Event Name Expansion and opportunity in secondary education in the second half of the twentieth century
Start Date 1st Nov 2019 3:00pm
End Date 1st Nov 2019 5:00pm
Duration 2 hours

(This work was funded by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship.)

A central question of educational policy since the 1960s has been whether educational reforms can reduce inequalities of educational progress and attainment. Research on this, in many countries, has reached conflicting conclusions. The new research reported in the seminar uses a unique series of surveys of school students in Scotland that covers the whole of the second half of the twentieth century. This period included the development of secondary education for all from the late-1940s, the ending of selection into different kinds of secondary school in all public-sector schools between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s, and the subsequent extension to all students of properly planned systems of curriculum, assessment and guidance. As well as their coverage of the whole period, the surveys have two main strengths. They were carried out when people were leaving school, and thus do not depend on later recall by adults. They also provide information on the school attended so that attention can be given to the effects of specific educational institutions on students’ opportunities. Many of these schools owe their origins to earlier reforms in the first half of the century. The long-term legacies of a century of reform can thus be studied, thus providing some insight into not only whether policy can bring about change but also whether it may take many years to have its full effect.