The experience of school in Scotland, 1970s to 1990s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Reforms to secondary schooling in the twentieth century are most commonly discussed in relation to structures – the extension of secondary education to all students in the first half of the century, and the ending of selection into different kinds of school after the 1960s. Yet reformers also sought to give students a more satisfactory experience of school. Understanding statistically the changing experience which students had of secondary school following the reforms of the 1960s requires a lengthy time series of survey data collected contemporaneously and the capacity to link that information to evidence on attainment and on demographic factors such as sex and socio-economic status. Data from a unique series of such surveys in Scotland is used to investigate whether secondary schools became more humane in this period, whether students were more engaged with their schooling, and whether they thought that schools prepared them for life after they left. The conclusions are that the long-term aspirations of reformers to make schooling more satisfactory for students were broadly achieved. There were indeed improvements of experience and sentiment of these kinds, and they extended to students at all levels of attainment, to both sexes, and to all levels of socio-economic status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1192
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number6
Early online date15 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • educational guidance
  • sex
  • socio-economic status


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