National pride

26th October 2007 at 01:00
From the first state school to offer the International Baccalaureate, Margaret Harrison talks about the young Europeans.We might be in rural Essex, but we're a school steeped in internationalism. When we joined the European Union, Essex County Council decided to establish a school with a European ethos and we've evolved from there, offering the International Baccalaureate for the past 25 years.

Most pupils take two language GCSEs, but our internationalism goes beyond learning languages: it's about a wider cultural outlook and being international citizens.

Around 15 years ago, we introduced the European Citizenship Award, which included human rights, global issues and minorities in Europe. When citizenship came along, we developed the "Diplome du Citoyenne" from the national curriculum programmes of study.

It includes active citizenship and taking part in our exchanges programme. Sixth formers also take Community Action Service (CAS) as part of the IB. At key stage 4, Year 10 takes blocks of lessons in political literacy, economic understanding, human rights and global issues. This culminates in a mock UN debate in July. All 220 pupils take part and prepare for it during June.

Sixth formers organise the event and take on lead positions such as Secretary General.

Five countries are allocated to each Year 10 class and groups of pupils research some of the key issues facing that country. On the day, a member of each group stands before the whole year and talks about their country's issues, taking questions from the floor. They all love it. They have to turn up in smart dress and use formal language. When they come up to the podium you can tell they feel eight feet tall.

Delegates then go into committee on issues such as conflict resolution or the environment.

The sixth formers prepare resolutions and the challenge is for pupils to know the position their country would take and speak on it. Each committee then has to try to pass a resolution to take to the general assembly.

At the end of the day, sixth formers report back, commenting on discussion that has drawn their interest and the delegates that have spoken well.

The pupils gain confidence and respect from their peers and they learn to take different opinions

Margaret Harrison is International Director at the Anglo-European School in Ingatestone, Essex

Resources

Book Democracy Cookbook: produced by the Electoral Commission (a free resource, contact The Electoral Commission, Trevelyan House, Gt Peter St, London SW1P 2HW or call 020 7271 0500), it's full of learning techniques to explore politics, representation and the law. Visit www.dopolitics.org.uk.

Website The Citizenship Foundation is a useful organisation, with a website with extensive resources. Visit www.citizenshipfoundation.org. ukmainresource.php.

DVD Amnesty International has created an education resource to "inspire, inform and challenge" young people to make their minds up about controversial human rights.

Human Rights in Focus is aimed at pupils aged 14-19 and has been made available for free to secondary schools across the UK. It includes three short films accompanied by ready-to-teach lessons - all of which look at topical human rights issues.

Visit www.amnesty.org.ukcontent.aspCategoryID=301.

Sixth form resources

Website www.post16 citizenship.orgpublications is a selection of excellent, free resources produced by the Learning and Skills Network.

Richard Demby is a learning co-ordinator for citizenship and PSHE at Whalley Range High School in Manchester.

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