Mismatches Between Legislative Policy and School Practice in Religious Education: The Scottish Case

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Abstract

Religious education (RE) is arguably one of the most legislated curriculum areas anywhere in the world, and yet in countries where legislation and educational policy exist to support its provision, how schools implement the subject in practice has not received much attention in the discourse. This article attempts to address this lacuna by analyzing the disjuncture between legislative policy and school practice in RE as it exists in Scottish non-denominational schools. The discussion offers possible explanations suggesting that this has to do more with the flexibility of the Scottish curriculum through the use of "open" national guidelines, and the relative autonomy schools have within the educational system. What is problematized in this article is that mismatches between policy and practice in Scottish RE are symptomatic of the complexity of interpreting and applying legislative policy in a contested school subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-94
JournalReligious Education
Volume110
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Feb 2015

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