Changes to the school leaving dates in Scotland and Northern Ireland

I am looking for sources that tell me about when and how the school leaving dates were changed in Scotland and Northern Ireland after World War 2. I define school leaving date as the date you do not have to attend school anymore once you are around the school leaving age.

The current system for the UK is outlined here:School leaving age. For England and Wales this changed in 1998 and 1962 before the current system came in.

For Northern Ireland under 4. of the 1976 Education Order for Northern Ireland I found that the power to change the dates was given to the Department of Education. However, I cannot find any changes and the Department of Education (NI) told me that they do not have records pre-dating 1972, so they cannot help me with 1945-1972.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Under the 1947 Act:

33.-(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, in this Act the expression "compulsory school age" means any age between five years and fifteen years, and accordingly a person shall be deemed to be of compulsory school age if he has attained the age of five years and has not attained the age of fifteen years and a person shall be deemed to be over compulsory school age as soon as he has attained the age of fifteen years: [… ]

(2) As soon as the Ministry is satisfied that it has become practicable to raise to sixteen the upper limit of the compulsory school age, it shall lay before Parliament the draft of an Order in Council directing that the foregoing provisions of this section shall have effect as if for references therein to the age of fifteen years there were substituted references to the age of sixteen years; and if within the statutory period both Houses of Parliament resolve that the draft be presented to the Governor of Northern Ireland, the said Governor may by Order in Council direct accordingly.

110.-(1) A local education authority shall have power to make bye-laws prescribing two or more dates in each year as the dates of commencing and terminating, or otherwise in relation to, school attendance for children within their education area, and publication of the prescribed dates shall be made by advertisement or otherwise as the authority think fit.

(2) For the purposes of the provisions of this Act relating to the limits of the compulsory school age, a child shall be deemed not to have attained any particular age until the prescribed date next succeeding the date upon which he attained that age.

So it looks like the local authorities were given power to define the dates on which someone ceased to be of compulsory school age, in much the same way as they could set term dates, and there was no fixed rule. I haven't been able to find any of these announcements in the Belfast Gazette (though I may not have been looking for the right keywords… )

The limit of fifteen was postponed for a few years (it remained at fourteen until at least 1951), and was later raised to sixteen in 1972 (announcement).

Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel and transport

Guidance on travel rules and restrictions and protection levels, including information on essential travel.

This document is part of a collection

Travel is allowed within Scotland, with the exception of travel into or out of areas in Level 3 or Level 4.

Travel is allowed between Scotland and Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Travel to some parts of North West England is currently restricted , including Manchester and Salford from 21 June .

For restrictions on travel between Scotland and the rest of the world see the international travel section below.

These rules may be changed depending on the state of the pandemic in Scotland and in other countries. Please check back here for up to date information before you travel.

Travelling around Scotland

Travel is allowed within Scotland and overnight stays with family and friends are allowed in line with rules on indoor gatherings. Covid restriction rules including on indoor and outdoor gatherings and tourist accommodation must also be followed.

There are no travel restrictions on travel between areas at Levels 0, 1 and 2. However, we advise that, in order to help suppress the spread of the virus, where possible people should not utilise facilities or services in other areas that are closed within their own areas in line with their current level of restriction.

In Levels 0, 1 and 2 (all of Scotland is currently in one of these levels) there are no restrictions on travelling between areas at these levels. You must not travel to an area in Level 3 or 4 except for a permitted reason.

In Levels 3 and 4 (no part of Scotland is currently in either of these levels) you must not leave your area except for a permitted reason.

Travelling to the Scottish islands: pre-departure testing

To reduce the risk of coronavirus being brought into island communities, we are encouraging anyone planning to travel to a Scottish island to test before they do so.

You can order rapid lateral flow tests for delivery to your home anywhere in the UK and they should arrive within 24-48 hours.

You should test three days before you plan to travel and then again on the day of departure. If you test positive, you should complete your period of self-isolation before you begin your journey.

If your test result is negative it is not a guarantee that you do not have coronavirus. You must continue to follow national and local restrictions, including coronavirus guidance . If you develop coronavirus symptoms you must self-isolate and book a PCR test .

This is a voluntary scheme and you will not need evidence of a negative test to travel to a Scottish island. However, we encourage you to participate in order to reduce the risk that you inadvertently carry coronavirus into one of our island communities.

Travelling within the Common Travel Area (UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)

A Common Travel Area (CTA) exists between the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland.

Travel within the UK, and to the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, is not counted as international travel. This means that you do not need to test, isolate or fill in a passenger locator form if:

  • you’re travelling to Scotland from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey
  • you have not travelled anywhere other than these areas in the 10 days before you arrive in Scotland

Your plans may still be affected if the area you’re travelling to or from has local restrictions in place.

Travel between Scotland and the CTA is subject to restrictions based on conditions with the pandemic. Travel to and from Level 3 and Level 4 areas is not allowed except for permitted reasons.

We advise against travel to areas in the UK managing outbreaks of the Delta variant. The UK Government publishes a list of areas in England with Delta outbreaks . This advice is in addition to legal restrictions on travel between Scotland and the specific areas listed below.

The current travel restrictions between Scotland (except any areas in Level 3 or Level 4) and the CTA are as follows:

    – travel to and from Blackburn with Darwen and Bolton is only allowed for permitted reasons. Travel to and from Manchester and Salford is only allowed for permitted reasons from Monday 21 June 2021. There is a detailed list of examples of reasonable excuses in the regulations. No travel restrictions elsewhere in England.
  • Wales – no travel restrictions
  • Northern Ireland – no travel restrictions
  • Republic of Ireland – no travel restrictions, effective 18 June 2021
  • Jersey – no travel restrictions
  • Guernsey – no travel restrictions
  • Isle of Man – no travel restrictions

You should also check those countries’ own rules on entry and other restrictions before you travel.

The Scottish rules on travel to and from other parts of the CTA are kept under active review and are subject to change depending on the state of the pandemic. Please check back here for up to date information before you travel.

International travel (outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)

Travel between a Level 3 or Level 4 area in Scotland and anywhere else in the world is not allowed except for a permitted reason . Although the law on international travel to and from the rest of Scotland has been relaxed that does not mean it is advisable.

The Scottish Government has introduced a risk assessment for international travel similar to the UK Government’s existing ‘traffic light’ system. This entails the following requirements for both residents of Scotland on their return and overseas visitors:

  • arrivals from red list countries will be required to enter a managed isolation hotel and stay there for 10 days. Travel to such countries should only be for essential reasons.
  • arrivals from amber list countries, which will be the majority of countries, should self-isolate at home [or if a visitor from another country, their accommodation on arrival] for 10 days, and take two PCR tests while they are isolating.
  • arrivals from green list countries will not be required to quarantine or isolate on arrival in Scotland, but will need to take a PCR test shortly after arrival.

Further information on this process, and details of the countries on each list, is available in our international travel guidance .

Permitted reasons for travel in Level 3

The regulations permit travel to or from a Level 3 area if you have a reasonable excuse. They also let you travel through a Level 3 area to somewhere else. In doing so you should take additional care, especially if travelling by public transport (see section below) and minimise contact with others.

Examples of reasonable excuses for travel to or from a Level 3 area include:

  • essential shopping for your household or that of a vulnerable person. However, please use online shopping or shops, banks and other services whenever you can and shop locally wherever possible.
  • work (or providing voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home. This includes seeking employment, for example by travel for a job interview.
  • education and training - this includes travel to school (including boarding school), college or university, for home education, for school day trips or for other purposes connected with a course of study.
  • accessing childcare or parental support services
  • driving lessons or tests
  • to lead an act of worship or attend your usual place of worship
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to visit a person detained in a prison, young offenders institution, remand centre, secure accommodation or other place of detention
  • to provide or receive emergency assistance
  • to access healthcare, including testing and vaccination
  • to accompany someone obtaining medical assistance, such as to a doctor’s appointment, or visit a person in a hospital, hospice or care home
  • to avoid injury, illness or other risk of harm, or support someone who is doing so
  • to move home or undertake activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that you own or are otherwise responsible for. Maintenance of a second home should not be used as a pretext for a holiday. You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.
  • to participate in or facilitate shared parenting arrangements
  • to fulfil a legal obligation or participate in legal proceedings. This can include, for example, registering a birth, satisfying bail conditions, complying with a court mandate in terms of sentence imposed It can also include attendance at court including a remote jury centre, an inquiry, a children’s hearing, tribunal proceedings, or proceedings to resolve a dispute via Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • to vote, or register to vote, in an election (including to vote as proxy for someone else)
  • to donate blood
  • to access public services, including any of the following—
    • social services
    • services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions
    • services provided to victims (such as victims of crime)
    • asylum and immigration services and interviews

    outdoor exercise, socialising and recreation. The regulations let you travel to a place up to 5 miles beyond the boundary of a Level 3 area to reach a place to meet up or start and finish your exercise, but please travel no further than you need to in order to find a safe, non-crowded place to exercise or meet up. The activity must be on your own, with members of your own household (including an extended household “bubble”), or in groups of no more than 6 people from 6 households, plus any children under 12. It must not involve an overnight stay.

    if you are a professional sportsperson or their coach, travel to coach, train or compete

    to attend a gathering which relates to a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration. See weddings and civil partnership registrations.

    Extra detail

    The regulations (Schedule 5, paragraph 15 (2) (u)) permit travel to participate in or facilitate organised activity, sport or exercise which is for persons under 18 years of age. An activity, sport or exercise is “organised” if—

    (i) a person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service,

    (ii) a person who is responsible for a place of worship

    (iii) a charity or other not for profit organisation,

    (iv) a club or political organisation, or

    (v) the governing body of a sport or other activity, and

    (b) the organiser has taken measures to minimise exposure to Coronavirus required by the regulations

    The regulations (Schedule 5, paragraph 15 (2) (ab)) permit travel to participate in to attend an organised picket. For the purpose of sub-paragraph (2)(ab), a picket is “organised” if—

    (a) it is carried out in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, and

    b) the organiser has taken measures to minimise exposure to Coronavirus required by the regulations.

    Travelling safely

    You can help keep Scotland moving by:

    • reducing the need to travel: Work from home if you can and stay local for shopping and services
    • planning ahead: If you need to make a journey, check your travel options in advance
    • choosing active travel: Walk, wheel or cycle where possible
    • staying travel safe: Help ensure we have a safe public transport system, available to those most in need

    Public transport

    Transport providers will have procedures to promote the safety of customers and staff, but it is an individual’s responsibility to comply with guidance.

    On public transport you must by law wear a face covering, unless you are exempt, and comply with the physical distancing measures that are in place. Find out more about face coverings.

    Car and vehicle sharing

    You should not share a vehicle with anyone from another household, unless you absolutely have to. It is recognised that people with additional support needs may need to car share and in these circumstances, they should also follow the appropriate measures, steps and precautions where possible.

    If you absolutely have to share a car journey with anyone from another household, you should take the following steps and precautions:

    • if sharing a vehicle with anyone from another household, limit the number of people in the vehicle to as few as possible, ideally no more than 2 (applies to adults and children aged 12 and over)
    • use the biggest vehicle available for car sharing purposes
    • occupants should sit as far apart as possible. Ideally a passenger should sit in the back seat diagonally opposite the driver, aiming for 2 metre distancing between occupants
    • windows in the car should be opened as far as possible taking account of weather conditions to improve ventilation in the space
    • occupants in the car, including the driver, should wear a face covering provided it does not compromise driver safety in any way
    • occupants should perform hand hygiene before entering the vehicle and again on leaving the vehicle
    • occupants should avoid eating in the vehicle
    • passengers in the vehicle should minimise any surfaces touched
    • keep the volume of any music/radio to a minimum to prevent the need to raise voices in the car
    • the longer the journey, the higher the risk keep journey times to the minimum feasible and do not linger in the vehicle before or after the journey itself
    • where non-household members are car-sharing, the car must be cleaned regularly (at least daily) and particular attention should be paid to high risk touch points such as door handles, electronic buttons and seat belts. General purpose detergent is sufficient unless a symptomatic or confirmed case of COVID-19 has been in the vehicle in which case a disinfectant (e.g. chlorine-based product) should be used

    You should not travel to work/car share if you have any symptoms of coronavirus, as outlined on the NHS Inform website.

    Note the above guidance relates to private vehicles. For taxis and private hire vehicles you should refer to guidance on taxis and private hire vehicles.

    If you are travelling in a vehicle as part of your job or business, safe operation of workplaces applies, therefore please refer to your employer. For employers, you may wish to refer to guidance for safer workplaces.

    If someone tests positive for COVID-19, all passengers will be assessed for close contact and are likely to be advised to self-isolate.

    For further information please visit our advice on how to travel safely.

    Updated to reflect changes in position in travel restrictions on Republic of Ireland and Bedford, England are removed from Friday 18 June (midnight tonight). Travel restrictions are extended to Manchester and Salford from Monday 21 June (midnight Sunday).

    Updated to reflect scheduled changes for Moray and areas of England.

    Updated to reflect changes on 17 May 2021.

    Updated to reflect changes due on 17 May 2021.

    Minor textual amendments made.

    Updated to reflect changes due on 17 May 2021.

    Updated to reflect Scotland moving to Level 3.

    Added information on pre-departure testing for visiting the Scottish islands.

    Updated to reflect new travel rules in level 3 and level 4 areas.

    Updated to reflect change from 'stay at home' to 'stay local'.

    Na h-Eileannan an lar (Western Isles) will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 24 March - updated.

    Further amendments made to text of sections relating to informal exercise.

    Amendments made to text of sections relating to informal exercise.

    Added information about managed quarantine arrangements for international travellers.

    Updated information on car/vehicle sharing.

    Small changes to reflect Western Isles moving into lockdown

    Updated Level 3 and 4 exceptions covering marriage.

    Updated to reflect the islands of Barra and Vatersay moving to lockdown.

    Updated information on international travel.

    Updated to reflect new lockdown regulations to take effect on 5 January 2021

    Updated to reflect new restrictions

    Updated to reflect change in self-isolation period from 14 days to 10 days.

    Schooldays in the 1950s and 1960s

    We all have strong memories of our first few days at primary school, although nowadays most children tend to go to pre-school, so it is not such a shock to the system for them as it was for the children of the 1960s!

    In the 1960s there were no state pre-schools or nurseries, so for most children just turning 5 years old, their first day at school was the first time they had been on their own, away from home. Most mothers did not work outside the home, so for many children this was also the first time they had been apart from their mothers. Consequently the first day of school was a very tearful event for both child and parent!

    Having got over the first pangs of separation, school life soon fell into a predictable routine. School milk was part of this routine, uniformly detested by all children. In Post War Britain school milk, a third of a pint per child, was introduced in schools to supplement the child’s diet. In 1971 school milk for the over-sevens was withdrawn by Margaret Thatcher, then Secretary of State for Education – for this she was dubbed ‘Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher’ in the press. During the harsh winter of 1962-3, or the big freeze of 1963 as it became known, it was a common sight to see the small crates of milk outside the school gates with the shiny bottle tops standing proud above the bottles on a column of frozen milk. Of course the only way to defrost the school milk was to place it by the radiator, and then the poor children were forced to consume watery, lukewarm milk. And forced they were – “milk is good for you child, you WILL drink it all up!”

    The School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom had been set up in 1947 and the wireless or radio played a great part in the education of school children in the 1960s. ‘Music and Movement’ was one such programme and all over the country in school halls, children could be found leaping and stretching to the commands on the radio. ‘Now children we are going to sway like trees in the wind’ would be the instruction on the radio and all the children, boys and girls, would begin to sway with their arms in the air. There was no ‘gym kit’ in primary schools so the children just removed their outer clothes and did P.E. in their vests, knickers or underpants and bare feet or pumps (usually purchased from Woolworths).

    Another such programme was ‘Singing Together’ where the class would gather to sing traditional folk songs and sea shanties such as ‘Oh soldier, soldier, won’t you marry me’, ‘A-Roving’ (see below), ‘Michael Finnegan’, ‘The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies’ and ‘Oh No John’. However, when as an adult you examine the content and meaning of some of these old folk songs, whether they were indeed suitable for the under 11s is another question!

    Visits from the school nurse would break up the daily routine. The nit nurse used to make regular visits to check for headlice and all the children in each class would line up to be examined in turn, their hair being combed carefully with a nit comb to see if there was any infestation. There were also routine eye and hearing tests, and visits from the school dentist.

    There was also the polio vaccine, given at school to every child on a sugar lump. Measles, German Measles and Mumps were not vaccinated against most children contracted these diseases in childhood. German Measles, or Rubella, can affect unborn babies in the womb if contracted in pregnancy, and so if a girl in the class caught German Measles, it was not uncommon for her mother to throw a tea party for the rest of the girls so they could also catch the disease.

    Class sizes in the 1950s and early 1960s were large, often over 30 children to a class, as these were the ‘baby boomers’, children born after the Second World War. There were no classroom assistants, just the class teacher and so discipline was strict. It was quite common for a disruptive child to be rapped over the knuckles, on the buttocks or on the palm of the hand with a ruler.

    In the 1960s this was very much ‘talk and chalk’ education, with the teacher at the front of the class and the children sitting at desks facing the board. Reading, writing and arithmetic (the Three ‘R’s) were very important, as was learning by rote. Times tables were learnt by chanting aloud in class and poetry such as Wordworths’ I wandered lonely as a cloud’ would be learnt by heart for homework. Neat hand writing was seen as very important and practiced daily. Nature study was popular and often the only science taught at primary school, with children being asked to bring in things such as leaves and seeds for the teacher to identify and then to use later in art and craft work.

    There was also a strong sense of being British of dancing around the maypole for May Day, singing traditional folk songs and learning about the history, geography, flora and fauna of Britain and the Commonwealth.

    Of course this was also the age of the 11-plus, a series of tests and exams that the children in the top (oldest) class at junior school would take before moving on to secondary school. Pupils would practice previous papers in school in order to prepare for these tests, which included writing an essay, a maths paper and both verbal and non-verbal reasoning papers. The verbal reasoning would test a child’s command and use of English, whereas the non-verbal reasoning paper was designed to test a child’s IQ with a puzzles and problem-solving questions.

    Always – and still so today – a contentious method of school selection, the 11 plus system did facilitate social mobility, as places at the grammar schools in the 1960s were allocated according to the results of these tests, and not on ability to pay. Prime Ministers such as Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher and John Major all went through the state grammar school system.

    Q&A: History of the 11-plus test

    The 11-plus transfer test between primary and secondary school began in Northern Ireland in 1947.

    For more than 60 years it was used to decide who qualified for a place at grammar school and who didn't.

    Why was the 11-plus scrapped?

    The Burns review of the education system, published in 2001, was set up by previous education minister Martin McGuinness.

    During the consultation process, forms were sent to every household in Northern Ireland.

    They were predominantly filled in by those who had children at grammar schools and the majority of responses were in favour of retaining academic selection.

    However, Mr McGuinness said on the whole, the weight of opinion across all the responses was against selection, as long as an acceptable alternative was in place.

    When was the final test?

    The last tests were sat in November 2008.

    What has replaced the 11-plus?

    The Labour government, under direct rule, had planned to abolish academic selection altogether but a deal under the St Andrew's Agreement won it a reprieve.

    It was then left it up to the local politicians to find a solution to what should replace the official 11-plus.

    However, they cannot agree and so Northern Ireland is without a regulated test, although grammar schools are still permitted to use academic selection.

    Association of Quality Education (AQE) and a group of Catholic grammar schools therefore drew up separate grammar school entrance tests.

    Why are there two separate tests?

    After grammar schools decided to set their own tests, they split into two camps running totally different exams.

    The AQE is serving non-denominational grammars while the Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) is providing tests mainly for Catholic grammars, along with some integrated colleges and non-denominational schools.

    The two not only differ on the format of the tests, but also presenting results and charging for the exams.

    If you live in England, yes. This summer's GCSE cohort in England (born between 1 September 1998 and 31 August 1999) is the second to have to stay on in education or employment with training until the age of 18.

    The Department for Education raised the participation age in England in two stages. The first stage meant pupils who left Year 11 in the summer of 2013 had to continue in education or training for at least another year until June 2014. The second phase saw pupils who left Year 11 in summer 2014 or later have to continue until at least their 18th birthday.

    However, if you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, it is a different picture.

    In Scotland, if you turn 16 between 1 March and 30 September, you can leave school after 31 May of that year. If you turn 16 between 1 October and the end of February, you can leave at the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.

    In Wales, you can leave school on the last Friday in June, as long as you will be 16 by the end of that school year's summer holidays.

    In Northern Ireland, if you turn 16 during the school year (between 1 September and 1 July), you can leave school after 30 June. If you turn 16 between 2 July and 31 August, you cannot leave school until 30 June the following year.


    The first humans arrived in Ireland between 7,000 and 6,000 BC after the end of the last ice age. The first Irish people lived by farming, fishing and gathering food such as plants and shellfish. The Stone Age hunters tended to live on the seashore or on the banks of rivers and lakes where food was plentiful. They hunted animals like deer and wild boar. They also hunted birds and they hunted seals with harpoons.

    About 4,000 BC farming was introduced to Ireland. The Stone Age farmers kept sheep, pigs, and cattle and raised crops. They probably lived in huts with wooden frames covered with turfs and thatched with rushes. The farmers made tools of stone, bone, and antler. They also made pottery. For centuries the farmers and the hunters co-existed but the old hunter-gatherer lifestyle gradually died out.

    The stone age farmers were the first people to significantly affect the environment of Ireland as they cleared areas of forest for farming. They were also the first people to leave monuments in the form of burial mounds known as court cairns. The Stone Age farmers sometimes cremated their dead then buried the remains in stone galleries covered in earth.

    They also created burial places called dolmens, which consist of massive vertical stones with horizontal stones on top, and passage graves which have a central passage lined and roofed with stones with burial chambers leading off it. The passage graves were covered with mounds of earth.

    About 2,000 BC bronze was introduced into Ireland and was used for making tools and weapons. The bronze Age people also erected stone circles in Ireland. They also built crannogs or lake dwellings, which were easy to defend.

    Then about 500 BC the Celts arrived in Ireland. They brought iron tools and weapons with them. The Celts were a warlike people. (According to Roman writers they were passionately fond of fighting) and they built stone forts across Ireland. At that time Ireland was divided into many small kingdoms and warfare between them was frequent. Fighting often took place in chariots.

    The priests of the Celts were called Druids and they practiced polytheism (worship of many gods). At the top of Celtic society were the kings and aristocrats. Below them were the freemen who were farmers. They could be well off or could be very poor. At the bottom were slaves. Divorce and remarriage were by no means unusual in Celtic society and polygamy was common among the rich.

    Christianity Comes to Ireland

    In the 4th century Christianity spread to Ireland, probably through trade with England and France. In 431 Pope Celestine sent a man named Palladius to Ireland. However, he was killed shortly after his arrival.

    Then in 432, a man named Patrick arrived in Ireland. Patrick was probably born about 390 or 400. According to tradition he lived in Western England until he was captured by Irish raiders at the age of 16 and was taken to Ireland as a slave. Eventually, Patrick managed to escape back to England. However, he eventually returned to Ireland and he was a missionary until his death in 461.

    Patrick tried to organize the church in Ireland along ‘Roman’ lines with Bishops as the leaders. However, the Irish church soon changed to a system based on monasteries with Abbots as the leaders.

    From 500 to 800 was the golden age of the Irish church. Many monasteries were founded across Ireland and soon the Irish sent missionaries to other parts of Europe such as Scotland and Northern England. Irish monks also kept alive Greek-Roman learning during the Dark Ages. In Irish monasteries learning and the arts flourished. One of the greatest arts was making decorated books called illuminated manuscripts. The most famous of these is the Book Of Kells, which was probably made at the beginning of the 9th century. However, this golden age ended with the Viking raids.

    The Vikings first attacked Ireland in 795. They looted monasteries. They also took women and children as slaves. However the Vikings were not only raiders. They were also traders and craftsmen. In the 9th century they founded Ireland’s first towns, Dublin, Wexford, Cork, and Limerick. They also gave Ireland its name, a combination of the Gaelic word Eire and the Viking word land. In time the Vikings settled down. They intermarried with the Irish and accepted Christianity.

    Around 940 the great High King Brian Boru was born. At that time the Danes had conquered much of the kingdom of Munster. Brian defeated them in several battles. In 968 he recaptured Cashel, the capital of Munster. After 976 Brian was king of Munster and in 1002 he became the High King of Ireland. However, in 1014 Leinster, the people of Dublin and the Danes joined forces against him. Brian fought and defeated them at the battle of Clontarf on 23 April 1014, although he was killed himself. This victory ended the Viking threat to Ireland.

    During the 11th and 12th centuries the church in Ireland flourished once again. In the early and mid 12th century it was reformed. Synods (church meetings) were held at Cashel in 1101, at Rath Breasail in 1111 and Kells in 1152. The church was reorganized on diocesan lines and bishops became the leaders rather than Abbots. However, Pope Adrian IV (actually an Englishman called Nicholas Breakspear) was not satisfied. He was determined to bring the Irish church to heel. In 1155 he gave the English king, Henry II, permission to invade Ireland to sort out the church.

    However, Henry did not immediately invade Ireland. Instead, Dermait MacMurrough, the king of Leinster, brought events to a head. In 1166, another king, Tiernan O’Rourke forced MacMurrough to flee from Ireland. However, MacMurrough appealed to the English king Henry II for help. Henry gave him permission to recruit in England. MacMurrough enlisted the support of a man named Richard FitzGilbert de Clare (better known as Strongbow) to help him regain his kingdom. In return, MacMurrough promised that Strongbow could marry his daughter and would become king of Leinster after him.

    MacMurrough returned to South Leinster in 1167. The first English soldiers arrived in 1169. They landed at Bannow Bay in County Wexford and soon captured the town of Wexford. The High King, Rory O’Connor led an army against the English but Dermait came to terms with him. He agreed to submit to O’Connor as High King.

    However the next year, 1170, Strongbow led an army to Ireland and captured Waterford and Dublin. The king of Dublin sailed away. However the next year he returned with a Norwegian army but some English knights sallied out on horseback and defeated them. Askluv was captured and executed. Next Rory O’Connor led an army to Dublin and laid siege to the town. However, the English slipped out and made a surprise attack, routing the Irish.

    Henry II became alarmed that Strongbow was becoming too powerful and ordered all English soldiers to return to England by Easter 1171. Strongbow made Henry an offer. He agreed to submit to King Henry and accept him as Lord if he was allowed to continue. Henry decided to accept the offer on the condition he could have the towns of Dublin, Waterford, and Wexford. In the meantime, Dermatit died and Strongbow became King of Leinster. The English king Henry landed in Ireland in October 1171. Strongbow submitted to him. So did most of the Irish kings. In 1175 Rory O’Connor submitted to Henry by the treaty of Windsor.

    Ireland in the Middle Ages

    In the early 13th century the English extended their control over all of Ireland except part of Connacht and Western Ulster. The English also founded the towns of Athenry, Drogheda, Galway, and New Ross. The first Irish parliament was called in 1264 but it represented only the Anglo-Irish ruling class.

    However, after 1250, the English tide ebbed. In 1258 Brian O’Neill led a rebellion. The rebellion failed when O’Neill was defeated and killed in 1260. However, the English landowners were gradually absorbed into Irish society. Many of them intermarried and slowly adopted Irish customs. In 1366 the Kilkenny Parliament passed the Statutes of Kilkenny. The Anglo-Irish were forbidden to marry native Irish. They were also forbidden to speak Gaelic or to play the Irish game of hurling. They were not allowed to wear Irish dress or ride bareback but must use a saddle. However, all such attempts to keep the two races separate and distinct failed.

    In 1315 the Scots invaded Ireland hoping to open up a second front in their war with the English. Robert the Bruce’s brother led the Scottish army with considerable success and was even crowned king of Ireland. However, the English sent an army to oppose him and he was defeated and killed in 1318.

    In 1394 the English king Richard II led an army to Ireland to try and reassert English control. The Irish submitted to him but promptly rebelled once he had left. Richard returned in 1399 but he was forced to leave due to trouble at home. From then on English control continued to wane until by the middle of the 15th century the English only ruled Dublin and the surrounding ‘Pale’.

    Ireland in the 16th Century

    Henry VII (1485-1509) tried to bring Ireland to heel. In 1494 he made Sir Edward Poynings Lord-Deputy of Ireland. In 1495 Poyning persuaded the Irish parliament to pass ‘Poynings Law’ which stated that the Irish parliament could only meet with the permission of the English king and could only pass laws previously approved by the king and his ministers.

    Henry VIII (1509-1547) continued his father’s policy to trying to bring Ireland under his control but he adopted a ‘softly, softly’ approach of trying to win over the Irish by diplomacy. In 1536 the Irish parliament agreed to make Henry head of the Irish Church. In 1541 the Irish parliament agreed to recognize Henry VIII as king of Ireland.

    Under Henry’s son Edward VI (1547-1553) English policy hardened. The English undertook military campaigns against Irish chiefs in Laois and Offaly who refused to submit to the king. They then made the first attempt to ‘plant’ loyal English people in Ireland as a way of controlling the country. Land confiscated from the Irish was given to English settlers. However, in the face of attacks from the Irish the English colonists were forced to abandon the ‘plantation’. After Edwards death his sister Mary (1553-1558) became queen. She carried out the first successful plantation of Ireland. Again people were settled in Laois and Offaly but this time they were better prepared for war.

    Further plantations took place under Elizabeth (1558-1603). From 1579 to 1583 the Earl of Desmond led a rebellion against the English. When the rebellion was finally crushed much of the land in Munster was confiscated and was given to English colonists.

    Then in 1592, Elizabeth founded the first university in Ireland, Trinity College, Dublin.

    Finally in 1593 rebellion broke out in Ulster. Hugh O’ Neill the Earl of Tyrone, joined the rebellion in 1595. At first, the rebellion was successful. The rebels won a victory at Yellow Ford in 1598. However, O’Neill was severely defeated at the battle of Kinsale in 1601. The rebellion ended in 1603.

    Ireland in the 17th Century

    After the rebellion O’Neil was, at first, treated leniently. He was allowed to return to his land. However, after 1605 English attitudes hardened. In 1607 Hugh O’Neil and Rory O’Donnell, the Earl of Tyrconnell fled to France with their supporters. This event became known as the flight of the Earls.

    Afterwards their land in Ulster was confiscated by King James decided on a plantation in Ulster. This time the plantation was to be far more thorough. This time Protestant settlers would outnumber the native Irish. Between 1610 and 1613 many English people and Scots settled in Ulster on confiscated land. Many new towns were founded. However, the native Irish resented the plantation and in 1641 Ulster rose in rebellion, and massacres of Protestants occurred.

    In the South in 1642 the Anglo-Irish and the native Irish formed an alliance called the Confederation of Kilkenny. They quickly took over all of Ireland except Dublin and some other towns and parts of Ulster. Meanwhile in England civil war was raging between the English king and parliament so Ireland was largely left to its own devices for several years. However, divisions between the Anglo-Irish and the native Irish weakened the rebellion. Moreover, the English civil war ended in 1646. King Charles, I was executed in January 1649. Afterward, the English parliament turned its attention to Ireland.

    Oliver Cromwell was determined to crush Irish resistance and impose Protestantism on Ireland. He also sought revenge for the massacres of 1641. When Cromwell captured Drogheda in 1649 the defenders were massacred. A similar massacre took place in Wexford. Cromwell left Ireland in 1650 and his Son-in-law took over. By 1651 all of Ireland was in English hands.

    In 1653-1654 another plantation took place. Land belonging to Irish Catholics was confiscated. Those who could prove they had not taken part in the rebellion of 1641 were given other (less fertile) land west of the Shannon. The confiscated lands were given to Englishmen.

    In 1660 Charles II became king of England and Scotland. At first, it looked as if he would undo the Cromwellian confiscation of Irish land. However, the king did not, fearing a backlash among his own people.

    Furthermore during the 1660s the export of cattle from Ireland to England was banned. Yet exports of meat and butter boomed. The population of Ireland also rose rapidly in the late 17th century. English merchants also resented competition from the Irish wool trade. Labor costs were lower in Ireland than in England and Irish wool was exported to many other countries. In 1699 the Irish were forbidden to export wool to any country except England. However, the English already charged high import duties on Irish wool and there was little demand for it. So exports of Irish wool were effectively ended.

    In 1685 a Catholic, James II, succeeded Charles II. The Irish hoped James would treat them more kindly but he was deposed in 1688 and fled to France. The Dutchman William of Orange and his English wife Mary were invited to come and rule in James’s place. However, James was not willing to give up his crown so easily. The Lord-Deputy of Ireland, the Earl of Tyrconnell was still loyal to him. So were most of the Irish. In March 1689 James landed at Kinsale and quickly took most of Ireland.

    Derry was one of the few places that stood by William. In December 1688 Catholic troops attempted to enter but 13 apprentice boys shut the gates against them. In April 1689 James laid siege to Derry and his men laid a boom across the River Foyle to prevent supplies reaching it by water. However, in July a ship called the Mountjoy broke the boom and relieved the town.

    William’s army landed in Ireland in August 1689 and on 1 July 1690 the two armies met at the battle of the Boyne near Drogheda. James was decisively defeated. William entered Dublin on 6 July 1690. The next year his army lay siege to Limerick. That town surrendered in October 1691. The Treaty of Limerick ended the war in Ireland.

    Ireland in the 18th Century

    From 1704 all members of the Irish parliament and all holders of office had to be members of the Church of Ireland. (This Act excluded Presbyterians as well as Catholics. As a result, many Presbyterians left Ireland for North America during the 18th century).

    Another Act of 1704 stated that Catholics could not buy land. They could not leave their land to a single heir, and they could not inherit land from Protestants. These measures meant that by 1778 only 5% of the land in Ireland was owned by Catholics. Both Catholics and Dissenters (Protestants who did not belong to the Church of Ireland) had to pay tithes to the Church of Ireland, which caused resentment.

    An Act of 1719 reaffirmed the British parliaments right to legislate for Ireland. The Irish parliament was made definitely subordinate.

    There was a great deal of dire poverty in Ireland during the 18th century, at its worst during the famine of 1741. This disaster killed hundreds of thousands of people. In the 1760s the grievances of Irish peasants boiled over into violence. In Munster the ‘white boys’, so-called because they wore white smocks or shirts to disguise themselves burned buildings and maimed cattle. In the 1770s they were followed in the north by the oak boys and the steel boys.

    From 1778 the laws restricting the rights of Catholics were gradually repealed. From that year Catholics were allowed to lease land for 999 years. From 1782 they were allowed to buy land. In 1782 Poynings Law was repealed after nearly 300 years. The law of 1719, which gave the British parliament the right to legislate for the Irish, was also repealed. In 1792 Catholics were allowed to practice as lawyers and to marry Protestants. From 1793 Catholics were allowed to vote (but were not allowed to sit as MPs).

    In the 1700s a linen industry grew up in Northern Ireland. A Linen Board was formed in Dublin in 1711. However, the linen industry soon became concentrated in the north and another Linen Board opened in Belfast in 1782. From the late 18th century Britain began to industrialize. In Ireland, industrialization was limited to the north. The south of Ireland remained agricultural, exporting huge quantities of meat and butter to Britain. During the 18th century, the population of Ireland rapidly increased from less than 2 million in 1700 to nearly 5 million in 1800. Trade with Britain boomed and the Bank of Ireland opened in 1783.

    However at the end of the 18th century the ideas of the American Revolution and the French Revolution reached Ireland. They influenced a Protestant lawyer, Theobald Wolf Tone who, in 1791, founded the Society of United Irishmen. The society wanted Ireland to become an independent republic with religious toleration for all. In 1794 Britain went to war with France. The United Irishmen were regarded as a dangerous organization and were suppressed. Wolf Tone fled abroad and tried to persuade the French to invade Ireland. In 1796 they sent a fleet but it was prevented from landing by a storm.

    Then in May 1798 risings took place in Wexford, Wicklow, and Mayo. However, the rebellion was defeated at Vinegar Hill near Enniscorthy on 21 June. French soldiers landed at Killala in August but they were forced to surrender in September. The French sent another fleet but their ships were intercepted by the British navy and most of them were captured. Onboard one was Wolf Tone. In November he committed suicide in prison.

    Ireland in the 19th Century

    The British government then decided that radical reform was needed. They decided the answer was to abolish the Irish parliament and unite Ireland with Britain. In 1800 they managed to persuade the Irish parliament to agree to the measure. It came into effect in 1801.

    In 1803 Robert Emmet (1778-1803) and a small group of followers attempted an uprising in Dublin. They killed the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and his nephew but the rising was quickly crushed. Robert Emmet was hung, drawn and quartered.

    In the early 19th century a movement to remove remaining restrictions on Catholics was led by Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847). In 1823 he founded the Catholic Association. In 1829 their wishes were granted. The Catholic Emancipation Act allowed Catholics to become MPs and to hold public office.

    In 1840 O’Connell began a Repeal Association to demand the repeal of the Act of Union. He arranged ‘monster meetings’ of his supporters. In 1843 he called for one at Clontarf. However, the British government banned the meeting. O’Connell canceled the meeting and his movement collapsed.

    In 1845 a large part of the Irish population lived on potatoes and buttermilk. It was an adequate diet but if anything happened to the potato crop there would be a disaster. In 1845 potato blight hit Ireland. Peel, the British Prime Minister, appointed a scientific committee to study the disease. Unfortunately, they did not understand its true nature.

    Faced with famine Peel started relief works to provide work for the starving. (Peel was reluctant to give away free food). The potato blight returned in 1846. By 1847 the situation was so bad that Peel’s successor, Lord John Russell realized direct relief was necessary and soup kitchens were set up. Private charities also struggled to cope with the calamity.

    However, hundreds of thousands of people died each year of starvation and disease such as cholera, typhus, and dysentery. (In their weakened condition people had little resistance to disease). The famine was worst in Southern and Southwest Ireland. The North and the East coast were less affected. Many people fled aboard. In 1851 alone some 250,000 people emigrated from Ireland. (Many of them died of disease while onboard ship). The population of Ireland fell dramatically. From over 8 million in 1841, it fell to about 6 1/2 million in 1851 and it continued to fall. An estimated 1 million people died during the famine. Many others emigrated. The failure of the British government to deal with the famine caused a lasting bitterness in Ireland.

    In 1842 an organisation called Young Ireland was formed to campaign for Irish independence. (They were called ‘Young Ireland’ because they were opposed to O’Connell’s ‘Old Ireland’, which advocated peaceful methods. In 1848 Young Ireland attempted an uprising. Led by William Smith O’Brien 1803-64 a group of Irish peasants fought with 46 members of the Irish Constabulary at Ballingarry in County Tipperary. The skirmish later became known as ‘the battle of the Widow McCormack’s cabbage patch’. Afterward O’Brien was arrested. He was sentenced to death but instead was transported to Tasmania.

    In 1858 another movement called the Fenians was formed. In 1867 they attempted a rising in England, which did not succeed. In 1870 they were banned by the Catholic Church but they continued to operate.

    Also in 1870, a lawyer named Isaac Butt (1813-1879) founded the Irish Home Government Association. The aim was to gain MPs in the British parliament and fight for independence. The Association was a success in that it soon gained a large number of MPs but Butt was regarded as too moderate. He soon lost control of the movement to a Protestant Lawyer called Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891).

    In the late 1870s Irish agriculture entered a recession and many tenant farmers were evicted. Then in 1879, a Fenian called Michael Davitt (1846-1906) founded the Irish National Land League to demand land reform. He asked Parnell to lead the movement. The land war of 1879-1882 followed. Rents were withheld until the last moment. Anyone who took the land of an evicted tenant was boycotted. This word came from a Captain Charles Boycott. He managed an estate in Mayo. Local people refused to work for him but in 1880 50 laborers from Ulster, protected by troops, were sent to harvest his farm. However, life was made so unpleasant for Boycott he was forced to leave.

    During the land war some people became violent. As a result in 1881, the British government passed the Coercion Act, which allowed them to imprison people without trial. The leaders of the land league were arrested. At the same time, Gladstone passed another land act. Tenants could apply to a special land court for a fair rent. Gladstone’s land acts of 1881 and 1882 also gave tenant farmers greater security of tenure.

    The land war ended with an agreement called the Kilmainham Treaty. The government released the leaders and agreed to some more concessions and the violence died down (although the Chief Secretary for Ireland Lord Frederick Cavendish and the Under Secretary were murdered in Phoenix Park, Dublin).

    In 1886 Gladstone introduced his first Home Rule bill but it was rejected by the House of Commons. Gladstone introduced a second Home Rule bill in 1893. This one was passed by the House of Commons but it was rejected by the House of Lords.

    Gladstone introduced a second Home Rule bill in 1893. The House of Commons passed this one but the House of Lords rejected it. Nevertheless, some reforms were made to land ownership. In 1885 money was made available for leaseholders to borrow to buy their land. The loans were repaid at low rates of interest. The loan system was extended in 1891. More land acts were passed in 1903 and 1909. As a result, many thousands of tenant farmers purchased their land. In 1893 the Gaelic League was founded to make Gaelic the main language of Ireland once again.

    Meanwhile Protestant opposition to Home Rule was growing. The Ulster Unionist Party was formed in 1886. Other unionist organizations were also formed at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. However, Sinn Fein (Gaelic ‘we ourselves’) was formed in 1905.

    Ireland in the 20th Century

    In the 1900s Ireland moved towards civil war. The Ulster Volunteer Force was formed in 1913. In the South Nationalists formed the Irish Volunteers. Both sides obtained arms.

    Finally, a Home Rule Bill received the Royal Assent on 15 September 1914. However, it was put on hold for the duration of the First World War. The war split opinion in Ireland. Some people were willing to wait for the end of the war believing that Ireland would then become independent. Some were not. The Irish Volunteers split. About 12,000 men broke away but kept the name Irish Volunteers. The rest (over 100,000 men) called themselves the Irish National Volunteers).

    In the early years of the 20th century the Irish Republican Brotherhood remained a powerful secret organization. Many of them joined the Irish Volunteers. In May 1915 the IRB formed a military council. In January 1916 they planned an uprising and set Easter Day (April 24) as the date. MacNeill, the leader of the Irish Volunteers, was only informed about the planned uprising on 21 April. At first, he agreed to cooperate. He ordered the Volunteers to mobilize on 24 April. However, a German ship called the Aud, which was carrying rifles to Ireland was intercepted by the British Navy and her captain scuttled her. MacNeill changed his mind and canceled the Volunteer Movements. As a result, the uprising was confined almost entirely to Dublin and therefore had no chance of success.

    The insurgents occupied the Post Office in O’Connell Street where their leader Patrick Pearse announced an Irish Republic. However, the British crushed the rebellion, and the insurgents surrendered on 29 April and 15 of them were executed. Public opinion in Ireland was appalled and alienated by the executions.

    In December 1918 a general election was held and Sinn Fein won 73 seats. However, the Sinn Fein MPs refused to sit in the British parliament. Instead, they formed their own parliament called the Dail Eireann, which met in Dublin.

    In January 1919 the Irish Volunteers renamed themselves the IRA the IRA began a guerrilla war when they shot two RIC men. The guerrilla war continued through 1920 and 1921. The British recruited a force of ex-soldiers called the Black and Tans to support the RIC. The Black and Tans were sent to Ireland in March 1920. They undertook reprisals against the IRA by burning buildings. In Dublin on 21 November 1921, they fired upon a crowd watching a football match killing 12 people. Shortly afterward the Black and Tans burned part of Cork city center.

    The war continued into 1921. On 25 May 1921 the IRA burned Dublin Customs House However 5 of them were killed and 80 were captured. Shortly afterward, in July 1921, the war ended.

    Meanwhile in 1920 the British government passed the Government of Ireland Act. By it, there would be 2 parliaments in Ireland, one in the north and one in the south. However, both parliaments would be subordinate to the British parliament. An election was held for the southern Irish parliament in May 1921. Sinn Fein won almost all the seats but their MPs refused to sit in the new parliament. Instead, the Dail continued to meet.

    Then in October 1921 a group of 5 men were appointed by the Dail to negotiate with the British. The British prime minister demanded that Ireland be partitioned and he threatened the delegates with war if they did not sign a treaty. Therefore they did so.

    The Dail approved the treaty on 7 January 1922. However, opinion split over the treaty with some people willing to accept it as a temporary measure, and some people bitterly opposed it. Fighting broke out between the IRA and the National Army. Michael Collins was killed in an ambush on 22 August 1922. The civil war in Ireland lasted until May 1923.

    During the 1920s and 1930s unemployment was high in Ireland. Furthermore, many people lived in overcrowded conditions. As a result, emigration continued. However, things slowly improved. In the years 1925-1929 the government created a hydro-electricity scheme called the Shannon scheme. By 1943 all the towns in Ireland had electricity. So did most of the villages. In the 1930s the government tried to help the unemployed with a road-building scheme. Furthermore, some industry developed in Ireland at that time.

    In 1937 a new constitution made an elected president head of state. Furthermore, the name ‘Irish Free State’ was replaced with either Eire or Ireland. Then in 1948 Ireland was made a republic and the last ties with Britain were cut.

    In the 1930s Ireland fought an ‘economic war’ with Britain. Before 1922 many tenant farmers borrowed money from the British government to buy their farms. As part of the treaty of 1922, the Irish state was to collect this money and pass it on to the British. However in 1932 de Valera stopped paying. In response, the British imposed a tariff of 20% on Irish goods. This caused great harm to the Irish cattle trade. However, de Valera imposed import duties on British goods such as coal. He hoped Ireland would become economically self-sufficient and Irish industries would develop. In reality, the war hurt both sides. In 1935 they made a coal-cattle pact, which made the trade in the two commodities easier. In 1938 a general trade treaty brought the economic war to an end.

    In 1949 an Industrial Development Authority was founded to promote industrialization and from the late 1950s the Irish economy developed rapidly. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Irish economy grew an average of 4% per year. The first Irish motorway opened in 1962.

    However Irish people continued to emigrate abroad during the 1950s and 1960s. Despite emigration the population of Ireland rose in the 1960s and 1970s (for the first time since the mid-19th century.

    In 1973 Ireland joined the EEC (forerunner of the EU). Membership brought great benefit to Ireland both in direct aid and in investment by foreign companies.

    During the 1980s the Irish economy was in the doldrums. Unemployment was only 7% in 1979 but it rose to 17% in 1990. Then in the 1990s, the situation changed completely. The Irish economy boomed and it became known as the Celtic Tiger. By 2000 unemployment in the Irish Republic had fallen to less than 4%.

    Irish society also changed rapidly in the late 20th century and the early 21st century. The Catholic Church lost a great deal of its influence in Ireland and church attendance fell sharply. Today Ireland is an increasingly secular society. Meanwhile Mary Robinson was elected the first woman president in 1990. In 1995 the Irish people voted in a referendum to allow divorce.

    Ireland in the 21st Century

    Trinity College Dublin

    In 2015 the people of Ireland voted in a referendum to allow same sex marriage. In 2018 they voted in a referendum to reform the law on abortion. Also in 2018 the Irish people voted in a referendum to end a ban on blasphemy.

    In the early 21st century the Irish economy grew rapidly. In 1999 Ireland joined the Euro. However, in 2008 Ireland entered a recession. Unemployment in Ireland rose to 13.2% in the autumn of 2010. However, Ireland began to recover in 2011. By March 2017 unemployment fell to 6.4%. Today the Irish economy is growing steadily. In 2020 the population of Ireland was 4.9 million.


    However, the Scottish government has encouraged people to 'stay local' which means not travelling more than approximately five miles.

    Ms Sturgeon has advised that if the distance travelled to meet someone means that you have to use their bathroom, then 'perhaps you shouldn't be doing it'.

    People in Scotland are also allowed to exercise as much as they want outside.

    Scotland's easing will enable people to visit garden centres and play some sports where social distancing can easily be maintained, such as golf and tennis.

    There is less clarity north of the border on when non-essential shops could reopen with the Scottish government yet to set a date for the return of the High Street.

    Scotland's education plan is also much more cautious than England's with schools not expected to start reopening until August 11.

    In Scotland, there is no set timeline for when more measures might be lifted.

    First Minister Mark Drakeford set out his plans for lockdown loosening this morning.

    Outdoor gatherings will be permitted from Monday but only with people from two different households.

    However, the number of people who can meet up outdoors in a socially distanced way is unlimited.

    Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford today set out his own plans for easing lockdown in Wales. Travel remains limited to five miles from home

    The Welsh plan also allows people to use gardens for their gatherings although like in Scotland people are not allowed to go into other people's homes.

    In Wales there is a broad five mile limit on travel away from home although the Welsh government has stressed travel should remain 'local' and not generally further than five miles, seemingly giving some room for interpretation.

    People in Wales are also allowed to exercise as much as they want outside but no date has yet been set for the return of non-essential shops.

    However, Mr Drakeford said today that non-essential retail businesses that can comply with social distancing rules should start to prepare to reopen over the next three weeks.

    Mr Drakeford said a decision on whether they will reopen will be taken at the next review of lockdown measures on June 18 and will depend on scientific and medical evidence.

    No date has yet been set for the reopening of schools.

    Northern Ireland was the first of the four Home Nations to move on loosening rules relating to socialising.

    Groups of between four and six people are allowed to meet outdoors.

    They can all be from different households and social distancing at two metres must be stuck to.

    Gardens are allowed to be used for those gatherings but access to another person's house is not permitted.

    Arlene Foster has already loosened measures to allow groups of up to six people to meet outside in Northern Ireland

    People can travel as far as they want from their home - just like in England - with no restrictions on the amount of outdoor exercise allowed.

    Some non-essential shops are expected to begin reopening from June 15.

    Pending the country's rate of transmission remaining below one, a host of further restrictions are set to be eased in Northern Ireland on June 8.

    That could include the reopening of outdoor sports facilities, car showrooms and some non-essential retail stores.

    Outdoor weddings with a maximum of 10 people are also set to be allowed and hotels will be able to start taking forward bookings at their own risk.

    However, there is a longer wait for schools with pupils not expected to return to the classroom until the new academic year begins in September.

    Travelling to England from a red list country, before travelling on to Scotland

    If you fly from abroad to an airport in England, you must quarantine in a hotel in England if you have travelled through a red list country during the 10 days before you arrive in England.

    To get help booking hotels in England, use the quarantine hotel booking service .

    If you are travelling on to Scotland after isolating in a hotel for 10 days in England, you will not need to isolate for a second time in Scotland.

    Extension of education, 1914-39

    By 1914 Britain had a basic educational system, though for most schoolchildren it did not take them beyond the elementary age limit of 12.

    World War One

    During the course of the First World War the system was closely investigated by H.A.L Fisher, the president of the board of education. Fisher travelled around the country inspecting schools in villages, towns and cities. He became aware of a critical problem of under-financing.

    Fisher's far-sighted plans for change and improvement were embodied in the wide-ranging Education Act of 1918 which aimed to meet the growing demand for improvements in the availability of education, and improved standards. He favoured the principle that education was vital not only to the individual, but also to society.

    After the war

    The 1918 Act raised the school leaving age from 12 to 14 and made provision for a system of part-time 'continuation day' classes for those in work aged 14-18. It abolished all fees in state elementary schools and widened the provision of medical inspection, nursery schools, and special needs education.

    The greater part of the financial burden of education - some 60 per cent - was transferred from the local authorities to central government. This was partly to foster a greater sense of professionalism among teachers by allowing them improved salaries and pensions.

    However, many of these innovative changes could only be implemented in part, or not at all, due to cuts in public expenditure forced by the economic depression of the 1920s.

    A series of reports commissioned by the board of education considered how secondary education should be shaped for the future. But a lack of resources prevented any significant change until after the Second World War.

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    Callaghan, James. A House Divided: The Dilemma of Northern Ireland, 1973.

    Coogan, Tim Pat. The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal 1966–1996 and the Search for Peace, 1997.

    Darby, John, ed. Northern Ireland: The Background to the Conflict, 1983.

    Finnegan, Richard B. Ireland: The Challenge of Conflict and Change, 1983.

    Harkness, David. Ireland in the Twentieth Century: Divided Island, 1996.

    Hennessey, Thomas. A History of Northern Ireland 1920–1996, 1997.

    Hughes, Michael. Ireland Divided: The Roots of the Modern Irish Problem, 1994.

    Mullan, Don. Bloody Sunday: Massacre in Northern Ireland, 1997.

    Murphy, John A. Ireland in the Twentieth Century, 1975.

    Murray, John, Sean Sheehan, and Tony Wheeler. Ireland: A Travel Survival Kit, 1994.

    Robertson, Ian. Blue Guide: Ireland, 1992.

    Ruane, Joseph, and Jennifer Todd. The Dynamics of Conflict in Northern Ireland: Power, Conflict and Emancipation, 1996.

    See, Katherine O'Sullivan. First World Nationalisms: Class and Ethnic Politics in Northern Ireland and Quebec, 1986.

    Shivers, Lynne, and David Bowman. More Than the Troubles: A Common Sense View of the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1984.

    Taylor, Peter. Loyalists: War and Peace in Northern Ireland, 1999.

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