St. Joseph's N.S. Ballymitty

European Projects

November 2020

Despite Covid 19 regulations we are still planning our European Projects for the year ahead. We started our Blue Star Programme in November. This involves 4 elements of project work with the pupils in the following areas: History, Geography, Culture and Creativity and Institutions of the EU. Each pupil will get a country to work on in these 4 areas and these projects will be presented to the school on Europe Day when they will also bring in a dish from their chosen country.

Ms. McCarthy has also been busy linking in with schools in Spain, Italy and Sweden to establish for when teachers can visit schools in those countries.

An Choill Mhór Autism Class and Ms. Kenny are developing links with a teacher and 6 of his pupils in a very remote and rural school in Barnehage, Norway! The pupils have done zoom calls with their new Norwegian friends and have started a dance project with them.

October 2020

Our school has applied to take part in the Blue Star Programme. This is an incredible educational initiative for primary school pupils which includes a range of classroom projects and activities. It also aims to inspire an understanding of the EU and how it affects the lives of Irish citizens. Ms. McCarthy will do this project every Tuesday with Ms. Foley's 5th/6th class.

September 2020

Our European Development Team has been formed in our school. This team cannot meet as a whole group due to Covid 19 restrictions but Ms. McCarthy will be working with the 5th/6th class members to discuss how we can bring Europe into our classroom.

April 2020

Yayyyyy! Our school applied for funding through the EU in February. This was called a Key Action 101 Project - KA101! And our project funding has been sanctioned! This will allow 3 or 4 of our staff to spend a week in a European school in France, Sweden or Italy to observe their special education practices and how they use technology to enhance teaching and learning! We are so excited about this project. Due to Covid 19 this 2 year project will commence on Dec. 31st 2020 which gives us lots of time to plan.

2020/2021 will be an exciting year for our school European Development Team who will work on these special education and technology projects together!

March 2020

We had our first Erasmus Week where we welcomed two French teachers to our school. We prepared an Erasmus corner, we all learned some French phrases in our classrooms and our European Development Team welcomed the teachers into the school. We even had croissants! The French teachers visited our classrooms and enjoyed getting to know about the Irish educational system. They visited Playschool across the road. Some of our teachers brought them on a cultural trip to Hook Lighthouse. On the second last day of their visit a meeting was held with them and our European Development Team. One of our pupils chaired the meeting and we got to learn about French schools too. We said Au Revoir to our French friends and then Covid 19 hit our schools!

Sept. 2019 - February 2020

Our school is beginning the process of featuring at a European or international level. The staff have enjoyed the development of the school in the past few years where we have: opened 2 Special Classes for pupils with Autism, been sanctioned extra teaching posts and Special Needs Assistants, Administrative status sanctioned for the Principal and the granting of €1 million to build an Autistic Unit. This has improved the profile of the school in many ways and now allows the staff to consider developing it on an international context even more.

To help us step up onto the European ladder there are supports available in Ireland. The main one is Léargas. Léargas is the national agency that manages international and national exchange programmes in education, youth and community work, and vocational education and training. These exchanges connect people in different communities and countries and bring an international dimension to the work of organisations across Ireland. Léargas is a not-for-profit organisation wholly owned by the Department of Education and Skills. Their Board is appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills. Léargas was established in 1986 to support international exchange and collaboration in the youth sector, mainly through European Commission-funded education and training programmes.

The supports that we will avail of through Léargas are in the area of School Education – Erasmus+ and eTwinning.

Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. It provides funding and support for organisations to operate projects that encourage European exchange, co-operation and learning. Erasmus+ is funded by the European Union through the contributions of member states, including Ireland. Funding of almost €170 million has been allocated to Ireland for the duration of the programme.

e-Twinning is the online platform where schools and educators connect with each other, develop links, build projects and make plans to visit schools.

It was always part of the Principal’s plan in Ballymitty NS to bring a European and International focus to the school. How are we doing this?

  • The Principal has attended two seminars on e-Twinning – one in Dublin, one in Italy. These are totally funded by Léargas and part of professional development and training. On her return from both of these seminars she encouraged other staff members to get involved.
  • Our 6th class teacher is currently involved in an e-Twinning project which was started by the Principal on a seminar in September 2019 on rural and remote schools. This highlighted the importance for our rural school to reach beyond the limits of our own school community into the European dimension.
  • All our teachers now have profiles on the e-Twinning platform where they will develop links with school and projects. One other staff member has attended an e-Twinning seminar called TIE (Tackling Inclusion through e-Twinning).
  • Each year the European Commission invite applications from schools to apply for funding to allow teachers to travel to do courses in Europe or to visit European schools so as to build skills and competences and ultimately to enhance teaching and learning for our pupils. One of these projects is a KA101 (Key Action 101) and we have filled out the rather lengthy form and we hope to hear if we are successful by April. This will allow us to send teachers to schools in Italy, France and Sweden. The theme for this application is Digital Learning for All – and our aim is to allow teachers to observe best practice in European schools where they use Digital Technology to enhance teaching and learning with a particular focus on pupils with special educational needs.
  • We are also applying in March for funding to allow pupils to travel in small groups with staff members to other European schools. The application for this is called a KA229 (Key Action 229) and this Key Action supports exchanges of pupils and staff to help the participating schools develop as organisations and increase their ability to work in international projects.
  • This year in March 2020 we are setting up our first Erasmus School Week where we will tell all our school community about the importance of developing links with Europe.
  • We welcome our first Job Shadowing group of teachers as part of Erasmus School Week from March 2nd – 6th this year. These teachers are coming from France to see how we currently run our educational system. We are excited by this and are looking forward to setting up our Erasmus Corner for their visit.
  • We also welcome a Norwegian group of musicians who the Principal was introduced to through an e-Twinning contact. Some of these musicians were teachers and are coming to our school to teach our pupils some Norwegian songs and music and they are also putting on a musical concert for the local community.

There is a growing awareness in our school of the importance of building links with our European counterparts and we look forward to exciting projects ahead!

Hilltown, Ballymitty, Co. Wexford, Y35 YW81.
051 561324
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