School History

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.

The report from the Commissioners of National Schools in Ireland 1834-1836 said:

The Model Schools were to be under the direction of teachers of superior attainment who would be specially paid for their services“.

Initially in The Model School, Kilkenny there were 4 male students teachers and 1 female. At first they stayed for 6 months, later it became a year.

Where is the Model School?

The Model School first opened on the Ormonde Road in 1856. The last Model School building opened in 1936 on the corner of the Castlecomer Road and Newpark Drive. The current school is on the Castlecomer Road in Kilkenny College Grounds.

The old building on the Ormonde Road is now the Technical School.

Who was the Model School For?

Everybody came to the Model School. Half the school was for the poor and the other half was for the better-off people. The poor paid 1d (1/2p) a week, and the better-off people paid 3 shillings (15p) for a quarter year.

Who Started the Model Schools?

The government decided to start an educational system in Ireland in 1831. They set up the Commissioners of National Education. There were not enough teachers. So they started Model Schools where student young teachers would be trained.

The inspector was asked to find a suitable site and the Board of Works built the school. It was paid for entirely by the government.

In What Ways Were Model Schools Different?

  1. They had student teachers.
  2. The Local Inspector was the Manager. He visited once a week.
  3. The teachers’ salaries were paid directly by the Commissiones of National Education.
  4. The Local Community and Churches had no say in the running of the school.

A Timeline of Our History

  • 1856: The Model School opened on the Ormonde Road.
  • 1860: The Inspector’s Report for the year was quite good. He mentioned the attendence was low.
  • 1867: The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Primary Education was told that numbers in Kilkenny were the lowest of all Model Schools.
  • 1894: The Kilkenny Subscription School (Evans School) closed and children moved to the Model School.
  • Around the turn of the century the Technical School started to have Secretarial Courses in the Model School.
  • 1936: The Technical School took over the whole building and the Model School moved to Newpark Drive.
  • 1946: There was a fire in the school and Mr. Walker (The Principal) died the next day.
  • 1946: Mr. Tom Groves became Principal
  • 1974: Kilcooley School closed. Some children came to the Model School.
  • 1976: Mr. Groves retired
  • 1977: Mrs. Brennan became Principal
  • 1999: Moved to third school on Kilkenny College grounds.
  • 2000: First school website started.
  • 2006: Celebrated the 150th anniversary of the school
  • 2008: Ms. Mackey became Principal