Comprehensive education, social attitudes and civic engagement
Keywords:Comprehensive school, selective school, civic values, Britain, longitudinal analysis.
The claims made for comprehensive secondary schooling in Britain have tended to invoke three kinds of rationale – relating to attainment, social mobility and the creation of an integrated or harmonious society. Much research attention has been given to the first of these, and in particular to whether comprehensive schooling reduces social inequalities of attainment and progression. Some attention, notably very recently (Boliver & Swift, 2011), has been given to the second, following from the work on attainment. The third has been somewhat neglected, and is the topic of this paper. Attempts are made to distinguish between general effects of education on civic-mindedness – in the sense that, for example, on the whole, better-educated people tend to be more liberal, respectful of diversity, and so on – and the effects specifically associated with having attended a non-selective school or non-selective system. As with the recent research on comprehensive education and social mobility, long-term effects are of greater relevance to the claims made for the consequences of comprehensive schooling than the effects in late adolescence or early adulthood. The data source is the British National Child Development Study.
Authors who published with Longitudinal and Life Course Studies Volumes 1–9 agreed to the following terms:
1. Authors retain copyright and grant the Journal right of first publication with the work, simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
2. Following first publication in this Journal, Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal, provided always that no charge is made for its use.
3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on their own website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.