Higher education and school history in Scotland in the second half of the twentieth century

Lindsay Paterson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between students’ entry to higher education and the history or status of the secondary school which they attended is examined using school leavers’ surveys in Scotland stretching from the early 1950s to the late 1990s. The surveys are unique in the length of this period, their details of the higher-education institutions and schools which students attended, and their information on school attainment and on socio-economic status and sex. Universities, colleges and schools were classified in terms of their history in order to understand the role of educational institutions during three periods of reform – the ending of selection to secondary school between the mid-1960s and the late-1970s, and the two waves of expansion of higher education, in the 1960s and in the 1990s. The conclusion is that the distinctive characteristics of particular categories of institution – their institutional habitus – can modify inequality.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Early online date18 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Aug 2021


  • higher education
  • school history
  • institutional habitus
  • sex
  • socio-economic status


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