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In 1733-4 the Incorporated Society for promoting English Protestant Working Schools in Ireland was granted its charter. The 'charter schools' were envisioned by their supporters as a positive side to government policy owards the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Within the existing penal law context the schools would open the scriptures to the children of the poor, as well as educating them in the ways of industry, good husbandry and loyalty to the Hanoverian crown.
In the course of a century over a million pounds in government funding was provided for the establishment and running of the schools. The results, however, fell far short of expectations. This study examines the unfortunate history of the charter schools movement.
Dr Kenneth Milne is the editor of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin: A History.