St. Joseph's N.S. Ballymitty

European Projects

European Projects

Erasmus Mobility Sept. 27th - Oct. 1st 2021

Day 1

We landed in France on Monday and are in the Cote D'Azur area.

Yesterday we spent a day in St. Marten de Foret school in the Mougins area of Nice. It was a wonderful day as we got to meet the staff who work with pupils with Autism in their UEMA class.

We also visited the elementary (primary school) where we got to briefly step into the classrooms to meet the pupils.

It was so lovely to see how France, in some areas, is developing a long term policy for pupils and adults with special needs.

We also got to see how they use technology - APPs - for teaching particularly around Speech and Language and Communication.

It was also great to know that the work we do in our school is far advanced in many ways.

You can track our schedule today here:

Also, check out these two videos to see and hear about what we have been doing.

Video from Principal:

Some photos of our first day

Day 2

Today, we visited the Rectorat de Nice which is the region's Departmental Service for National Education. They support the national educational policy and support schools to implement this policy.

We had a meeting firstly with Anne Bayart Villeneuve who trains teachers and gives them supports, resources and training around foreign language teaching in French primary schools. She spoke about how English is taught and many of the methodologies she mentioned overlapped with how we teach Irish. One difference however is, that in France, they do not introduce the written form of English until the spoken language has been achieved.

This meeting also spoke about the Assistant Exchange programme - this is where they love anyone with a basic level of French to come and help out in French schools for 12 hours per week and you are paid a basic rate. This would probably appeal to someone who would be on a career break or going to France to learn the language. This is organised through FEI - French Education Internationale.

We also had a meeting with Laetitia Spreiregen who along with an Inspector set up a wonderful programme between pupils from a city school in Nice and pupils from a school in the mountains who were visually impaired. This project was called Pierres, Feuilles, Stylos - a version of Rock, Paper, Scissors and it was a project with one aim - to bring pupils together to learn about the mountains no matter your ability or disability. This project impacted all the children in ways they could never have imagined. The organisers of it knew they had accomplished so much when the pupils said that it is not the pupils we must change but the environment around them. We got many ideas on how we can be more inclusive in our school too.

It is clear from our visit here that awareness and acceptance of special needs is a long way off what we have in Ireland but they have a clearly defined strategy/mission. They have a 5 step mission for what they want to see in society going from 3 year olds right through to adult education.

We share a short video here from outside the Rectorat de Nice.

Check out some photos of Day 2 here.

Day 3

Yesterday, we completed our Erasmus mobility in France. We spent the whole day yesterday in the Rossetti Institute which is a facility for children and young adults with physical and intellectual difficulties. We met an inspiring Director who showed us around every room to see the facilities and the resources that they have. We met pupils with complex needs and we met a very inspiring team who work with them. On site, there are teachers and assistants but also Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Psychologists. The school has a therapy swimming pool and a brand new gymnasium. Pupils can also stay in one of the 20 bedrooms that they have. Facilities like these are not common in France but it was incredible to see and to hear all about the differences they can make for these pupils.

We received a wonderful welcome over all to France and it was so nice to see other pre schools, primary schools, the Rossetti institute and the Rectorat de Nice who drive the policies and mission for education in the Alpes Maritimes area.

We have built many contacts this week with people who want to welcome us back with some of our pupils and we know that some of our new French friends will visit our school into the future also.

To finish our journey you can see our photos of the Rossetti Institute here: https://youtu.be/pugvOD7L6wE

Click here to see our Erasmus team final video: https://youtu.be/tFPisCQ08nY

Click here to see our farewell video to some of the organisers of our trip: https://youtu.be/dDIeDYDIxQE

On a project like this there are very specific aims and objectives which we must reflect on our return home and report back to the EU.

Projects like this are new to us and are so important for staff and pupils to build links with Europe. This project will continue next April when other staff visit Tarragona in Spain and Italy in May/June.

Thank you for following our journey with us and ultimately we hope it benefits the most important part of our school - our pupils.

Au revoir de France,

Audrey, Bríd, Tríona and Rose

September 2021

Plans are being made for 4 of the staff to travel to France in late September. This travel is called a Mobility and on this mobility staff members will Job Shadow - in other words they will visit the schools and centres for autism to see how digital technology works to improve learner outcomes and experiences. They will also get to see the equipment, methodologies and facilities that are in place to improve learner outcomes and experiences for pupils with Autism. Stay tuned to this website to see how our first mobility to France goes!

Also, in September, we got to share the good news that our other project KA122 has been approved. The Principal loved sharing this with 4th/5th class who will be involved in this project.

Finally, in September, we found out that the application we filled out to develop European languages in the school was approved. This means that in Term 3 of this academic year our 4th/5th class group will have 8 weeks of French/Spanish or Italian lessons paid for by the Dept. of Education during school time. This will nicely integrate with the pupils' first mobility to a European school - hopefully in September 2022.

August 2021

Yayyyyy! We got great news to say that our application to the EU for funding was approved. This application allows for staff and pupils to travel to 3 different countries to visit schools and to see how those schools are using digital technology to improve learning, to see how inclusion works in various countries and to also look at teaching methodologies for pupils with autism. We are thrilled! The evaluators who marked our project gave us 79 points out of 100. They gave strengths and recommendations:

Strengths:

  • The project promotes the active participation of pupils in the entire lifecycle of the project, from their input into the European Development Team (EDT) to their engagement in evaluating the project.
  • The project is focused on inclusion and diversity. It focuses strongly on meeting the needs of all students, with a particular focus on those who have a ASD diagnosis.

Recommendations:

  • Participants must be selected through a transparent, fair and inclusive selection procedure. This could include an open application, a motivation letter or an informal interview.
  • The use of the eTwinning platform is mentioned within the application. Greater use of eTwinning throughout the lifecycle of the project could serve to augment the project and assist the school in meeting its internationalization needs.

We were delighted to see that the input from our European Development Team was highlighted and that the project is focused on inclusion and diversity.

We will also take on board their recommendations for how we select participants and how we use the eTwinning platform to continue to build links with schools across Europe!

The project was awarded a grant of €34,650.00.

April 2021

This year the EU has allocated more funding that schools can apply for. The national agency that we apply to is Léargas. In April our school put in an application for funding to allow both staff and pupils to travel to different schools in the EU. This project was called a KA122. The title was Digital Learning - Including All.

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 approved! 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. A grant of €17,840 has been approved.

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!

Oct 22
2021
School closes for Midterm Break
Nov 23
2021
Parent/Teacher Meetings Day 1
Nov 25
2021
Parent/Teacher Meetings Day 2
Dec 22
2021
School closes for Christmas
Hilltown, Ballymitty, Co. Wexford, Y35 YW81.
051 561324
Enquire
Location
© 2021 St. Joseph's N.S. Ballymitty