues to be addressed include: the impact of social characteristics on educational outcomes (e.g. class, gender, race and ethnicity) and related policy reforms; accountability and market-oriented reforms in education; privatisation and the changing role of the state; power and the politics of educational policy making; global policy transfer in education; early years education; school-based education and vocational and higher education. Not all of these issues are covered as separate weekly topics.