Model Schools were built and funded by the Government under the 1831 Board of National Education scheme to introduce primary education for all.

 The idea was that Model Schools would be examples to other schools, demonstrating the highest teaching standards across a wide curriculum, to children of all religions. These schools would also provide initial training for young people who wished to become teachers.

Monaghan Model School was opened on Wednesday the 9th of October, 1861, and looked much the same externally as it does today. The school had three departments: the Boys’ School (150 pupils), the Girls’ School (100 pupils) and the Infant School (a further 100 children). Today, “Boys’ School” and “Girls’ School” are still engraved in the stone arches above the two main entrances. The principal of the school used to live in the two-storey section joined onto the Girls’ School. This is now used for storage, offices and toilets.

On February 10, 1834, three years after the establishment of the national system of primary education in Ireland, the first Model School was opened in Upper Merrion Street, Dublin. This institution, better known as the Central Model School, was later at the heart of a larger system of provincial, or District Model Schools which would, beginning in 1849, be established across the country.  Model Schools were teacher-training institutions under the auspices of the Commissioners of the Board of National Education, the administrative body of the national system. Once in place, the Model School system was not only essential in its capacity to train and thus supply the national schools with competent teachers, but, as the name states, Model Schools also served as models for the ordinary schools in the national system. To that end, each Model School maintained at least one elementary school where student teachers could practice their skills and gain experience in leading a class. Indeed, while they were numerically insignificant, never exceeding thirty as opposed to the thousands of ordinary national schools, the Model Schools were the cornerstone of the national system, providing for the vitality of the system both in their capacity to train suitable teachers and to exhibit an exemplary education.


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Telephone: +353 (047) 83070
Mobile: +353 (086) 057 7885

The Model School, North Road,
Monaghan, Ireland