Archived Threat to History

Dáil questions from Deputies Creed, Ryan, Murphy, O’Sullivan, McGrath, Smith, Ó Ríordáin, O’Brien, McConalogue, Broughan, Ó Cuiv, Tuffy and the Minister’s answers, 2011-2013

Decade of Commemorations … Seanad debate 7 June 2012

Presentation for Principals and Deputy Principals, Framework Document, Spring 2013

The following slide, ( p. 44) is an illustration of a timetabling option from the DES site, :

Example of Programme_ Student 2

8 Subjects + 4 short courses [different combinations possible]

Subjects: English, Irish, Maths, Science

Options: History or French or Business Studies ………. [other options]

Short Courses: Basic French or Local Studies or Programming / Coding .……… [other options]. READ MORE

A Framework Document for Junior Cycle, October, 2012in

The hardcopy of the document reached the schools March, 2013. The following are some of the relevant highlights:

English, Mathematics and Irish will feature … for all students ….

Schools will have flexibility when including other subjects in their programme ….

the amount of time devoted to a subject can vary from school to school ….

Schools will have flexibility regarding when they will offer junior cycle subjects and the sequence in which they will offer them. READ MORE.

HTAI Delegation meeting with Minister for Education and Skills, 4 April, 2012

Click on the links below to read three of the position papers:

Minister’s announcement, 3rd November, 2011

The report from the N.C.C.A., was accepted by the Minister. In the press release of (as published on the DES website), he alludes to the disquiet of History teachers….

  • I am also aware the History and Geography teachers have shown some disquiet about their subjects under the new dispensation, and I note the geographical and historical awareness skills have been included in the 24 statements of essential learning.  That is to say that these skills will be required in order to achieve the required outcomes.
  • Good and enthusiastic teachers in History and Geography have the opportunity to inspire a real interest in their subject and so ensure that pupils will want to sit the exam. READ MORE.

NCCA response, 3rd November, 2011

The NCCA also published their response to the Minister’s decision. This press releaes outlines the key features of the new proposals. In brief
Irish, English and Mathematics form a compulsory core.

A cap of eight subjects which can be taken for assessment for qualification purposes.

All students will be required to cover 24 statements of essential learning which are focused on such areas as communications, language, mathematical concepts, critical thinking, citizenship and sustainable values, environmental, economic and social knowledge, consumer skills, ICT, creating and appreciating art, valuing local and national heritage and recognising the relevance of the past to the current national and international issues, well being, and ethical and responsible decision-making. READ MORE.

Towards a Framework Document for Junior Cycle, 2011

NCCA document >>

National Seminar, Collins Barracks,Dublin, 23rd March 2013:“Will School History survive the “Decade of Commemorations”?


National Seminar, Collins Barracks,Dublin, 23rd March 2013: Will School History survive the “Decade of Commemorations”?

George Hook’s Interview with Christian O’Conchuir, history teacher, St. Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow, Co. Cork (Wed, May 8th, 2013):
Should we make kids learn History?podcast image

The Right Hook (Thurs, May 9th, 2013):
George Hook’s Interview with Minister Quinn podcast image

Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, UCD (introduced by Gerard Hanlon, President HTAI):
The importance of history as a school subject.podcast image

Ms. Niamh Crowley, PRO of HTAI:
The Framework Document: a teacher’s perspective. podcast image

Off the Shelf, Saturday, 30th November 2012: The Right Kind of History podcast image
Diarmaid Ferriter, Ciarán Brady and Deirdre MacMathúna discuss The Right Kind of History: Teaching the Past in Twentieth-Century England by David Cannadine (RTÉ podcast).

Conference 2011 Podcast podcast image
Keynote Address, Why History Matters – Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor of History, NUI Galway.

Conference 2011: The History Show podcast image
Professor Diarmaid Ferriter interviews the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D, Sunday, 2nd October, 2011 (RTÉ podcast).

Press releases

Press Release, Niamh Crowley, PRO of HTAI, April 2013>>

Statement from Gerard Hanlon, President HTAI, 29 April 2013 >>

Statement from Gerard Hanlon, President HTAI, December 2012 >>

Statement from Gerard Hanlon, President HTAI, May 2012 >>


‘Why History Matters’

The CHANCELLOR OF the National University of Ireland, Dr Maurice Manning chairs a group of leading authors and academics set up to advise the Government on centenary commemorations of major events from the period 1912-1916. Dr Manning said the principal role would be to advise the Government and the all-party Oireachtas group on the overall commemorative programme and many specific issues: “In particular, it will seek to set a tone that is inclusive and non-triumphalist, ensuring authenticity, proportionality and openness.” (Irish Times, 7th March, 2012)
Both An Taoiseach and the Minister for Education and Skills have commented on the importance and role of history in the life of the citizen.

Fintan O’Toole, the Irish Examiner articles and most recently, Professor Diarmaid Ferriter,reflect the concerns of teachers, regarding the uncertain status history in our schools in the forthcoming proposals for the Junior Certificate. See Minister Quinn’s response.

Click on the links below to read the full articles.

‘Eamon de Valera? Did he play for
Teachers claim students will grow up ignorant of geography and history under Ruairi Quinn’s plans >>

Kim Bielenberg, Irish Independent, 1st May 2013

‘In this golden age, let’s not throw away our history….. The new Junior Cert syllabus, mistakenly, is set to downgrade the study of our past’
Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times, 20th April, 2013

Cork branch’s response , 19th April 2013 to Minister Quinn’s article

‘… History has a very bright future in our Junior Cert classrooms.
Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D, Irish Independent, 13th April 2013

‘Mr Quinn, please don’t be the one to bring about the end of history’
Diarmaid Ferriter,Professor of Modern Irish History, UCD, Irish Independent, 23rd March 2013

‘…Instead of removing history from the junior cycle, the Government should make it compulsory up to the end of secondary schooling…..’
Catriona Crowe, head of special projects at the National Archives of Ireland, Irish Times, June 9, 2012

‘A commitment to comprehensive, contextual treatment of the period means a casting aside of preconception and a fresh-eyed read of the events of that decade [1912 – 1922].’
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, Launch of Irish Times supplement, 25th April, 2012

No history, no future?
Elma Collins, History Ireland, Nov/Dec. 2011

‘CULTURE SHOCK: HISTORY MATTERS IN IRELAND, not least because the past is so unsettled.’
Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times, 10th September, 2011

‘Understanding history is how we try to reach the future without repeating the calamities of the past’
Irish Examiner editorial, 3rd September, 2011

‘the more we understand the past, the more we understand ourselves and our neighbours.’ 
Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D, Celtic Congress, 1st August, 2011

‘As we move into the decade of commemorations that stretch before us, from the 100th anniversary of the Third Home Rule Bill ….. 1916, the Somme, and beyond it is imperative that the social, cultural, economic, administrative and political environments that shaped these events be understood.’
An Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, National Library, 8th June 2011







The Council of Europe and History

The Council of Europe has issued several reports on the significance and the learning of history.
They particularly emphasise the point ‘that historical awareness is an important civic skill’ and ‘that history teaching can be a tool to support peace and reconciliation’. Without these necessary skills, the individual is more vulnerable to political and other manipulation.’

Click on links below to read the full articles:


The European Schools – SCHOLA EUROPAEA

The European Schools are official educational establishments controlled jointly by the governments of the Member States of the European Union.
The secondary school course is validated by the European Baccalaureate examinations at the end of the seventh class , (c.18 years of age).
Classes 6 and 7 form a unit which leads to the European Baccalaureate. There is a core of compulsory subjects including mother tongue, Language 2, mathematics, a science, philosophy, physical education, history and geography. History syllabus >>

History for All ?: House of Commons Report, 2013

The report’s conclusions are based on the results of four separate evidence sessions, taken by the All Party Parliamentary Group on History and Archives. A wide range of history teachers and representatives from the historical community were consulted, as well as representatives from various exam boards.

The terms of reference for the inquiry were to examine the current state of History provision in schools, and to ask the question of whether History should be made compulsory for all pupils, up to the age of 16.

Some Key Recommendations
and Observations

2.we are concerned about the wide educational divide in this country when it comes to studying History, which is that in affluent areas History is studied well and widely, whereas in many more deprived areas it has been neglected and ignored. It is important that the Department for Education does not allow perverse incentives to develop, which might suppress the take-up of History in poorer areas.

6. There is also an issue in some schools of head teachers trimming the study of History to the absolute minimum, through poor understanding of how it differs from a core subject like Mathematics, in terms of National Curriculum levels. This can lead to an excessive focus on content, inhibiting understanding and maturity of thought.

7. We recommend investigating the development of a British history qualification at 16 that is based on a broad chronological framework across all periods, which could encompass local, national and international perspectives on British history

History for all? pdf

Ofsted Report, ‘History for All’, 2011

Since the publication of the report ( based on evidence from inspections of history between 2007 and March 2010) a debate has raged on the position of history in English schools. Certain trends have been noted, which may yet prove relevant to the Irish system, if history were to be removed as a core subject. The report noted:

‘In England, history is currently not compulsory for students beyond the age of 14 and those in schools offering a two-year Key Stage 3 course can stop studying history at the age of 13. In almost all the countries of the European Union, it is compulsory to study history in some form in school until at least the ages of 15 or 16. History is compulsory until the age of 14 in Northern Ireland, the Netherlands and Wales, and all pupils study history as part of their broad general education in Scotland until they are 15.”

History for all. pdf
Summary – History for all. pdf

‘The study of History, a subject which should unite us as one nation, has now become the subject of two nations. In entire communities and schools, often in some of the most deprived areas of the country, the study of History has been shunned…… Compare this with our European counterparts, all of whom teach history in some form to 16, and it seems we sit isolated: Embarrassingly, Britain remains the only country apart from Albania where History is not compulsory beyond 14′. Chris Skidmore, M.P., March, 2012:

History in Schools- A School Report.pdf

The following newpaper articles and the Historical Association survey reflect many of the concerns highlighted in the report and pertinent to the current Irish debate:

Recent parliamentary debates in Britain on the role and importance of history in the curriculum

Click on links below to read the full articles:

UK Curriculum Review, 2011

Click on link below to read the full article:



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