Dare to ask them a question

7th September 2007 at 01:00

For the first time in 14 years, Euroquiz, run by the Scottish European Educational Trust, went national. Miranda Fettes reports on the results

WHO IS the president of the Euro-pean Commission? What does the Croatian flag look like? Who won the Eurovision Song Contest? While many teachers may falter at answering these questions, a team of P6 pupils from Inverkip Primary knew the answers and many more.

The five-strong team from the Inverclyde school won this year's Euroquiz competition, held in Edinburgh in June. The competition, run by the Scottish European Educational Trust, a charity which promotes education about Europe and the European Union, has been running for 14 years in Edinburgh and the Lothians. This year was the first time it went national.

From 16 local authorities, 240 schools participated. Each held its own quiz to pick a team of five pupils (four compete; one acts as a substitute). Heats were held in each authority, with an average of 15 schools competing in each.

The 16 winning teams all P6 pupils travelled to Edinburgh in June, where the final was held in the City Chambers. Topics included geography, history, popular culture, sport, general knowledge and the workings of the EU.

The quiz was divided into four rounds of 20 questions: an individual round in which each team member had to complete a multiple choice paper; a written round in which teammates could confer; a spoken semi-final with four teams; and a final buzzer round between the last two survivors, Inverkip and Mary Erskine and Stewart's Melville Junior School, an Edinburgh fee-paying school.

"The standard was excellent," says Morag Paul, the P6 teacher at Inverkip. "It was broad-sweeping. We covered currencies, flags, population statistics, significant landmarks and lots of information about the organisation of the European Union, about enlargement and the institutions and member states.

"The whole thing became part of our topic work. We do a European topic in P6. I was also involved in a pilot project from Australia, called Rich Tasks. Ours was called travel itineraries."

Each child in the class studied an EU country. Their rich task was to identify an imaginary child from that country, take them on an imaginary journey to Scotland and work out a travel itinerary.

"The children took responsibility for their own learning, searching the internet at home to broaden their knowledge base," says Mrs Paul. "Euroquiz covered lots of curriculum areas. Watching them learning, I felt it ticked all the boxes, helping them to become responsible citizens, effective contributors, successful learners and confident individuals. It is crucial for them to find out about other cultures and understand they belong to a bigger picture, especially with Euro- pean enlargement."

The quiz was funded with sponsorship from Standard Life, covering administration and each school's expenses. The Inverkip children's prize was an interactive globe for the school. The SEET is hoping 20 local authorities will participate this session.

Participating schools are sent an information pack by Eurodesk, a Europe-wide information service for young people, and the Scottish European Educational Trust gives schools a list of useful websites.

"We are in discussions with Learning and Teaching Scotland about setting up video-conferences for some heats, as it is difficult for outlying areas to get lots of schools together," says Barbara MacLeod, the SEET's national organiser.

Statistics show that young people across Europe have a higher level of knowledge about the EU than their counterparts in Scotland and the rest of the UK, she says. "It is important for our young people to learn about Europe and understand how the EU functions."

Barbara MacLeod E seet@euromove.org.uk T 0131 557 9886

Secondary

THE Scottish European Educational Trust also runs a speaking competition for S3 pupils, funded by the European Parliament. Eight local authorities participated last session, with an average of five schools competing in each area. With two pupils in each team, 40 schools and 80 pupils took part. For the 2006-07 competition, pupils had to choose an EU member state and focus on two issues of particular importance to that country. The winning team, from Broughton High in Edinburgh, won a trip to Brussels in May, to visit the European Parliament, European Commission and Scotland House. The competition is only open to novice speakers. "Pupils who win the debating prizes are not eligible," explains Barbara MacLeod, the SEET's national organiser. "It's public speaking rather than debating."

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