Primary Education in Ireland, 1897-1990

Curriculum and Context

by Thomas Walsh (Author)
©2012 Monographs XXI, 466 Pages
Series: Rethinking Education, Volume 12


This book critically examines the context, origins, development and implementation of successive primary school curricula in Ireland between 1897 and 1990. It focuses on three particular policy changes during the period: the Revised Programme of Instruction introduced in 1900, the curricular provisions implemented following the achievement of independence in the 1920s and the Primary School Curriculum of 1971. These three eras are distinctive by virtue of their philosophy of education, the content of the curriculum, the methodologies employed and the concept of the child inherent in the curriculum. The author analyses curricular changes within the complex web of wider educational and societal factors that influenced their devising and implementation.
In this way, he locates curricular developments within the climate of thought from which these policies emerged. The philosophy and ideology underpinning successive curricula are examined, along with the successes and shortcomings of curriculum implementation in each period. This historical analysis of the evolution of the primary curriculum in Ireland has much to offer researchers and policymakers in the contemporary context, amid ongoing curriculum development.


XXI, 466
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2012 (May)
development implementation policy
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. XXII, 466 pp., num. tables

Biographical notes

Thomas Walsh (Author)

Thomas Walsh has worked as a primary school teacher and as a development officer at the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education in St Patrick’s College of Education, Dublin. He has also lectured on the history of education in higher education institutions. He holds an M.Ed. and PhD in education from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and has written a number of articles on the history of education and on early childhood education. He currently works as an inspector with the Department of Education and Skills in Ireland.


Title: Primary Education in Ireland, 1897-1990