Educate Together tonight formally opened its annual Ethical Education conference with an evening of thought-provoking and challenging discussion. On the theme of Raising Student Voices, the conference brings together educators, students and academics, all leaders in the innovative and ground-breaking curricula that encompass Ethical Education.
Primary and second-level students took centre stage this afternoon, in Ireland’s first ever StudentMeet. Here student groups gave presentations to an audience of teachers and their peers on initiatives that they have introduced into their Educate Together schools.
Minister Bruton’s Opening Address
Later Educate Together was delighted to welcome Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, to formally launch the conference. The Minister said:
“I am delighted to launch Educate Together’s conference this evening. Educate Together is at the forefront of educational innovation and the movement combines excellent teaching standards with values of social justice and human rights.
I was fascinated to hear that students participated in a StudentMeet at the conference this afternoon – sharing ideas and initiatives that they have led in their schools. It is heartening to see students taking such an active role in their schools and to see the dedication to Raising Student Voices in the Educate Together network. These students and you as their teachers are setting a great example for the new schools that will be established to meet the Government’s commitment to ensuring there will be 400 multi-denominational schools nationwide by 2030.”
Keynote Address – Ombudsman for Children
The Minister’s speech was followed by a Keynote Address by Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon who asked ‘why are we so scared of hearing student voices?’ Dr Muldoon remarked:
“It is widely acknowledged that children have a right to be heard, but for such a right to be meaningful, it must be applied effectively. The conference this evening is an opportunity for us to discuss why we should not be afraid of this obligation. This is all part of hearing the students' voice in a positive way; in a way that improves the service being provided and the education experience for young people.”
Said Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate Together:
“This is a conference of teachers who are passionate about and interested in Ethical Education. Passionate about making a difference, passionate about teaching and learning in a dynamic and innovative environment. Ethical Education is all about the primacy of creative and critical thinking, of students taking responsibility, becoming self-aware and being equipped with the skill to become active, respectful and responsible citizens in a rapidly changing world.
The Educate Together movement is utterly committed to a learning environment in which pupils – and indeed teachers – are guaranteed equality of access and esteem irrespective of their social, cultural or religious backgrounds. We are passionate about striving for excellence in an education that is suited to the lives of children and young people in our modern, diverse world.”
Educate Together’s pioneering Ethical Education curricula at primary and post-primary level focus on the ethical, moral and social development of students in Educate Together schools. Through Ethical Education, Educate Together schools aim to develop learners’ knowledge, skills, and behaviours in equality and justice, human rights, and sustainability so that they develop personally, think critically, and are empowered to make a difference in an increasingly globalized society.
Continuing today, the conference will discuss strategies that will ensure that students will be facilitated in speaking up and speaking out in school and in the wider world.
Post Conference update:
Some great images from the weekend’s Ethical Education Conference are now online here.
The conference was a wonderful success and we'd like to thank everyone who attended! We would also like to thank our sponsors – Carambola Kidz – Healthy School Lunches; Compupac I.T. Solutions Ltd; Edco – The Educational Company of Ireland; Irish Aid; Folens; The Heritage Council and Media Scene Technology.
We're delighted to announce the Prize Draw winner of the iPad Air as being Rosemarie Stynes, Principals of Ranelagh MDS! With thanks to the generous support of Eversheds, who kindly donated the prize.
Links to all the conference presentations will be available soon. See you all at next year’s conference!