Problems, survival and transformation: religious education in Scotland - a historical review, 1962-1992

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This paper is an examination of the history of Scottish religious education (RE). Focusing on 1962-1992, it distinguishes the temporal processes that unfolded during this period to identify the circumstances that led to a serious case of neglect of the subject, especially in the non-denominational sector. Next, it highlights the less emphasised but important issue of how RE 'survived' in public education, going on to explicate the antecedents of a paradigm shift in the subject. Finally, curriculum reforms undertaken in the subject from the 1980s onwards are described, showing how these reforms helped to transform Scottish RE into an 'academic' subject well aligned with the curricular principles of '5-14', the country's first (1992) 'educational' RE programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-560
JournalHistory of Education
Issue number4
Early online date6 Jun 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2014


  • religious education
  • history of underdevelopment
  • structural reforms
  • Scotland

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