Well-being and attainment in Scottish education: a capabilities approach

Alexander, Joann Kirsty (2021) Well-being and attainment in Scottish education: a capabilities approach. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (1MB) | Preview


The aim of fostering well-being has become central to Scottish educational policy, in part because of a need to address the impact of inequalities of income, wealth, power and inclusion. But, dominated by a human capital picture of the enterprising, entrepreneurial individual whose well-being is tied to particular socio-economic outcomes desired by the Scottish government focused on developing a competitive economy, current approaches to well-being in Scottish education policy primarily reflect a conception of well-being as approximating a skill to be developed for the benefit of the economy.

This dissertation presents an alternative conception of well-being in education, based on the capabilities approach, mainly as articulated by Martha Nussbaum. It points to the benefits of drawing upon a capabilities approach for re-conceptualising well-being in education understood as fostering human development - rather than human capital - in which autonomy and dignity play a significant role in developing well-being and, ultimately, in human flourishing.

Drawing upon the tools of philosophical inquiry that provide an important clarificatory role in the use of concepts, their implications, and justification in education policy, this dissertation serves as a critique of the current well-being policy agenda in Scottish education. It contributes to the study of well-being as a prominent aim of education in Scotland by examining the relationship between well-being and Scotland’s raising attainment agenda in secondary schools, exploring the policies and practices underpinning these two overlapping and, often, competing aims with a view to illuminating and tempering the most damaging, while retaining a qualified place for attainment in education for well-being.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Well-being, attainment, Scottish education, education policy, policy analysis, capabilities approach, Martha Nussbaum, raising attainment, philosophical analysis, concept analysis, analytical philosophical approach, contesting concepts, human capital, human development, flourishing, autonomy, dignity.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
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: Enslin, Professor Penny
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Mrs Joann Alexander
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-81820
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2020 06:10
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2021 11:11
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81820
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81820

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year