As part of the School’s involvement in EuroSchoolNet pupils in year eight have been involved in a Comenius 1 Project called ‘Futures Education’.
The schools participating in this project are:
Students from Newport Free Grammar School present project on rights and responsibilities at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Students from Newport joined other students from our partner schools in Spain, The Basque Country and The Netherlands at the European Parliament in Brussels to present their findings from the ‘Futures Project’ that the schools have been working on over the last three years.
“This was a really exciting opportunity for all of the students and they were able to discuss and share ideas as well as present their findings to teachers, parents and members of the European Parliament. It showed that student rights and responsibilities are an important issue across Europe and that students from different countries share the same concerns and have the same priorities” said Mike Hodgkiss, project coordinator.
In each school students have been voting on their five most important rights and five most important responsibilities. There were some differences between age groups but a lot of similarity between the schools.
“I really enjoyed meeting the other students involved in the project and being able to see inside the Parliament building where important decisions for Europe are made. Although we were a bit nervous, we really enjoyed giving our PowerPoint presentations to everyone ”.
The presentations were part of the final outcome to the project that has involved students looking at their school ‘past, present and future’ and thinking about what their own futures might be like. The Charter of Rights and Responsibilities will be placed on each school’s website, on the website of Euro School Net 2000 (an organisation of schools and colleges across Europe co-founded by Newport Free Grammar School) and is now available for other MEPs to read at the European Parliament.
Below is the European Charter of Rights and Responsibilities written and compiled by students from the four countries:
We have the right:
1. to work and learn in a clean and a safe environment.
2. to be free to say what we want to say but show respect for others and their views.
3. to be respected by others regardless of our political, religious, moral or sexual beliefs.
4. not to be bullied or degraded by others in our community.
5. to have the same opportunities regardless of any physical, mental or social handicap/disability.
We have a responsibility/duty:
1. to keep our learning environment clean and safe.
2. to respect others in our community and their views and beliefs.
3. to pay attention at school and in class and not to disrupt the learning of others.
4. to respect the school’s and others’ property.
5. to follow the school rules and code of conduct.
The next steps in the Project are:
1. Each school to enable students through discussion and voting to arrive at Five Rights and Five Responsibilities. Each school to e-mail this list to partner schools.
2. Each school would get students to look at the differences and similarities between schools. Students would identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’ points in each school and make suggestions about the changes they would make. From this students (and teachers) would gain a greater awareness of the structures and processes in each school as well as something of the cultural background.
3. Schools will begin to explore ways for students to exchange views/opinions/facts and to make suggestions on how students might decide/vote on a Common set of European Rights and Responsibilities.
Recently students from the School, joined students from partner schools in the Netherlands, Spain and the Basque Country in participating in a ‘live’ debate on a website developed by an organisation called TIME. This is an annual global telecommunications project for secondary schools initiated for and developed in cooperation with UNESCO. TIME seeks effective and innovative ways to enable young people from many different cultures and countries to communicate and co-operate with each other on current world issues.
The event was timed so that students from all four countries could take part in exchanging views on student rights and student responsibilities. It was part of a citizenship project called FUTURES which, with funding from the British Council, has involved students from Newport Free Grammar School, Eijkhagen College in the Netherlands, Santa Maria La Real in Spain and Urola Ikastola in the Basque Country working together on a European Charter for Student Rights and Responsibilities. Newport students from year 9 were joined at school for the ‘live’ debate by three students from Santa Maria La Real who were in the UK on a school language exchange visit.
‘It was fantastic to meet up with some of the students we have been working with, from Spain, but also to be able to ‘chat’ with students from our other partner schools’ said one of the year 9 students.
‘Students really enjoyed the experience and the topics of discussion ranged from securing equal rights for students with disabilities to whether students should wear uniform. We shall continue to use the website as a means of communication and discussion and hope that it might lead to securing funding for a visit to the European Parliament in Brussels and providing the students from all four schools with the opportunity to put their views to Euro MPs.’ said Deputy Headteacher, Mike Hodgkiss.
Students at Newport will now be voting on the rights and responsibilities that the FUTURES group have decided upon. Then the Student Council will compile the five most important rights and responsibilities. ‘We want to see if our fellow students in other countries come up with the same or different rights and responsibilities’ say students from the FUTURES group.