The Emergence of Philosophy in Scottish Secondary School Religious Education

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review


This paper considers changes in the subject Religious Education within the context of Scottish secondary schools, charting a development towards the increasing use of philosophical skills and content in the course of the last four decades. Before considering the nature, extent and timing of this development this paper provides a broader context within which to understand educational change in Scotland.

The emergent hypothesis is that Religious Education has become more philosophical as a result to changes in society (particularly secularisation); changes in education (particularly the move to more democratic and reflective pedagogy), and also as a result of the close relationship between the epistemological areas of philosophy and religious education. This paper adopts an interpretative research paradigm and considers quantitative and qualitative data drawn from a survey of 126 secondary schools and seventeen key informant interviews. Taken alongside existing reviews of policy and research literature this data demonstrates that the three interlinked hypothetical strands have been at the heart of the move towards more philosophical Religious Education, although other possibilities are also raised and considered.

Based on the above findings, this study suggests areas for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2011
EventKOERS conference - World Views and Education - North West University, Potchesfroom, South Africa
Duration: 30 May 20114 Jun 2011


ConferenceKOERS conference - World Views and Education
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
Internet address


  • Religious Education
  • Philosophy
  • Scottish Schools


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