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View - eTheses Repository - University of Birmingham

historical context in

historical context in which an Irish dimension has developed has been explored in a conference presented to the History Teacher Educator Network (Bracey, 2005c) and History of Education Society (Bracey, 2005d) followed by a journal article (Bracey, 2006d). The following analysis draws on aspects of this article but goes beyond it to explore curricular issues in greater detail. The Irish community in Britain: historical overview The proximity of Ireland to the rest of Britain has meant that migration has taken place since earliest recorded times. However, there are key periods associated with Irish migration. The mid-19th century and the impact of The Famine [Hunger] were the most significant period of migration. Migration continued in the 20th century with peaks in the mid 1930s, the war years and the 1950s and the 1980s. What can be said about the experiences of the Irish community once it had arrived and settled in mainland Britain? It has been commonly argued that the Irish community faced hostility in the 19th century but that attitudes towards them moved along a linear path towards assimilation in the 20 th century. Jackson (1963), one of the few historians to write about the Irish in Britain before the late 1980s, suggested that the black rather than the Irish community bore the brunt of prejudice in the 1960s. O’Connor (1972), who produced a detailed study of Irish migration to Britain, held a similar perception. The view that the post-war Irish migrants assimilated into the host population has remained the perception in a number of books dealing with the development of multicultural Britain. Walvin, commented: At the turn of the century [twentieth century] … they [the Irish] were in effect an old problem which the English had learnt to cope with and which, with time, seemed less obviously troublesome at every level… Throughout the subsequent history of Irish into Britain (there were 1 million born in mainland Britain in 1961) the Irish were

never again to be regarded as the problem they had been in the early and mid nineteenth century. (Walvin, 1984, p.59-60) This perception has been endorsed by some social scientists whose focus is inevitably on more recent issues. For example, Solomos (2003), a sociologist, compared conditions faced by the Irish in the 19th century to those of black people, but did not explore the issues facing Irish communities in the late 20 th century. The failure to explore issues facing Irish migrants in the period after World War 2 has also been encouraged in a number of books, which have celebrated the experiences of the Irish community. For example, Chinn (2003) produced a popular history of the Irish in Birmingham. He commented on the existence of anti-Irish racism in the 19 th century, together with brief references to prejudice in the 1950s and 60s and the aftermath of the Birmingham Pub Bombings in 1974, but the overwhelming focus of his work was a celebration of the Irish community and its culture. However, assimilationist and celebratory images of Irish experiences have been challenged by a number of historians. Myers (2006) criticised Chinn (2003) for providing a sanitised account of the Irish experience, which failed to explore class, gender, health or racism and domesticated the community’s past without trying to analyse it. Holmes (1988; 1991) produced a study of the experiences of different migrant groups in Britain since the late 19th century, which led him to question the idea that immigrant communities follow a path from hostility to acceptance. The following reference to experiences of Irish people from the 1950s certainly challenges the belief that they were assimilated: In England in the 1950s an Irish person seeking lodgings remained likely to encounter discriminatory notices carrying the bleak message ‘No coloured. No Irish’. Further evidence of discrimination can be detected in the disproportionate number of recommendations made by British courts in the 1950s and 1960s for the deportation of Irish defendants accused of relatively minor offences. These examples of differential

  • Page 1 and 2: PERCEPTIONS OF AN IRISH DIMENSION A
  • Page 3 and 4: ABSTRACT This thesis asserts that a
  • Page 5 and 6: CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES LIST OF ABB
  • Page 7 and 8: CHAPTER 7 206 Movers’ and shakers
  • Page 9 and 10: LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS CIDE DEC DfES
  • Page 11 and 12: and global history and that this in
  • Page 13 and 14: experiences of Huguenot refugees in
  • Page 15 and 16: intention for the current research
  • Page 17 and 18: a series of ‘fuzzy generalisation
  • Page 19: CHAPTER 1 AN IRISH DIMENSION WITHIN
  • Page 23 and 24: claimed that the experiences of the
  • Page 25 and 26: The report made some reference to d
  • Page 27 and 28: Irish dimension has featured in thi
  • Page 29 and 30: together. The relationship between
  • Page 31 and 32: Although, the third volume certainl
  • Page 33 and 34: esonance. Secondly, within the peri
  • Page 35 and 36: Before exploring links between an I
  • Page 37 and 38: Historical Association and former H
  • Page 39 and 40: narrative histories based on the ex
  • Page 41 and 42: This did not make explicit referenc
  • Page 43 and 44: ead’. Anti-racism was concerned w
  • Page 45 and 46: working party’s recommendations h
  • Page 47 and 48: and alienated by a diet of history
  • Page 49 and 50: history for equality and diversity
  • Page 51 and 52: CHAPTER 2 METHODOLOGY: APPROACHES U
  • Page 53 and 54: investigated Art teachers’ percep
  • Page 55 and 56: … a group of children in a class
  • Page 57 and 58: esearch participants must be honour
  • Page 59 and 60: Case Study I: Pilot study of 25 Sec
  • Page 61 and 62: 276 primary schools, 197 are LEA sc
  • Page 63 and 64: comparing the primary and secondary
  • Page 65 and 66: Development Education or the Irelan
  • Page 67 and 68: esponse. A common format for the pr
  • Page 69 and 70: eferences to their life histories.
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    Research into action The issues and

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    organiser and I discussed the prosp

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    schools replied. Only 6 telephone r

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    who volunteered were interviewed. T

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    without evident inhibitions. A more

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    Ireland in Schools (a) Secondary Te

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    CHAPTER 3 THE IRISH DIMENSION WITHI

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    one said that they served the Irish

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    What does a comparison between the

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    Can perceptions of an Irish dimensi

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    Number of respondents 25 38 52 115

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    out of 38 responses and in Case Stu

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    The teaching of an Irish dimension

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    The last question provided responde

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    obtained from at least one school i

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    felt that Irish history and immigra

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    RC responses 0 17 4 1 22 LEA respon

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    Table 9: An examination of the rela

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    y some secondary respondents. A num

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    secondary schools there are respond

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    and Primary Historical Association

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    1 Some Low No - less 2 Some Low/som

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    Birmingham had an Irish community.

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    concentrate on … literacy and num

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    more traditional topics which could

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    The fifth interviewee had been Head

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    The impression given was that at bo

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    which they constructed the past. Fo

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    Birmingham, and the remaining three

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    The interviewee said that at a rece

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    decision to focus on teaching Irish

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    The interviewee taught Ireland as t

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    Examples of topics where an Irish d

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    emphasised pragmatic motives for de

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    Two interviewees indicated that the

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    It is possible that the interviewee

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    commented, ‘We obviously do Engli

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    What did this interviewee have to s

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    When asked about other aspects of t

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    dimension and multicultural and ant

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    the other case studies did not repl

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    The Project Facilitator was intervi

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    The Director worked closely with co

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    In practical terms 80:20 is about w

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    at what was happening in Belfast an

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    of pictures related to current deve

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    elated to an Irish dimension, the P

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    We didn’t feel that they needed t

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    The fact that the interviewee did n

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    We can draw out influences of the w

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    esponsibility for the history curri

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    curriculum. The analysis of the thr

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    • Contributes towards the teachin

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    studying Ireland is a chore, but th

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    article concluded by noting that hi

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    elated to a multicultural or anti-r

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    The interviewee also felt that thei

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    Beyond individual schools they felt

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    Clearly, the co-ordinator’s inter

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    Stage 4. They also considered that

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    For example they had already used m

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    The interviewee developed materials

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    community because they feared that

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    will be considered before consideri

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    een delayed by personal or school d

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    The interviewee indicated more abou

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    Work related to Black History at Ke

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    growing up in an ever smaller world

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    within British history. It is inter

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    through a workshop. They provided t

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    The second teacher was interviewed

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    interviewee had undertaken fund rai

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    interpret the story. Clearly, the s

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    History Project GCSE courses or as

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    The intention is to explore the spe

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    Romans, Tudors, World War 2 in a va

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    interviewee noted that a significan

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    egin to do that. That’s the key,

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    interviewee had also contributed to

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    argue with that really because ther

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    People have come and gone through E

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    leader for the GCSE History pilot.

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    Towards the end of the interview th

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    in their cluster group still had di

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    months before the time of the inter

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    the interests of particular mentors

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    … the further that you get from t

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    Clearly, the issues of the relation

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    ‘schools quite often find that th

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    examination results and league tabl

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    in Britain’s multicultural societ

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    priorities. For some interviewees i

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    Curriculum 2000 and primary intervi

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    implications for both pupils’ und

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    focus for looking at events such as

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    Different interpretations and versi

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    … if comparing the IRA to al-Qaid

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    teach about Ireland at Key Stage 3

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    current study. An exploration of th

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    APPENDICES Appendix I: Appendix II:

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    . Why do you teach it? Rate each of

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    APPENDIX II: Secondary Head of Hist

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    Question 2. How important is multic

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    Question 4. How important is immigr

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    8. DO YOU TEACH IRISH HISTORY/OR IR

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    12. History textbooks at KS4 Please

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    APPENDIX III: Primary History Co-or

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    5. Tick the comment which shows the

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    7. HISTORY TEXTBOOKS AT KS2 Please

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    I really appreciate you help in com

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    APPENDIX V: Perceptions of historic

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    APPENDIX VII: Perceptions of histor

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    APPENDIX IX: Perceptions of histori

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    APPENDIX XI: Perceptions of histori

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    Bookseller (2003 b) The Bookseller,

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    Charlesworth, S. (2000) A Phenomeno

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    Gain, C.and George, R. (1999) Gende

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    Jenkins, K. (1991) Re-thinking the

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    Morrison, V. (1989) ‘Coney Island

  • Page 310 and 311:

    Riverdance - A Journey (1996) Produ

  • Page 312:

    Weight R. (2002) Patriots: National

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