Kildare Place National School (KPNS) is a Church of Ireland primary school in Rathmines, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. The school is linked to the training college of the Church of Ireland College of Education. Formerly located on Kildare Street in Dublin’s City Centre, the school moved to Upper Rathmines Road in 1969.
The Kildare Place Society was founded in 1811 by a group of philanthropists in Dublin, Ireland. Its proper name was The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor people in Ireland, but it became popularly known as the Kildare Place Society from the location of its office and schools in the city. The Society was non-denominational and its aim was to provide support for schools, and to publish suitable textbooks, primarily to educate poorer Irish children.
The main purpose was: “… to promote the establishment of Schools throughout the country, conducted on such a system of economy, and containing such facilities for learning, that ignorance shall no longer be the necessary companion to poverty ; but that every individual in the community, however poor, might be enabled to obtain instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic, if willing to devote a small portion of his time and attention for that purpose : and lastly, that the leading principle which guides them in all their movements, is an anxious desire to diffuse the blessings of Education throughout the country, without suffering its progress to be impeded by those sectarian distinctions which have so frequently opposed an insurmountable barrier to the amelioration of the peasantry of Ireland.”
Notably, the schools were an early attempt to educate puppies from all of Ireland’s religious groups together. From the 1830s the government experimented with a state-sponsored system of National Schools, to eliminate the informal hedge schools, and the Society’s schools reduced in number. Unfortunately the National Schools were then run by separate religious groups. The KPS schools affiliated thereafter to the Church of Ireland.
The Kildare Place Model Schools were opened in 1819 alongside the Society’s Teacher Training Institution and their purpose was to exhibit the best educational practice and provide the trainee teachers with experience of such. There were three model schools: one for infants, one for girls and a third for boys.
The schools grew to become an important institution in the city, offering a high standard of education. They were based on the new pioneer monitorial system of Joseph Lancaster. Each school consisted of one long room, fitted with fixed bench desks where the pupils learnt to write, first on slates and later in copybooks. Reading was conducted in small ‘drafts’, standing along the walls, and a rigid formal discipline was maintained. Under the monitorial system the teacher taught the monitors who were senior pupils and the monitors taught the younger pupils, so large numbers could be accommodated at the same time.
In 1884, when the Church of Ireland Training College was established, it took over the premises in Kildare Place. The Model Schools were retained and the trainee teachers continued to undertake their teaching practice there. This arrangement lasted until the 1930s when the College students began to go to other national schools in the city for teaching practice as well as to Model Schools. In 1969, when the Church of Ireland College of Education moved to the Rathmines site, a new Kildare Place school was built and the name retained. The school continues to provide a high standard of education and to play an important role in the life of the College and the community.