Hope everyone is well after the Easter break and that you are all ready for the final phase of the Blue Star Programme, with Europe Day just one month away and the Final Reports due soon after!
From the many Action Plans we have received, the brilliant work going on around the country has been great to see. There is still time to send us in an Action Plan if you haven’t already, but please do it soon if you can! If you are looking for inspiration, have a look at our Sample Action Plan. Tá an Plean Gníomhaíochta ar fáil as Gaeilge freisin. Tá sé ar líne anseo nó i ndoiciméad Microsoft Word anseo.
So here is your monthly newsletter keeping you up-to-date in the world of the Blue Star Programme!
The next and final phase of the Blue Star Programme is the Final Reports. The submission of the Final Report is required for you to officially complete the Programme and attain your Certificates of Achievement in June. In it, we 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, and Europe Day). The Report is laid out similarly to your Action Plan with an extra section for feedback and suggestions as to how the Programme could be improved. We also ask you to include any photos that you may have of your pupils taking part in the Blue Star Programme, in particular from your Europe Day celebrations.
All Blue Star Programme Final Reports can be returned to us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively to email@example.com if the file size of your Final Report is too large to send to our standard email address. If you would like to post your Final Report to us, you can do so to: European Movement Ireland, 8 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2.
The deadline for submission of your Final Report is Friday, 18 May but we are happy to receive them before this date, just as long as you have already held your Europe Day celebrations or have planned it in. The document you will need can be found on the Blue Star Programme Resources Page, here.
Europe Day on Wednesday, 9 May is the culmination of the Blue Star Programme and is always a wonderful day! In the past, we’ve seen food fairs, parades in local communities, school Eurovision competitions, art exhibitions inspired by famous European artists, flag days, parent 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 pupils, their families and 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 within 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 promotion of your events.
VIP visits are a longstanding tradition of the Blue Star Programme where MEPs, Ambassadors, TDs, Councillors, Journalists, Professors (and much more!) visit schools and speak to the pupils about their work in relation to Europe.
VIP visits are a great opportunity to showcase the pupils’ work as part of the Blue Star Programme and for pupils to learn about the EU in a practical, personable way. Quite a few visits have already occurred this year, which is great to see!
As we’ve said, why not write to your local MEP or invite one of the EU Ambassadors to visit your school? MEPs and Ambassadors love getting involved in the Blue Star Programme at any time of the school year, but especially with Europe Day coming up! When you’ve a visit organised, we’d be grateful if you could fill out our School Visit Form and we’d love to see photos of the day to share them online.
Here’s a list of all the Irish MEPs and their constituencies, with links to their contact details. If there is an Ambassador you are interested in inviting to your school – perhaps because you are doing a project on their EU country as part of the Geography element of the Programme – the list of all the Embassies in Ireland and their contact details are here.
This year marks a special occasion for some Blue Star Programme schools. Eight schools around the country are now completing their fifth year of the Programme and to celebrate such a fantastic achievement, each of them will be presented with a 5-Year Achievement Award!
Since the inception of the Blue Star Programme back in 2011, we have been very impressed by the work so many pupils and teachers up and down the country have put in. We are extremely grateful to all those who take part in the Programme and make it such an important part of their daily classroom life, particularly year-on-year.
The eight schools to be receiving this award this year are:
- Scoil Mhuire, Tralee, Co. Kerry
- Crecora NS, Co. Limerick
- Knockmahon NS, Co. Waterford
- Cloneen NS, Co. Tipperary
- St John the Baptist NS, Co. Tipperary
- Drumraney NS, Co. Westmeath
- Scoil Iosaif Naofa, Oranmore, Co. Galway
- Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil, Cork.
Congratulations to all the teachers and pupils involved, and thank you for your 5 years of participation in the Blue Star Programme.
Each week we look to highlight some of the fantastic work being done by all your pupils around the country through our One-A-Week feature. The photos of projects being sent in to us are all varied and imaginative, it truly is great to see!
We would encourage you to keep an eye on the Blue Star Programme website and the European Movement Ireland Twitter account at @emireland throughout the year for info and updates. We love seeing your work so please Facebook, Tweet or email us with photos, videos and feedback.
Here’s some of the One-A-Week choices from March:
So while you’re in the middle of doing your Programme, why not send us in examples of your work as you go along, and we’ll do our best to promote your fantastic efforts. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – it can be anything you like, whether its photographs, a presentation, a video, we’re happy to see them all!
Just to reiterate also, you can fill out the Blue Star Programme Media Consent Form here to send back to us if you so wish. Over the course of the year, we like to showcase the work being done by Blue Star Programme pupils and teachers on our website, newsletter and on social media, and this form would allow us to include your school in this.
Each year of the Blue Star Programme, we identify a different civic society element which can act as an overarching theme for the work of the pupils. This has been highlighted by some teachers as the reason they repeat the Programme year-on-year. For 2017-2018, we are focusing on the Future of Europe.
It is not compulsory to include the theme but for those of you interested, in March 2017, the leaders of the European Union came together to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, reflecting on past achievements and debating what a shared future could and should look like. A series of papers were published to further discussion on the issues that will most affect our future.
It is for all of us as European citizens to have a say in this discussion. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, led by Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, has launched a National Citizens’ Dialogue on this important issue. We would love to see ‘My Future of Europe’ integrated into this year of the Blue Star Programme and the wider national discussion. Pupils could get creative and do a drawing, write a story, make a model, etc. on what they think Ireland and Europe will look like in 2025. We could publish this work via social media, the newsletter, and through our Kids’ Corner section of the website. We’d love for you to get involved if you can!
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!
With best wishes,
The Blue Star Programme Team
– 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, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Education and Skills, the European Commission Representation in Ireland and the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland.