Equality in education from the local to the global
By Susana Nunez, Second-level Education Officer
On Friday 6th May we were delighted to hold our first Ethical Education/Global Citizenship Student Event since 2019. Funded by WorldWise Global Schools and hosted by Clogher Road Community College, we welcomed 167 1st and 2nd year students and 30 teachers from 18 Educate Together second-level schools.
The day started early for the team of students and teachers from the hosting school who did an incredible job supporting the national office team to ensure everything ran smoothly. As the morning went on and the rain decided to make its way towards Crumlin, schools started arriving with their beautiful displays for the Global Citizenship Fair which took place in the hall. First to arrive were Wicklow ETSS with information about their very successful Model United Nations. They were closely followed by Galway ETSS who had travelled a long way to share the day with their peers. Sandymount Park ETSS, Ballymakenny College and Hansfield ETSS also arrived very early to set up their exhibitions and prepare for the workshops they would be leading. Very soon, the hall held 167 students from 18 schools and was buzzing with noise, activity, plenty of smiles and chatter.
Lesley Byrne, Principal of Clogher Road Community College and head host welcomed everyone to the school and set a friendly and welcoming tone for the day. We then heard from Terry, a French teacher in Clogher Road, who challenged us to reflect on the true meaning of equality in education and helped establish those very important connections between the personal, the local and the global. Students then headed off to their respective workshops. It was a busy schedule with student-designed and student-led workshops on topics such celebrating diversity, Earth Day and Stand-up awareness week: values workshop. There was also an equality-themed scavenger hunt organised by Anna O’Flanagan, an information stand and equality in education workshop by ISSU, and input from WWGS for both teachers and students. The hall was busy throughout the day with people visiting the stands and participating in a student voice exercise on our ‘Opinion Wall’ area. Schools also nominated students to complete a woodwork project led by the woodwork department in Clogher Road CC. These students worked on a beautiful memento to bring back to their schools centering on the Educate Together logo.
The day was a fantastic opportunity to finally meet people in person, to witness students interacting with their peers from other schools from across the network and to get inspiration and motivation by learning from the powerful projects that so many of our schools are engaging in.
It was wonderful to see so many students leading and sharing learning while also having a great time. The highlight of the day was to hear students and teachers ask “when is the next one?” as they were leaving.
Our student media team, made up of students Rachel and Georgia from Clogher Road, captured some of those many special moments and we have put together a video to give you a sense of what made the student event such a special day.
I can’t wait for next year’s Student Event which promises to be bigger and better! We will be looking for students to volunteer to be part of our advisory team so keep an eye on the next issue of this newsletter for further details.