Reconstructions of Secondary Education
Theory, Myth and Practice Since the Second World War
Routledge – 2012 – 396 pages
British secondary education has changed in major ways since 1945. This book examines some consequences and implications of both change and stability, drawing on a unique series of national surveys of school leavers in Scotland. The authors provide an empirical and theoretical account of central problems of contemporary schooling. Their analysis covers: certification, curriculum and selection; the effects of educational expansion; trends in educational inequality; the impact of comprehensive reorganisation; truancy and alienation from schooling; the explanation of differences in performance between schools and the implications for the public accountability of schools. From these analyses the authors develop a critique of the ‘theory’ of the education system that underpinned expansion. They examine this theory’s logical and empirical status as ‘myth’ and elaborate how the political system and social science might jointly overcome some of the methodological difficulties that beset social and educational research.
Preface. Part 1 Problems and Methods. 1. Overview. 2. Date, Methods and Collaborative Research. Part 2 Policy and Myth. Introduction. 3. Scottish Education and the Scottish Myth. 4. Policy for Certification Since the War. 5. Certification, Selection and General Education. 6. General Education and Myth: Some Examples. Part 3 Education and Employment Introduction. 7. The Extension of Certification and the Tightening Bond. 8. The Limited Influence of Employers on Secondary Schools. 9. Education and Unemployment. Part 4 Selection and Rejection. Introduction. 10. Pupils’ Experiences of Selection. 11. Truancy: Rejection is Mutual. Part 5 Education and Class. Introduction. 12 Social-Class Inequality in Educational Attainment Since The War. 13. The Reorganisation of Secondary Education. 14. The Early Impact of Comprehensive Reorganisation. Part 6 Myth and Reconstruction Introduction. 15. School Differences and School Effects: Knowledge and the Potency of Schooling. 16. Summary: Myth and Practice in Scottish Education. 17. Politics, Education and the Reconstruction of Research. Notes. References. Index.