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Local Schools and National Schooling:
Northern Identities and the Scottish Educational System
Date: 22 August 2000
Our ref: 688
The Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen is holding a one-day conference on the North-East educational tradition on Saturday, 23rd September, 2000. This conference will be the first to deal with schooling in a historical and geographical context in Scotland. Running through the programme will be a concern for what, over succeeding generations, the experience of going to school has meant for the people of the North East – both as actuality and as myth.
The aim of the conference is to explore the contributions that the local school and the national system that it represents have made to the shaping of the region’s distinctive identity and cultural experience. Current events are a vivid demonstration of the central role that education continues to play in Scottish life.
The Scottish people have prided themselves on the way in which their communities have valued education. They can point to a long and rich history, where for centuries, their country led the world in its provision of education for all its citizens, however poor and lowly of rank. This early commitment established a heritage of personal and social values which, it is claimed, still have power today. With their lore of lads o’ pairts, of dominies, and the parish skweel, it has been the counties of the North East of Scotland which have come to be regarded as the heartland of such ideals.
Yet behind the official version, there has always existed a more complex story, one that is to be met in the personal recollections and local histories of the Scottish people. For some, there is no doubt that ‘opportunity’ and ‘getting on’ were true enough, but there are others who will point to a schooling that was narrow, over-disciplined, neglectful of the less academically-inclined, and repressive of their home culture.
At a time of educational questioning, it will offer the chance to reassess what is of enduring worth, both to its own and the Scottish people, of the North-East’s rich and frequently contentious educational inheritance.
The keynote address will be delivered by Professor R D Anderson of the University of Edinburgh, author of Education and the Scottish People 1750-1918.
A set of themes will run throughout the conference. School and
Community will examine the continuity and the change in the experiences
of school children, Teachers and Pupils will examine the standing in the
community, relationships with students and roles of teachers through the
years, Teaching and Learning will look at the forces of development and
conservatism in the content and style of the school curriculum, Schools
and Writers looks at how “going to school” has figured vividly in North-East
fiction, poetry and prose from the past to the present, and Education
for All? will look at the future of the North-East’s view of itself as
the heartland of the nation’s educational aspirations.
Further information from:
Booking form and further information available on the website:
University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.