Developing Politically Literate Young Citizens in Scottish Education: Barriers and Opportunities

There is a limited evidence base around citizenship education and political literacy in Scotland. Specifically, little is known about the preparedness of Scotland’s teachers to provide children and young people with the requisite skills, knowledge and values to take up their roles as active citizens locally, nationally and globally. Moreover, schools now must address the fact that many of their pupils from the age of 16 are already enfranchised citizens for Scottish elections. There is evidence to suggest that some schools are not yet confident in their ability to prepare their pupils for this responsibility, but a limited understanding of the barriers that are preventing such education from taking place or having the necessary impact.

This project explores this phenomenon via Modern Studies teachers in training and probation, given their prominent role in the provision of political literacy in the curriculum. Using document analysis, surveys, and focus groups as the core methods, the project will work with the current cohort of Modern Studies student teachers at the University of Glasgow as they move through their PGDE year into probation. Surveys and focus groups will take place during both years.

PIs & Co-Is

PI: Professor Stephen McKinney, University of Glasgow, School of Education

Co-I: Dr Jennifer Farrar, University of Glasgow, School of Education


Project team

Dr Alan Britton, Education Scotland

Dr Jan Eichhorn, University of Edinburgh

Dr Sarah Anderson, University of Glasgow, School of Education

Start and End date

1 January 2020 - 31 December 2021

Funder and Funding amount

Gordon Cook Foundation