The introduction and development of the comprehensive school in the West of Scotland 1965-80

Watt, John (1989) The introduction and development of the comprehensive school in the West of Scotland 1965-80. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


This study investigates the emergence of the comprehensive school following the issue of Scottish Education Department Circular 600 in 1965, and its focus is the area of west Central Scotland covered by Dunbartonshire, the City of Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. A major concern of the research is to examine how the secondary sector was affected by the transition from a bi-partite to a comprehensive system.

The introduction gives a short account of the purpose of the research, its organisation and the methodology chosen. The thesis falls into six chapters. After a short examination of the comprehensive lobby in the post war period, Chapter One presents a literature survey in four sections: definitions of the comprehensive school, and some conceptual models; the cultural context, which highlights the characteristic features of the Scottish educational tradition; the political context, dealing with issues of central control, central-local government relations and the roles of local politicians and education officials; policy implementation and the management of innovation. These four themes form a conceptual framework against which to examine the data presented in the following chapters. Data for the thesis was gathered from two sources: a wide range of documentary material, and the transcripts of one hundred and fifty-two interviews conducted by the author with educationists and politicians.

Data presented in Chapter Two leads to the following propositions: the comprehensive school was perceived as an English imposition on the Scottish system; official opinion in the Scottish Education Department was unfavourable to its introduction; optimistic claims for its educational and social potential were made in an ambiance of confusion about its definition; the Scottish Education Department conceived of the changeover principally in structural terms, and adopted a laissez-faire attitude to its philosophical implications; the advent of the comprehensive school caused widespread apprehension among educationists

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 1989
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:1989-2009
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:49

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