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Over more than 40 years CES has built an international reputation for the quality and influence of its research. While the Centre no longer has full-time paid research staff, following the retirement of senior academic members and the death of Professor David Raffe, its work is being continued by honorary senior research fellows and associates. CES remains a research centre based at Moray House School of Education, and continues to pursue its research interests in secondary, further and higher education and in educational and labour market transitions. These interests are underpinned by a concern about equalities and inequalities in young people’s attainment, participation and transitions.

Specific areas of interest include curriculum and qualifications reform; widening access to higher education; UK and international comparisons; and the development and management of survey and other data on transitions. We welcome suggestions for collaborative research and consultancy in all of these areas. The Centre has a huge resource of data and publications in education, youth transitions and policy that we are keen to share and again welcome enquiries.

publications & briefings

The research of the CES is published in a variety of forms including briefings for policy-makers and practitioners, articles in academic and professional journals, reports and books. Key research findings are summarised in a regular series of CES Briefings, edited by Dr Cathy Howieson. All Briefings can be downloaded, free of charge.

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General email address: (see 'About' page for more contact details)


"The Time Is Now: reconstructing high quality, democratic, public education"

Daniel Murphy, Linda Croxford & Cathy Howieson have contributed a paper on "The Values of Scottish Comprehensive Schooling" to a special edition of the journal "FORUM: for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education", Volume 58, Number 2, 2016 - ISSN 0963-8253.

The journal is published online at, with printed copies posted late July. PLEASE NOTE that UK (only) subscribers can now also subscribe at the special low rate of UK£12.00 to the online-only edition of the journal (i.e. without the printed edition). Full details and an immediate order form can be found at Access to the full texts of articles is restricted to those who have a Personal subscription, or those whose institution has a Library subscription (Edinburgh University staff and students have access through the Library).

Scottish school and post-school education 15-18

CES has produced an overview of recommendations on School and Post-school education from ages 15 to 18, summarised as follows:

improvement in the life chances of Scotland's least advantaged young people is not a job for schools and education services alone. Other agencies and services are involved. To get the strategy right and improve opportunities, attainment and achievement for all young people, Scotland needs an inclusive wide-ranging national conversation about how as a society we can work together to improve the life chances of all our children and how we can best measure progress towards that goal. The ‘Senior Phase’ of Curriculum for Excellence (age 15-18) needs to be clearer about the educational entitlements of every young person growing up in Scotland, wherever they are pursuing their education. Without such clarity, the least advantaged are those most likely to lose out.

The full overview was produced for Moray House School of Education and can be read and downloaded here.

Presentation to 'Gearing Up for Transitions' conference

Cathy Howieson (CES) gave a presentation to the 4th annual University of Edinburgh ‘Gearing Up for Transitions’ conference on 2 March 2016 at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls, Edinburgh. Her presentation ‘Widening participation at the University of Edinburgh: the staff perspective’ outlined findings from research with staff within the University which explored their understanding of widening participation and the factors that may help or hinder the progress and outcomes of students who are widening participation- indicated. The presentation can be downloaded here and the full report is also available in May.

CES associate Daniel Murphy wins the Costa Short Story Award!

costa winnerFormer headteacher Daniel Murphy, co-editor of ‘Everyone’s Future: Lessons from fifty years of Scottish comprehensive schooling’ (see below), has won the 2015 Costa Short Story Award. He beat five other writers in a public vote where the identities of all six writers were unknown, for his short story, Rogey. Over 1000 entries were received for the Costa Short Story Award, now in its fourth year and open to both published and unpublished writers, for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words written in English by an author aged 18 years or over.

Conference: 'what have we learnt from fifty years of comprehensive schooling?'

27 October 2015, Moray House School of Education, Godfrey Thomson Hall.

Click here to view the event on our YouTube channel - or here to view our Picture Gallery

The 27th October 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the introduction of comprehensive education in Britain. While the ideal of comprehensive education has been largely abandoned in England, comprehensive schools are alive and well in Scotland and command public support. But the Scottish system’s success is still only partial. This conference provided a reflective long-term overview of the experience of comprehensive schooling in Scotland. alasdair_allan

The conference was addressed by Scottish Government Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan (right).

The full programme can be viewed or downloaded here. The presentations can be viewed or downloaded here:
Daniel Murphy - introduction and issues for consideration
Linda Croxford - has comprehensive education promoted equality?
Cathy Howieson - uniformity and diversity
Tony Gallagher - what have we learned?

Dr Alasdair Allan - click here for more conference pictures

Drawing on a wide range of research, it asked to what extent Scottish comprehensive schooling has realised the underlying values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. It aims to promote further discussion about the difficult educational and policy issues that face the Scottish system in trying to offer the best educational opportunities and experiences for all young people aged 11-18.

This conference is based on the book 'Everyone's Future: Lessons from 50 Years of Scottish Comprehensive Schooling' - for more details see below or click here. It was jointly organised by CES and the Centre for Research in Education, Inclusion and Diversity (CREID). For any continuing enquiries, please email Grace Kong

Conference Tweets: or click here to see the full feed.

Media coverage (click links to view): Herald 23rd October, BBC Scotland, Herald editorial 26th October, Daniel Murphy article 27th October,

CES attending the National Improvement Framework Roundtable

Dr Linda Croxford is joining the National Improvement Framework Roundtable, to discuss the Scottish Government’s draft National Improvement Framework (NIF). The event is being staged by The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Education Committee, on the 4th November.

Danny Murphy speaks on 50 years of Scottish Comprehensive Education on Radio EDUtalk

Danny Murphy, co-editor of ‘Everyone’s Future: Lessons from fifty years of Scottish comprehensive schooling’ (see below) recently gave a talk on the Professional Learning for Teachers channel on Radio Edutalk, which is supported by The Scottish Government. Danny is Senior Teaching Fellow here, at the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh.

His talk can be accessed by clicking here.

Cathy Howieson address at 2015 'Transitions in Youth' conference at Mararyk University, Brno, Czech Republic

Dr Howieson spoke at a special session organised in memory of the late Professor David Raffe, to commemorate his contribution to research on the subject. She reviewed his 40-year career in this area, highlighting his conceptual and methodological contribution as well as his empirical work in the field. The presentation is available on request (

The full title of the conference was "the 23rd annual workshop of the European Research Network on Transitions in Youth (TIY") and it took place in Brno, Czech Republic on 2-5 September 2015. The workshop was hosted by the Office for Population Studies, Masaryk Universit, and more details can be found here:

global impact of the CES website and briefings

based on analysis of last 6 months' traffic

The site has had an average of 1,251 unique visitors per month, from 69 countries around the World. The peak of 1,339 was recorded in March, following the sudden death of David Raffe.

The CES Briefings are particularly popular, with no 035 (“Does Education Promote Social Mobility?”) being requested well over 12,000 times in the 6-month period, and another 12 briefings each being requested over 1,000 times. Again these requests come from numerous countries all over the world, and at all hours of the day and night.

Everyone's Future: Lessons from fifty years of Scottish comprehensive schooling

published 1 June 2015

book_coverIt is 50 years since comprehensive education was introduced in Scotland, England and Wales. But while the ideal of comprehensive education has been largely abandoned in England, comprehensive schools are alive and well in Scotland and command public support.

This long-term overview of the development of the Scottish system, with contrasting accounts from England, Northern Ireland and Wales, concludes that comprehensive schooling, linked to underlying democratic values of liberty, equality and fraternity, has made a positive difference to the development of contemporary Scotland.

Drawing on a wide range of research, documentary and policy evidence, the book provides ... (READ MORE)

Murphy, D., Croxford, L., Howieson, C. and Raffe, D. (2015) Everyone’s Future: lessons from fifty years of Scottish comprehensive schooling, London: Institute of Education / Trentham Books.
Price £25.99 - click here to pre-order now

'Pupils as Citizens'

Dr Linda Croxford is now working on ‘Pupils as Citizens: pupils’ views on school citizenship and the transition from primary to secondary school’, a project led by the Centre for Research in Education, Inclusion and Diversity (CREID) and funded by the Gordon Cook Foundation.

SQA appointment

Dr Cathy Howieson has been appointed to the Qualifications Committee of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

death of David Raffe

portrait of David RaffeSadly Professor David Raffe passed away unexpectedly on Sunday 15th February. David was Director of the Centre for many years, a distinguished scholar who made a great contribution to the field of Sociology of Education but also contributed hugely to the development of education policy in Scotland and beyond. His death is a great loss to the academic and educational communities to which he contributed and he will be much missed by many, especially his long-standing colleagues from CES. Moray House is considering how best to mark his contribution and further details will be posted here in due course. Tributes to Professor Raffe can be viewed here.

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CES is based in the Moray House School of Education