Education and opportunity: Is the UK departing from a common tradition?

by Lindsay Paterson

14 Apr 2016
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Full text of article by Lindsay Paterson posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 2, pp. 101-123.

Abstract: There is an assumption in public debate that Scotland and England are drifting apart in social policy, whatever the outcome of the referendum in Scotland in September 2014 on whether Scotland should become an independent country. Three broad examples of policy divergence in education are discussed to examine the claim—in connection with student finance in higher education, with the structure of secondary education, and with the school curriculum. It is concluded that the apparent divergence owes more to rhetoric than to the reality of policy, of public attitudes or of social experience. Despite the origins of a shared educational philosophy in the post-war welfare state, and despite the partisan strife of current politics, a weakening of that state through greater Scottish autonomy does not in itself signal an end to the project of common welfare.

Keywords: Education, welfare state, universalism, Scotland, England, curriculum, student finance, school governance.

Sir John Cass’s Foundation Lecture, read 18 March 2014 (video recording)

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