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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 04/11/2022 16:07:12

Title of Module: Development of Social Policy

Code: SOCY07001 SCQF Level: 7
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Lynne  Poole

Summary of Module

This module introduces students to the discipline of social policy and explores the ways in which social policy can contribute, not only to our understanding of social and welfare policies and the processes through which they are developed, but also to the analysis of the social institutions, social divisions and social relations in British society which impact on the policy-making process. Students studying this module will also develop their knowledge of social policy and provision in Britain in both historical and contemporary perspective.

The module explores the changing shape and priorities of social policy in Britain from the 19th Century to the contemporary period, charting the development of social rights of citizenship with reference to social inequalities and divisions. A key concern is the ways through which these major social divisions of British society impact on and structure the organisation and shape of welfare interventions. Thus in focusing on the development and evolution of British social welfare provision, the module foregrounds concepts such as family, work and nation, and asks important questions about who gets included in the welfare ‘settlement’ and why with reference to processes of social construction, continuity and change, and care and control. 

The approach adopted situates policy constructions and outcomes in their wider sociological and political context, and hence draws on other social science disciplines - sociology and politics in particular – in an integrated and applied way in order to provide students with an essential grounding in critical social policy concerns.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Communicate clearly about developments in welfare policy and provision drawing on the main terms, concepts, definitions and principles used in the discipline.

L2. Demonstrate an understanding of the principle methods, skills and techniques utilized in the discipline.

L3. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the main social policy developments from the period of the ‘new’ Poor Law to the present day.

L4. Evaluate the impact of welfare in key points in time with reference to social divisions and the analytical framework of family, nation and work.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 7.

Students will: develop a broad knowledge of the subject; become conversant in the main concepts, definitions and principles at the core of the discipline; understand different approaches to explaining the development of welfare policy and practice; be able to compare and contrast ‘common sense’ and ‘evidenced’ approaches to the discipline.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 7.

Students will: develop basic literature search skills; develop basic skills in reading quantitative and qualitative data.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 7.

Students will: glean experience in presenting and evaluating arguments which are routine to the discipline of social policy

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 7.

Students will: develop their written and verbal presentation skills through written assignments and their participation in seminars; be able to read basic numerical data sets including tables and graphs

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Students will: develop independent learning skills through independent, self-directed study; work with other students in the small group setting

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Lectures will be delivered on a weekly basis across the teaching period. These will be supplemented by regular seminars which will centre on core readings provided to each student in advance of each session. The seminars will embody both subject-specific and study skills elements, the latter including ‘reading with questions’, identifying competing perspectives and theories, assessing evidence and analysing policy outcomes with reference to particular social groups and social divisions, and referencing academic work.

Students will also be required to complete regular self-directed and tutor-directed learning activities which will include engaging with the relevant published literature, identifying internet sources and ‘surfing’ government- and policy-related websites to generate their own discipline-related materials to supplement those delivered face to face and via the VLE.

In addition to the lecture and seminar programme and self- and tutor-directed learning activities, students are required to participate in study skills workshops, with associated formative assessments for workshops (i) and (ii). The workshops are focused on the following:

(i) using evidence and example to support social scientific arguments,
(ii) using a recognised system of referencing to support social scientific arguments; and
(iii) structuring social scientific arguments and planning essays

The module is fully aligned with institutional priorities around the development of graduate attributes, employability and citizenship competencies, and with the institutional policy on personal development planning and includes developing students’ abilities to think critically, creatively, and in an analytical manner about policy development and policy issues. The module will develop students’ employability and citizenship competencies, including the ability to create and deliver evidence-based arguments, and to recognise competing perspectives and discourses on policy.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Alcock, P., May, M. and McCall, V. (eds) (2022) The Students’ Companion to Social Policy, London, Blackwell

Dwyer, P. (2010) Understanding Social Citizenship, Bristol, Policy Press

Harris, B. (2004) The Origins of the British Welfare State, Basingstoke, Palgrave/Macmillan

Jones, C. and Novak, T. (1999) Poverty, Welfare and the Disciplinary State, London, Routledge

Fraser, D. (2003) The Evolution of the British Welfare State, Basingstoke, Palgrave/Macmillan

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences - Sociology & Social Policy
ModeratorV Fuertes
External ExaminerAlison Tressider
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Short Answer Assessment 40%

Summative assessment regime is supported by the seminar and workshop programme and modelled good academic practice throughout the module materials relating to academic writing and referencing conventions
Short Summary Assessment 60%

Summative assessment regime is supported by the seminar and workshop programme and modelled good academic practice throughout the module materials.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Case studycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark400

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark600
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.