Release Date: 01 September 2009
Publisher: Four Courts Press
This is the first published history of Ireland's school inspectorate. The Irish school inspectorate has had a long and intimate involvement in the development of the school system at all levels, and its establishment in 1832 pre-dated the founding of inspectorates in England and Wales. The national (primary) school inspectorate, set up in 1832, has had the longest and most extensive engagement with schools; the vocational and secondary school inspectorates were established in 1900 and 1909 respectively. The three branches of the inspectorate originated and evolved in quite different ways as a result of their alliance to the characteristics of the school sector for which they had responsibility. The branches are now unified as a single inspectorate, which has been significantly restructured in recent years in line with the many reforms of the education system.
A study of the work of the inspectorate provides illuminating insights into school conditions, pedagogical approaches, curricular implementation, assessment issues and the general progress of the school enterprise. Through examination of the training, roles, mode of operation and career pattern of the inspectorate, much can be revealed about emerging concepts of education, of ideas of teaching and of evaluation of pupils' learning, all of which enriches knowledge of the developing Irish school system.
This book locates the work of the inspectorate within the changing political, social, educational and administrative contexts of Irish society at different stages of its development. The impact of all major reports and policy landmarks on the inspectorate is analysed. This study, which is heavily based on original source material, is enriched by interviews with the many inspectors whose 'memoire collective' sheds valuable light on the culture of the Irish school inspectorate
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