From the Poor Law to the Present - an investigation of the origins and aims of t

Ref: C2341878

To provide an examination of the origins of the British Welfare State beginning with the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 and subsequent economic and social developments in the 19th and 20th centuries which resulted in the establishment of the Welfare State after 1945. Reviewing housing, health, welfare and educational provisions will provide a context to determine if the welfare state is being rolled back in the early 21st century.

Course aim

To investigate the origins of the British Welfare State with a view to evaluate how far the original concept has been sustained or rolled back in 21st century Britain.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • An interest in politics but be helpful but not essential

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explore how the less well off in British society were viewed and treated before the Welfare State was established
  • List the different welfare services which existed for the least well off between 1834 and 1945
  • Discuss the key economic, social and political developments which occurred between 1834 and 1945 which led to the establishment of a state led system of welfare for all
  • Distinguish between developments in housing, health, education and welfare between 1834 and 1945 and how these relate to Beveridge's five giants.
  • Create a judgement on whether the the original concept of the Welfare State has been sustained in the 21st century or has been rolled back to some extent

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Images and primary historical sources will be used to enable students to learn effectively Additional work outside the class will be optional. There will be the possibility of a visit to Southwell Workhouse

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

From the Poor Law to the Present - an investigation of the origins and aims of t


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  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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