Active citizenship in action
On Monday 27 January 2020, students of ETSS Wicklow hosted a Question and Answer session with seven of their local General Election candidates. Deputy Principal Donal Evoy describes how the principle of ‘active citizenship’ motivated the event.
“A few weeks after opening its doors for the first time in late August 2019, Educate Together Secondary School Wicklow held an evening for parents and students where staff facilitated an exploration of what the school’s vision would be for the future.
There was a consensus that active citizenship should be a core value of the school’s ethos, a value that was subsequently incorporated into the school’s mission statement. Educate Together Secondary School Wicklow wants to make active citizenship a real–life experience for students and it’s in this context that Monday’s Question and Answer General Election event involving seven of Wicklow’s election candidates took place in the school. The event was about encouraging our students to be active citizens experiencing Irish democracy at first hand and understanding the potential of their actions.
The event could not have happened without the participation of the Student Council. The Student Council is integral to school life in ETSS Wicklow with representatives attending Board of Management meetings to represent students’ views on school policy changes and to lobby management in relation to proposals on behalf of the student body. The success of this event was a huge achievement for a council that’s made up exclusively of First Years!
The entire student body got fully behind the event, taking a lead role in asking questions of the general election candidates. Climate change, education and homelessness were just some of the topics that students asked questions about. As active citizens, they know that decisions made by the next government could have a potentially profound impact on their lives and this country’s future, and they want to be fully engaged with the democratic process over the next couple of weeks in the run up to the General Election.
Thanks to John Brady (Sinn Fein); Pat Casey (Fianna Fail); Paul O’Brien (Labour); John Kavanagh (Independent); Joe Behan (Independent); Valerie Cox (Independent); John Snell (Independent) for attending the event and facing a grilling from our voters of the future!”
In Educate Together’s co-educational schools, students are encouraged to focus on questions of equality, justice, sustainability and active citizenship
Real stories from the Educate Together community
Educate Together’s schools mean so much to the lives of the children and young people who attend them, and to the communities that they are a part of. You can read, watch and listen to real stories from the students, staff and families involved in the Educate Together school movement on this page and at the links above. Do you have an experience from an Educate Together school which you would like to share? Share your story: firstname.lastname@example.org