School of Social Science and Public Policy

The School of Social Science and Public Policy is a new School, formed in 2015, which draws upon a long and distinguished heritage.  Our research and teaching focuses on the many dimensions of social policy and practice that social science helps to illuminate rigorously and critically.  The disciplines of Criminology, EducationSocial Work and Sociology and  are highly respected internationally for our world leading research and the quality of our education, which is both theoretically innovative and relevant to application in the real world. Keele pioneered research and teaching in ageing in the 1970s.  It was also the first university in Britain to offer an undergraduate award in Criminology (1991), and in Education (1994), while Social Work and Sociology have been taught at Keele for over 40 years. Our social work programmes are approved by the Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC) and were endorsed by The College of Social Work (TCSW). 

The School is home to approximately 600 undergraduate students, 200 postgraduate students and 120 doctoral candidates and 50 academic and professional staff. We take pride ourselves in the quality of our teaching and the support we provide to students at all levels of study, undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral.  Staff are regularly nominated for University Teaching Excellence Awards, and colleagues have won awards on multiple occasions, for example Dr Mark Featherstone won in the category ‘Student choice award’ in 2014.  Our satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey are consistently high and show that our students enjoy what they do and value the support they are given.  We perform strongly in all the major league tables.

We have strong and vibrant partnerships within the region: in Criminology there is a strong research partnership with the police and voluntary organisations; in Education the School is partnered with two School Centred Initial Teacher Training Partnerships (SCITTs) one in Primary and one in Secondary; in Social Work the School is one of only four “Social Work Teaching Partnerships" in England. Practical learning in organisations that provide services to the community is a core part of the learning and teaching experience on a number of our programmes.

The School is strongly international in approach. There are regular visits by international scholars to our learning and teaching; strong student exchange programmes, for example with Bowling Green University, Ohio; and opportunities for students on many of our programmes to engage in study abroad.  Our research is international in scope and quality.

Our graduates continue to be successful in being appointed to posts in their chosen careers on graduation; our postgraduates report step changes in their established careers world-wide, while our alumni make a distinguished contribution to the national and regional stage: Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England 2008-15 completed the EdD in 2008.  Our students and alumni have won a number of prizes: for example, since established in 2006, four of the winners of the Neil and Gina Smith Student of the Year award have come from the predecessor Schools

Our commitment to socially-relevant, interdisciplinary and critically-informed research that engages with policy and practice has been recognised in REF2014: the latest national assessment of research quality. 74% of our research was judged by the Social Work and Social Policy panel (UoA 22) as either world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) and we were also ranked 1st in the sector for our research environment.  This excellent result reflects Keele’s rich interdisciplinary traditions, with staff from all disciplines in the School contributing to this successful outcome. Further information about our research projects can be found on individual staff profiles and on the main research pages. Students coming to the School of Social Science and Public Policy will learn from academics who are at the cutting-edge of their discipline.

We look forward to welcoming you to Keele shortly!

Professor Steven M Shardlow
Head of School