Post-school education and social class destinations in Scotland in the 1950s
Keywords:Scottish Mental Survey, selective secondary schooling, post-school education, occupational attainment, intelligence.
Data from the 1947 Scottish Mental Survey are used to investigate the relationship between type of secondary school attended and both post-school education up to age 27 and also occupational status by age 27, controlling for social background (social class, parental education, gender), intelligence at age 12, and attitude to school work. The survey was based on a representative sample of all children born in Scotland in 1936. They were first surveyed in 1947 and then almost annually to 1963. The focus of the paper is on the legacies of several waves of reform to secondary education in the first half of the twentieth century. The main research questions are whether the reforms extended access to educational attainment up to age 27 and thus widened access to high-status occupations. These questions are investigated using mainly multiple linear regression. The conclusions are that access was extended, but that people who had attended the older-established secondaries that pre-dated the reforms were more successful educationally and occupationally than people who attended newer foundations, even controlling for social background and intelligence. This effect was especially pronounced for pupils of above-average intelligence, the old schools providing them with particularly pronounced opportunities in adulthood.
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