The Edinburgh History of Education in Scotland

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Leading historians discuss the distinctive and internationally significant history of Scottish education

The distinctiveness and influence of Scotland’s educational institutions have played a significant role in the construction of national identity. This book investigates the origins and evolution of the main institutions of Scottish education, bringing together a range of scholars, each an expert on his or her own period, and with interests including – but also ranging beyond – the history of education.

From the medieval period to the modern, this book provides a broad picture of Scottish educational history, while also highlighting the particularities and varieties of the Scottish system through the ages: from monastic to secular; from rural to urban; from Latin to Gaelic; from Reformation to Enlightenment and beyond.

This is a hugely important reference work for historians and students of education within and beyond Scotland, and essential background reading for teachers and policy-makers. It is also a significant book for anyone interested in the development of modern Scotland, its culture and institutions.

Key Features

  • The first multi-authored history of education in Scotland that covers the whole of its medieval and modern history
  • An unrivalled group of historians and social scientists with extensive expertise in Scottish history
  • Sets new agendas for the future of historical research in Scotland


  • David Allan is a Reader in Scottish History at the University of St Andrews.
  • Robert Anderson is Professor Emeritus of Modern History, University of Edinburgh. 
  • Christopher R. Bischof is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Richmond. 
  • Ewen A. Cameron is Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography at the University of Edinburgh. 
  • Kimm Curran is an Affiliate Researcher at the University of Glasgow in Theology and Religious Studies. 
  • Ian J. Deary is Professor of Differential Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. 
  • Elizabeth Ewan is University Research Chair and Professor, Department of History, University of Guelph. 
  • John Finlay is Professor of Scots Law at the University of Glasgow. 
  • Mark Freeman is a Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Matthew Hammond is a Research Associate in History in the School of Humanities, University of Glasgow. 
  • Stephen Mark Holmes is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh and Associate Rector of St John’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh. 
  • Walter Humes is a Visiting Professor in the School of Education at the University of Stirling. 
  • Martin Lawn is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. 
  • Catriona M. M. Macdonald is a Reader in Late-Modern Scottish History at the University of Glasgow. 
  • Jane McDermid is a Reader in History at the University of Southampton. 
  • Lindy Moore is an independent researcher and former librarian. 
  • David Northcroft is a Research Associate of the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen.
  • Fiona O’Hanlon is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. 
  • Lindsay Paterson is Professor of Educational Policy, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.
  • John Stevenson is a retired Church of Scotland minister who served in the parish ministry before being appointed as General Secretary of the church’s Department of Education. 
  • Douglas Sutherland is a Tutor in the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Open Studies. 
  • Stuart Wallace was a Lecturer in History at Newbattle Abbey College (1985–9) and at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Edinburgh (1991–2001).