Lessons from fifty years of Scottish comprehensive schooling
This (click on the word!) is how I’ve been spending a lot of my time the past few months!
‘This is a must-read for those of us who have lived the theme of this excellent book. It is even more so for those who in their lifetimes could have an impact on the future direction of education in these isles. It is an excellent account of Scottish education over these fifty years and is a fitting tribute to one of Scotland’s foremost academics. Insightful, enlightening, thought provoking and very challenging, its timing in the development of Scottish education could not be better.’
Ken Cunningham, CBE FRSA, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland
It is fifty years since comprehensive education was introduced in Scotland, England and Wales. But while the ideal of comprehensive education has been largely abandoned in England, comprehensive schools are alive and well in Scotland and command public support.
This long-term overview of the development of the Scottish system, with contrasting accounts from England, Northern Ireland and Wales, concludes that comprehensive schooling, linked to underlying democratic values of liberty, equality and fraternity, has made a positive difference to the development of contemporary Scotland.
Drawing on a wide range of research, documentary and policy evidence, the book provides a critical account of developments in curriculum and governance and the impact of comprehensive schooling on its students’ outcomes, social class and gender inequalities. It exploits a unique series of surveys to give voice to young people and their increasingly positive attitudes to school, especially among the less academic. But the Scottish system’s success is still only partial.
Looking forward, the book outlines lessons from the Scottish experience both for Scotland and for other countries considering how best to educate young people of secondary-school age. A valuable resource for students, teachers, academics and policymakers.