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Religiously Affiliated Schools in Northern Ireland: The Persistence of Denominational Differences in Pupils' Religious And Moral Values

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Northern Ireland has been and remains a country deeply divided, and this division is focused by the denominational distinction between Catholics and Protestants. The division is reflected in and supported by separate educational systems for Protestant and Catholic children. Between the late 1960s and early 1990s, John Greer pioneered a series of empirical enquiries concerning the distinctive religious, moral and social cultures of pupils educated in the two school systems. This study replicates earlier research he carried out in 1984 that investigated the religious beliefs and values of both Catholic and Protestant pupils in schools. The data provided by 1,099 Protestant pupils and by 1,270 Catholic pupils confirm Greer's earlier conclusion that there are significant and consistent differences in the religious profiles of the two denominational groups. Some of the implications of this finding for accounts of the nature of the process of secularisation and for education and schooling in Northern Ireland are considered.


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