Blue Star Programme Update, October Mid-Term 2017
We are ready to go for Year 7 of the Blue Star Programme! We’re delighted to have you all on board and we’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead!
Thank You For Registration!
This has been a record breaking year in terms of the number of schools participating in the Blue Star Programme and we are thrilled to have every county in the country represented once again.
Special thanks to Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD – who is the political patron of the Blue Star Programme – for all her efforts in reaching out to schools and showing her passion and engagement for the Programme.
Here’s the Blue Star Programme’s Media Consent Form, which you can fill out here, and 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.
Speaking of social media, we always love to engage with schools on Twitter so feel free to follow @emireland and we’ll happily follow you back! This is where we will be posting Blue Star Programme social media content.
So, where to start? Participating Blue Star Programme schools are required to submit a short Action Plan 2017-2018 to give European Movement Ireland, as National Coordinator, an idea of the projects and activities they will be undertaking. Most importantly, we have gotten feedback that the Action Plan can be helpful for teachers in planning their lessons/activities for the year ahead.
The Blue Star Programme aims to introduce participants (pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community) to the EU, what it means and how it works. The Programme also aims to foster a strong sense of awareness of the EU among its participants that reaches far beyond the school walls and out into the wider community.
In order to successfully complete the Blue Star Programme, participating schools must complete all four elements of the Programme (historical, geographical, cultural and creative, and institutional) and hold an event to mark Europe Day (9 May). For more information on what is involved in each of these elements, see here.
We also have a Sample Action Plan accessible, to give you an idea as to what previous schools have done.
We will be getting all the schools’ resource packs together over the next couple of weeks and will be looking to send them out so they are with you by the week beginning Monday, 13 November. The pack will include material for both pupils and teachers, with plenty covered in Irish as well. There will be DVDs on Ireland and the EU, workbooks, wallcharts, travelling in Europe guides and everyone’s favourite European Union Passport books!
Many thanks as always to the European Commission Representation in Ireland for providing the resources that each school receives as part of the Blue Star Programme.
VIP visits are a long standing 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 relevant field in regards 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.
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 and seeing how pupils around the country are learning about the work of the EU, so don’t hesitate to drop them a line!
For 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. These additional civic society elements have been highlighted by some teachers as the reason they repeat the Programme year-on-year. For 2017-2018, we will be focusing on the Future of Europe.
Please note that it is not compulsory to include the theme but for those of you interested, in March, 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.
We would love to see ‘My Future of Europe’ integrated into this year of the Blue Star Programme – asking pupils to 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. Again to reiterate, this is not compulsory but additional, but we would love for you to get involved if you can!
The annual Teaching Council Feilte Conference was held on the in the RDS on Saturday, 7 October. There were over 1,000 teachers in attendance, the majority being primary school teachers. The theme for the event was ‘Leading Learning for All’, and the Blue Star Programme stand was one of 50 teacher-led showcases and workshops spanning projects from across the education sector, demonstrating the innovation happening in teaching and learning in schools across the country.
We were delighted that Peter Kane, a Blue Star Programme Champion Teacher from Co. Galway, was able to showcase the Blue Star Programme at his stand for Féilte 2017.Here is what Peter had to say about his day at the RDS, chatting about the Blue Star Programme to lots of fellow teachers.