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UCD to delve into the secret lives of children navigating Irish primary school

File photo dated 06/07/11 of children at school raising their hands to answer a question as children as young as five are to get school visits from professionals such as businessmen, archaeologists and zoologists to help teach them about different types of jobs, it has been announced.. Issue date: Friday May 2, 2014. Under a new initiative, primary schools are to get free access to a network of volunteers willing to talk to youngsters about their careers. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said the Primary Futures scheme is part of a bid to widen primary school children's horizons and raise their aspirations. NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: "For children of primary age, making a connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world of work isn't easy. Primary Futures is intended to change that. "It is not about specific careers advice, or fixing on one path for the future at age 11. It is about widening horizons on what can be achieved." See PA story EDUCATION Careers. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire


  • UCD reseachers will follow 4,300 children through primary school in Ireland.
  • The focus is on the persaonal experiences of each child.
  • The study will feed into the development of the national curriculum.

Researchers from University College Dublin will follow 4,300 children through primary school in Ireland to gauge how it shapes their young lives.

The study, ‘Children’s School Lives’, will track the children for six years, and aims to present an intimate portrait of school and community life in Ireland that can feed into national policy on the development of curriculum for early childhood, primary and post-primary education.

Funded by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), the landmark research is the first systematic attempt to track the same group of children from pre-school and primary into secondary school.

Led by Professor Dympna Devine, UCD Head of Education, and a team of researchers at the UCD School of Education, the investigation will examine themes such as relationships, inclusion, school culture, religion, curriculum, ethnicity and emotional wellbeing.

“Primary schools in Ireland have always been central to the vitality of local communities, the focal point for marrying the love and care for children with national goals for economic and social development,” said Professor Devine.

“This study takes a holistic view of children’s learning and development, exploring how their experience of school contributes not only to their academic attainment, but also their self-confidence, and capacities to thrive,” she added.

Approximately 4,300 children from 200 primary schools will be involved in the quantitative aspect of the study.

Nested within this, children in 14 case study primary schools will be involved in a more in-depth investigation.

The study will focus on two cohorts of children, with one group in their last year of preschool in 2018/2019 followed annually until they finish 2nd class.

The second group, taken from children in 2nd class in 2018/2019, will be followed annually until they finish their first year in post-primary school.

Overseeing the study will be Dr Jennifer SymondsDr Deirdre McGillicuddy and Dr Seaneen Sloan, from the UCD School of Education.


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