Understanding Quality and Equity of schooling in Scotland: Locating educational traditions globally

Bob Lingard* (Corresponding Author), Shaun Rawolle* (Corresponding Author), Education in the North

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper provides a descriptive analysis of the OECD’s (2007) national report on Scottish education, Quality and equity of schooling in Scotland, while also briefly considering the Scottish government’s Diagnostic Report, prepared for the review. The national report is situated against Scottish traditions of schooling, particularly the view that access to academic curricula for all is a democratic and egalitarian approach, and also set against the changing role of the OECD. On the latter, the paper argues that the OECD, in the context of globalisation, has become more of a policy actor in its own right, in addition to its more traditional think-tank function. The OECD is a now significant transnational policy actor in education, contributing to the emergent global education policy field. The overarching argument proffered is that debates provoked by the OECD’s report, for example the David Raffe/Richard Teese exchange in the Scottish Educational Review, 40(1), 2008, stem from tensions between the new supranational expression of political and policy authority as articulated in the OECD’s report and that located more traditionally within the nation. The academic curricula for all, the Scottish tradition, is challenged by the OECD report, which supports more diverse curricula provision, including more vocational education in schools, particularly at the post-compulsory phase. We note, drawing on theoretical and empirical insights of Bourdieu, that the success of the former demands pedagogies which scaffold for those students not possessing the requisite cultural capitals for success with academic curricula, while the latter demands a strategic effort to ensure parity of esteem between different curricular provisions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalEducation in the North
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


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