Thatcherism in Scotland : an exploration of education policy in the secondary sector
The continued existence of a distinctive civil society in Scotland has certain implications for Conservatism in Scotland. Specifically, Scottish Conservatives can identify with a set of institutions which are peculiarly Scottish. Scottish Conservatives can accommodate this stance with their Unionist philosophy so long as the British leadership of the party is willing to recognise and exercise some degree of flexibility over how Scotland is governed. Problems arise for the Conservative Party in Scotland when Conservative statecraft chooses to either ignore or undermine the distinctive elements of Scottish civil society. The Thatcher Governments were different in significant respects from previous post war Conservative Governments. Ideology informed a number of policies which were introduced by the Thatcher Governments and specifically those policies which challenged the social component of the social democratic state. This had implications for the Thatcher Governments in Scotland. By pursuing ideologically motivated social policies, which undermined the social democratic consensus, the Thatcher Governments were seeking to alter the most distinctive institutions in Scottish civil society. In order to understand the implications that this had for the government of Scotland, an analysis has been conducted of Thatcherite education policy. The Scottish education system has been and continues to be an important component of Scottish national identity. The thesis analyses a number of issues in relation to education policy, including the manner in which educational professionals reacted to Thatcherite education policy, and what the implications were of their reactions for the implementation of policy. The reactions of teachers and head teachers to Thatcherite education policy demonstrate that the distinctiveness of the Scottish education system presented the Thatcher Governments with specific problems in their implementation of public policy.