Catholic schools in Scotland: mapping the contemporary debate and their continued existence in the 21st century

McKinney, Stephen John (2008) Catholic schools in Scotland: mapping the contemporary debate and their continued existence in the 21st century. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The faith school debate in Scotland focuses almost exclusively on Catholic schools because they are the predominant form of faith schooling. Historically, the Catholic schools have had strong links with the Catholic Church and the wider Catholic community – a post-Reformation Catholic community that has a variety of national–cultural expressions but, ultimately, has strongest roots in the critical mass of immigrants who were part of the Irish Famine Diaspora. This Scottish-Irish Catholic Church and community, in some periods of history, have been subjected to structural and attitudinal sectarianism and appear to continue to be viewed with some ambivalence, and some suspicion, in contemporary Scottish society. This ambivalence often extends to Catholic schools, despite recent (widely publicised) educational success and perceived ‘social and moral’ success.

This thesis seeks to understand this unique situation from an academic perspective. The history of Catholic schools and the Catholic community are examined using a variety of conceptual tools (primarily ‘postmodern critique of historiography’, ‘insider stories’ and ‘immigrant typology’). The postmodern critique of historiography is used to construct smaller narratives which also help to clarify the strengths and limitations of previous research and scholarship. The identification of the insider status and insider stories of the academics engaged in this debate enables insight into the emergence of a variety of histories and stories of a historically marginalised group. The application of immigrant typology provides frameworks to explore both the generic and unique nature of the experience of the Catholic community in Scotland.

The thesis contextualises contemporary Catholic schools in Scotland within two major academic discussions: (1) the faith school debate in England and Wales (arguing that the debate in Scotland lacks the scope and conceptual sophistication of the debate in England and Wales) and (2) the key Catholic Church teaching and Catholic academic insights into Catholic schools.

Adopting the qualitative method of expert interviews, the thesis maps out the contemporary debate concerning Catholic schools in Scotland. The debate is re-conceptualised using a uniquely constructed spectrum of views and the projected future of Catholic schools in Scotland is discussed within this spectrum.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Catholic schools, Catholic schools Scotland, faith school debate, Catholic community Scotland, expert interviews
Subjects: L Education > LA History of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Forde, Dr Christine
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Dr Stephen John McKinney
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-193
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 May 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:16

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