Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Gae Lairn: Addressing Cultural Diversity In the New Northern Ireland Curriculum

Linda Hagan, Caroline Baraniuk.

A thorough revision of the Northern Ireland education system is in progress. Current changes have been triggered by the recognition that relevance and enjoyment should be central to young people’s experience of education. In this paper the evolution of the Key Stage 3 curriculum, which encompasses the first three years of post-primary education, is reviewed. The major change in the new curriculum is the shift of emphasis from content knowledge to the acquisition of transferable skills. Its stated objectives include the provision of relevant learning opportunities to help each student develop as an individual and a contributor to society.

Recent political developments have enshrined the idea of parity of esteem for all traditions within Northern Ireland society. The authors review the position of the Ulster-Scots, a diverse group within the population including both Protestants and Catholics. They possess a distinct history, culture and a language that is now recognised by European Charter. This paper offers a rationale for the development of curriculum materials which recognise an Ulster-Scots dimension in Northern Ireland society.

The curricular changes offer a unique opportunity to raise self-esteem and to promote a sense of identity among children from Ulster-Scots communities. The authors argue the importance of ensuring that the new curriculum is affirming of the Ulster-Scots language, history and culture.


Linda Hagan  (United Kingdom)

I have a B.A. in English and History, MSSc in Irish Studies, PhD in Education,
DipEd and Adv.CertEd all from Queen's University Belfast. My special interest
and research was in Education for Mutual Understanding. I have 30 years
teacing experience in the post-primary sector.

Caroline Baraniuk  (United Kingdom)
Project Officer
Ulster-Scots Curriculum Development Unit
Stranmillis University College

Qualifications: BA(Hons), University of Stirling;PGCE(Queen's University, Belfast); Certificate in Biblical Studies(Queen's University)
26 years teaching experience
Seconded to the Ulster-Scots Curriculum Development Unit, September,2003.

  • Cultural diversity
  • Curriculum development

(Virtual Presentation, English)