Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice

Taking a critical theory approach, this module scrutinises education policy and practice, at both national and institutional levels, with regard to the way in which they inhibit or facilitate equality in society and the community. You will be introduced to core concepts pertaining to equality and social justice within the area of ‘education’, before focusing on the key elements of a critical theory approach to investigating issues of equality, and the research tools you can employ. To study this module, you will need to have some experience of engaging with or working with learners. However, this can be with any age level and within any formal or informal educational setting. You will be required to challenge your own and others’ experiences and assumptions related to pedagogy and learning, with a view to engaging in the process of transforming education policy and practice to effect greater equality and/or social justice. You will also be encouraged, but not required, to share your ideas and experiences with other students studying this module to broaden your understanding of social justice and equity issues across different educational contexts.


EE814 is an optional module in our:

EE814 is the recommended Stage 1 module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

This module will introduce you to the Inclusive Practice route within the Masters degree in Education. 

It will:

  • introduce some key concepts related to the route
  • offer the opportunity to maintain a learning journal and encourage reflection on your professional practice
  • provide opportunities to engage with the other students in your tutor group through a structured discussion forum
  • introduce the process of research and some of the skills of investigation that you will need to develop as you work through the qualification (e.g. searching the literature, reading critically, synthesising information) 

You will be introduced to some of the core concepts pertaining to equality and social justice within education and then examine how taking a critical theory perspective can develop your understanding of these issues. As you progress through the module you will be encouraged to engage with critical theory as a way of understanding and investigating equity and diversity and then developing more inclusive practices. Equality within specific professional practice settings will be considered by way of broad themes which apply internationally – for example, ethnicity, disability, religion, gender and poverty. You will be encouraged to consider the interaction of these themes as they influence the individual in his/her socio-cultural context and to explore the complexity of the individual situation.

The module draws upon critical theory to consider ways in which practitioners engage in transforming practice, and the research tools which they can employ to investigate how they might do this in relation to their own practice and educational experiences. You will learn the processes involved in, identifying and developing your own personal position. You will be given the tools and encouraged to engage in various ways with other students who will be developing these skills and understanding in their own practice.

After introduction to some of the issues in undertaking an investigation, you will plan, but not execute, a small-scale critical investigation of your own practice or practice known to you.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You and your tutor will primarily communicate with each other through email and tutorials. Tutorials are offered via online meeting rooms and support is also facilitated asynchronously in tutor group forums.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2023, the last time we expect it to start.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    You should be prepared for study at postgraduate level and have the minimum of a bachelors degree (in any subject) from a UK university or an equivalent professional qualification. We warmly welcome applications from students who have an undergraduate degree level qualification from universities outside the UK and which is deemed equivalent to a UK higher education degree.

    You may find it beneficial to have professional experience in some sort of education or training: this can include all phases of education, and, for example, health and social care, the armed services and the police force.

    You will need to be able to spend approximately 15-18 hours per week on studying for this module. 


    Start End England fee Register
    07 Oct 2023 Jun 2024 £2520.00

    Registration closes 14/09/23 (places subject to availability)

    October 2023 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Future availability

    Addressing inequality and difference in educational practice starts once a year – in October.

    This page describes the module that will start in October 2023, the last time we expect it to start.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All study materials are provided on the module website. This includes a Reader, the module study guide and activities, audio/video material and a range of tools to support your study, including real-time conferencing and online forums.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.

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