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National identity Essay

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Critically assess the relationship between national identity and schooling in the period 1870-1939? The relationship between national identity and schooling is one that has been seen as both a problem, where by the integrating of the concept of national identity into schooling is seen as the “poison” that generates “cross-national conflict” (1) and a defensive reaction to preventing and dealing with the problems that Britain faced during that epoch, where the political and social environment in Europe “provided a sort of hothouse atmosphere for nationalistic

writings of the most fervent kind”(2) “Dr Tate outlined in brief that ‘national identities depended on stories ‘and that teachers need to provide children ‘with a sense of belonging to a community which stretches back into the past and forward into the future ‘ in order to five them ‘ a sense of meaning'” (3) The idea of creating a sense of belonging for children, is one that is shared worldwide, humans I have been told, need narratives, however the use of ‘national identities’ here is used in a positive

and discreet in content manner. I wonder what concepts does Dr Tate associate with national identities, and what aspects of the past and future should children be informed about? To answer the question given I will look deeply into, the relationship between national identity and schooling, ways of introducing national identity in schooling, threat abroad and at home, the effects, the problems and questions raised by the idea of national identity in schooling. I will begin by introducing some of the important Legislations and Codes

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introduced by the government as these reflect the concern of the day, and play an important role in schooling, and national identity. The revised code of 1862 introduced a new concern arising over the education attained in schools, and thus the ‘payment by results’ system was introduced, and teachers were paid for those that achieved results. The importance of this central part of legislation was that it governed the activities precipitated in schools. These school codes were issued by the government to dictate what should

be taught in schools and at what level for what age. Attendance and a uniformed standard of education were central to what the government sought to achieve in this legislation. This piece of legislation was hated so much by the teachers, and thus it was attacked by masses of teachers thus was withdrawn in 1898. The New Code of 1871 awarded 40 hour drills per year via grant aid. The drills were seen as a form of implementing the importance of obedience into the children. The importance of obedience was seen as vital to the social stability of the school.


1. (W.E.Marsden, Nationalism, propaganda and war and peace, pg29-47)

2. (P.M.Kennedy, ‘The decline of nationalistic history in the west, 1900-1970’,

Journal of Contemporary History, 8 (1973)88.)

3. (History today, History and national identity in the classroom, pg 6)

4. (There’s no place like home, Education of History 28, pg 236-237)

5. (1 Mass Observation Archive FR878)

6. (J.Bourke, Working-Class Cultures in Britain, 1890-1960. Gender, Class and

Ethnicity (London: Routledge, 1994), 186)

7. (A.D.Smith, National Identity, London, 1991, p.9-11)

8. (J.M.Mackenzie, Propaganda and Empire. The manipulation of British Public

Opinion, 1880-1960 Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), 176.see k.

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