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The Education Systems of the United Kingdom
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Oxford Studies in Comparative Education

The Education Systems of the United Kingdom


2000 paperback 100 pages, £30.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-73-1

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About the book

This book investigates the diversity of educational provision within the various parts of the United Kingdom. Building on the expertise of David Raffe and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, who have been researching what they call ‘home internationals’ in education and who contribute two chapters, the volume includes studies of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The aim is to encourage reflection on the essential differences and the binding similarities of the systems which make up educational provision in the United Kingdom.


David Raffe. Investigating the Education Systems of the United Kingdom

Stephen Gorard. For England, see Wales

David Raffe, Ken Spours, Michael Young & Cathy Howieson. Unifying Academic and Vocational Learning: current policy developments in Wales

David Matheson. Scottish Education: myths and mists

Seamus Dunn. Northern Ireland: education in a divided society


SEAMUS DEAN is Professor of Conflict Studies at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. He is Director of the Centre for the Study of Conflict and has published widely on conflict, and on the role of education in divided societies.

STEPHEN GORARD is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences, University of Wales, Cardiff. His current research programme is funded by the ESRC (‘Measuring Markets: the case of the Education Reform Act 1988), the National Assembly for Wales (‘Lifelong Learning Targets: a research review’), the QCA for Wales (‘Examining the Differential Attainment of Boys and Girls at School’), and the Spencer Foundation of the USA (‘The Role of Technology in Widening Educational Participation’). He has also written widely on the process of school choice, school effectiveness, patterns of lifelong learning, and the relationship between education and the economy.

CATHY HOWIESON is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Educational Sociology in the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include: secondary and post-secondary education and training systems; the relationship between general and vocational education and training; and young people’s transitions. Recent publications include ‘Using the Youth Cohort Study to Analyse the Outcomes of Careers Education and Guidance’ (DfEE, 1996), ‘Unifying Academic and Vocational Education: the state of the debate in England and Scotland’ (Journal of Education and Work, 1997) and ‘Careers Education’ (in Scottish Education, ed. T. Bryce & W. Humes, 1999).

DAVID MATHESON was born and raised in Glasgow. He taught in Scotland, Spain and Switzerland before joining the staff at University College Northampton where he is Course Leader on the Education Studies course as well as running the Comparative Education M.Ed class in Glasgow University. He has published on the themes of lifelong education, culture and identity, and Scottish education.

DAVID RAFFE is Professor of Sociology of Education and Director of the Centre for Educational Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, where he has worked since 1975. He has research interests in secondary and post-secondary education and training and in transitions in youth. His current projects include a ‘home international’ comparison of 14–19 education systems in the United Kingdom, a comparison of the transition from education to work in European countries, analyses of the Scottish School Leaders Survey and a study of pos-16 policy changes in Scotland.

KEN SPOURS is a Lecturer in the Lifelong Learning Group at the Institute of Education, University of London. His main research interests lie in the areas of qualifications reform and the development of government policy in post-compulsory education and training. Ken is currently co-directing a national research project on institutional responses to ‘Qualifying for Success’ funded by the Nuffield Foundation. His recent publications include a co-authored book New Labour’s Educational Agenda: issues and policies for education and training from 14+ (Kogan Page, 1999).

MICHAEL YOUNG is Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. His main research interests are in comparative and sociological aspects of the curriculum for post-compulsory education and training and the changing role of qualifications. His most recent book was The Curriculum of the future (Falmer Press, 1999).

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