SESE Learning Resource

This SESE Learning Resource section provides a learning and research resource to compliment the 3/4 class and 5/6 class primary school SESE History, English and creative writing curriculum, and helps you research your local history, local folklore and local heritage.

What was school like during the 1950s?
Hear James and Kathleen McTague speak about their school days at Clogher National School in Co. Leitrim. Their school was built in 1882 but closed in 1971 when there was not enough children left in the area to keep the school open. Where did they all go?


School Life in Photographs: 1890-2016

Look at the gallery of photographs below. What differences can you see between schools in the past and your school? What has stayed the same?

  • What clothes did the children wear? Did they wear uniforms?
  • Were the schools very small? Why were they small?
  • Why did they have fireplaces?
  • What games did the children play?
  • How old are the schools in the photographs? Did you parent or grandparents go to a small school?
  • Is there an old school in your area?

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Task: Look at the two photographs above. It is the year 2216 (200 hundred years from now). Your school has long since become an abandoned building. Your classroom is still there. A photographer arrives to take some photos, to show the children of 2216 what a classroom two hundred years ago looked like.

Can you sketch what you think it will be like? What aspects have remained/disappeared/decayed. What strange objects (like the sheep and cars are now inside your classroom? Look at the classroom that has been used as a workshop in the meantime. What might your classroom be used as in a few hundred years?

Task: Pick your favourite photograph of an old classroom. Look closely at the clues it gives us about what school life must have been like back then (Hint – does it have a fireplace? What is the furniture like?)
Write 6 facts about what school must have been like back then, using the clues you find in the photos.

Task: The year is 1850. You are in 3rd Class. Write a diary entry
describing what a typical school day is like.

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Disused School Houses of Ireland

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