Tales Out of School – The ‘Hidden Curriculum’ in National Schools in the North of Ireland During the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

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Abstract

The paper addresses the possibility of the existence of a ‘hidden curriculum’ in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century National Schools by comparing working practices evident from an analysis of a sample of schools from two case study areas in the north of Ireland – Derry City and the rural area of Boho/Derrygonnelly in western County Fermanagh. The relationship between the placement of the school buildings and variations in their external appearances are examined in respect to their relationships with different churches. The possible significance of this relationship is scrutinised given that the primary aim of the National School system was joint secular education in a religiously divided society. Both the external and internal architecture of the buildings are also examined for the purposes of reconstructing aspects of the intentions and practices that governed their use. In particular, the relationship between allocated space and the categories of age and gender are studied by means of an access analysis of the floor plans of a representative sample of primary schools from both case study areas. Information derived from oral history accounts, archived material from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and school registers is used to supplement the findings obtained from the architectural analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-71
JournalChildhood in the Past
Volume7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

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