The Social Policy Association promotes teaching and practice in social policy, and works to enhance public understanding of the subject. We focus our efforts on:

  1. Monitoring and promoting the provision of social policy teaching in higher education in the UK
  2. Facilitating effective and timely response of social policy teaching to social issues and policy development
  3. Liaising with research councils, professional bodies and other organisations in the development of social policy research training
  4. Promoting social policy learning to people of different ages, disciplinary and cultural backgrounds
  5. Working with social policy learned societies, universities and organisations outside the UK to develop and promote social policy teaching and learning internationally


  1. Building on the success of the 2011 and 2016 surveys on social policy teaching in UK higher education institutions to conduct reviews of this kind on a regular basis
  2. Building on the success of previous Social Policy Teaching and Learning Days to organise events of this kind on an annual basis
  3. Hosting an annual meeting with social policy subject leads and programme convenors to discuss issues in social policy teaching and learning, and to identify strategies in promoting social policy teaching and learning

  4. Facilitating sharing of social policy teaching and learning resources and making them available for teachers and learners
  5. Encouraging the use of SPA marketing materials across institutions to assist with recruitment.

Details of forthcoming Teaching & Learning events, as well as shared teaching resources, are available to SPA members on the SPA Online platform.


The SPA’s policy groups have produced a set of reading lists and other resources for teaching specific policy areas. Access these resources and read more about the policy groups here

SPA members can access additional resources on our SPA online portal (view folder for ‘Resources’ > ‘Teaching and Learning Resources’).

Textbook Series: Understanding Welfare: Social Issues, Policy and Practice

Published by Policy Press and Social Policy Subject Benchmark compliant, this textbook series helps students understand the causes of and responses to social issues.

Each textbook provides chapter-specific summaries, questions for discussion, illustrative boxes and diagrams to help understanding and full bibliographies. Find out more about the series here.

COMING SOON: Understanding Theories and Concepts in Social Policy (Second Edition) by Ruth Lister, Ruth Patrick and Kate Brown

All textbooks in the series are available on e-inspection for teaching staff who want to consider the title(s) for use on their course reading lists. You can order an e-inspection copy here. Remember to add the book to your course reading list and request access from your librarian.


SPA Teaching and Learning Reports

The SPA has produced or commissioned several reports on social policy teaching and learning.

Teaching and Learning Event 2022: Video Recording

The Social Policy Association’s annual Teaching and Learning Day took place on Friday 20th May 2022 at the University of Nottingham and online.

The theme of the event was ‘Race in Social Policy’, featuring a range of excellent speakers who had contributed to the Social Policy and Society special issue on Race in Social Policy.

The event was hosted by the University of Nottingham and supported by the Social Policy Association, the Social Policy and Society journal, and the UoN’s International Centre for Public and Social Policy.

This video shows the morning session of the event. The event programme for both the morning and afternoon sessions is provided on YouTube here for your information.

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