Place-based Inequalities and Secondary School Attainment & Progression

Place-based Inequalities and Secondary School Attainment & Progression

Evidence from many countries shows that place matters for school education.

However, in the Scottish context, we know surprisingly little about what underlies the marked differences often seen in educational outcomes. Our project examines the extent to which variation between places is due to the social composition of young people, the quality of education in the schools they attend, and to independent, neighbourhood-based factors.

Aims and Objectives

The project aims to consider the extent to which there are systematic relationships between young people’s educational attainment, and family, school and neighbourhood characteristics. Using comprehensive data for the West of Scotland we will address several key questions in this area:

  • How much does parental choice shape school segregation and influence the quality of schools that pupils from different neighbourhoods and family backgrounds attend?
  • To what extent can attainment gaps between young people be explained by school characteristics, including school religious affiliation and participation in externally funded programmes designed to raise attainment?
  • To what extent might attainment at an individual level be determined by neighbourhood characteristics, including neighbourhood-level deprivation and local availability of green space?


The project will address major policy concerns regarding the impact of the recent curriculum reforms and initiatives to reduce educational inequalities.

We will convene a stakeholder advisory group to work with us on this, with representatives from local education authorities, and professional and parent representative groups.

We will explore links to other UBDC research themes to examine influences of transport accessibility and housing on home-school choices.

Planned additions to the data collection through new data linkages will enable more detailed analyses of routes into FE and HE in due course.


Lead: Professor Keith Kintrea

Team: Dr Muir Houston, Professor Catherine Lido, Colin Mack, Dr Phil Mason, Professor Michael Osborne

Latest Outputs

Jointly funded by