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Blue Star Programme Update, April 2017

With just over a month to go until Europe Day on Tuesday, 9 May things are really picking up in the Blue Star Programme! We love hearing from schools about how you’re planning to mark this important day and we hope to visit as many schools as physically possible!

Blue Star Programme National Launch

On 21 March, an Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD welcomed pupils from St. Vincent’s Girls National School, Dublin, in Government Buildings to mark the national launch of the Blue Star Programme. It was a wonderful day for the pupils who were an absolute credit to their school for how great they were throughout the day!

 Minister of State for European Affairs, Data Protection and EU Digital Single Market, Dara Murphy TD also warmly greeted the pupils and their teachers, along with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan TD. We also had Head of European Commission Representation in Ireland Gerry Kiely and Head of European Parliament Information Office in Ireland James Temple-Smithson at the event to celebrate the occasion.

Also in attendance was a representative of the six original Treaty of Rome signatory countries, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Luxembourg to honour its 60th anniversary which was the civic society element of the Programme this year. If you and your school have done work specifically based on the Treaty of Rome, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

To see photographs of the Blue Star Programme National Launch at Government Buildings with St. Vincent’s GNS, Dublin, check out our media gallery, here. The Blue Star Programme website will continue to update you on the event and much more, in the not too distant future. So stay tuned!

 

Visits

Ambassadors and MEPs remain extremely busy visiting schools up and down the country in recent weeks. School visits are a great opportunity to showcase pupils’ work as part of the Blue Star Programme and for pupils to learn about Europe in a practical, hands-on way. If you need any advice or support on how best to do this, get in touch with us at bluestar@europeanmovement.ie.

Here’s some of the many visits we have had during the month of March!

We would like to thank all the MEPs, Ambassadors and TDs who have visited Blue Star schools, and of course the schools and teachers themselves for all their work on the Programme and in organising the visits. We look forward to visiting plenty more schools between now and the summer holidays and to hearing about many more visits around the country. So please, do send us in as many photos as you have, we’d love to see and share them!

 

Europe Day

Europe Day on Tuesday, 9 May is the culmination of the Blue Star Programme every year and is always a great day! In the past we’ve seen plenty of wonderful events, including food fairs, parades in local communities, school Eurovision competitions, art exhibitions inspired by famous European artists, flag days, parents’ days and lots in between.

Europe Day is an excellent opportunity to showcase your school’s work and activities as part of the Blue Star Programme – to other pupils, to their families and to the wider community. Why not write to your local MEP or invite one of the EU Ambassadors to visit your school as part of your Europe Day celebrations? MEPs and Ambassadors love getting involved in the Blue Star Programme and seeing how pupils around the country are learning about the work of the EU, so don’t hesitate to reach out. 

We also ask pupils and teachers to mark Europe Day with a ‘Handshake for Europe’ which sees pupils and teachers shake hands with each other to recognise the solidarity that exists among European citizens and to celebrate the diversity that comes with being part of the EU.

Please do get in touch with us and let us know what you are planning for Europe Day! It is a fantastic opportunity to display your hard work and we will be more than happy to help you with the organisation and promotion of your events.

 

Blue Star Programme Final Reports

The next and final phase of the Blue Star Programme is the Final Reports. The conclusion of this Report is required for you to officially complete the Programme and attain your certs in June. In it, the Report will ask you to give an overview of what you and your pupils did for the Programme under each of the five headings (Historical, Geographical, Cultural & Creative, Institutional, Europe Day). The Report is laid out similarly to your Action Plan with an extra section which asks you for your feedback on the Programme and for suggestions as to how we could improve the Programme next term. We also ask you to include any photos that you may have of your pupils taking part in the Blue Star Programme and in particular any images you may have from your Europe Day celebrations.

All Blue Star Programme Reports are to be returned to us via email to bluestar@europeanmovement.ie. The deadline for submission of your Report is Friday, 19 May but we are happy to receive these reports before this date, just as long as you have already held your Europe Day celebrations. Here is the link to the document you will need: http://www.bluestarprogramme.ie/resources/.

 

Kids’ Corner and One A Week

Many thanks to everyone who has been in touch about how much they’ve enjoyed and utilised our newly established Kids’ Corner and in particular, our One A Week feature. This is a new initiative designed to increase engagement and interaction with the pupils through the website.  Kids’ Corner contains specially designed quizzes to test the pupils’ knowledge in a fun way, links to games, information on the Treaty of Rome and a link to the ‘Mystery of the Golden Stars’ workbook, as well as a ‘My European Story’ section designed for pupils who want to write about Europe and have their work published. You can access the page through our website (here’s the direct link: http://www.bluestarprogramme.ie/kids-corner/).

For One A Week, we’ve been blown away by the creativity of all the schools who have sent in images and videos of their on-going work. It’s been great to see and we’re just delighted to constantly get the opportunity to publicise the great work you are all putting in. See below for March’s One-A-Week nominations, and please keep emailing us and tweeting us your pics!

(Link to Gaelscoil Chionn tSaile’s #OneAWeek video https://twitter.com/emireland/status/842413693149282305)

 

A Final Word

If you would like any more information on the topics above or any other aspect of the Blue Star Programme, feel free to get in contact with us and we’ll be more than happy to advise you. Until then, best of luck with all your work and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

 – The Blue Star Team 

 

The Blue Star Programme is a venture of the Communicating Europe Initiative, supported by the Office of the Minister of State for European Affairs, Data Protection and the EU Digital Single Market in the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Education and Skills, the European Commission Representation in Ireland and the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland.

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