Léargas Erasmus

Erasmus Plus logo with flag

… in Schools aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning from pre-primary through to secondary level in schools across Europe.

It will provide opportunities for people working in school education to develop their professional skills and to work together with partners in Europe. Activities support the sharing of good practice and testing of innovative approaches that address shared challenges, such as early school leaving or poor levels of basic skills. Activities can foster links with the world outside school and other fields of education and training.

The following is the CBC European Development Plan for Erasmus+ 2019/20.

Erasmus+ KA101
Introduction:
Excellent and innovative education are the pivot around which personal fulfilment, a fair society and a successful nation should revolve. It is central to sustaining economic success and in converting economic success into building a strong community across the EU. The central vision of our European Development Plan (ERASMUS+) for Education in CBC we aspire to follows the Department of Education and Science (DES) vision to make the Irish Education and Training System the best in Europe over the next decade. It will be central to our ambitions as a nation (economic, cultural, scientific and social) over the coming years to be the best, you have to learn from the best educational systems e.g. Finland. It will allow us to lead in innovation in Learning and Teaching local, nationally and internationally on the European stage. We want to equip learners of all ages in CBC the capacities to participate and succeed in a changing global world.
CBC Cork is fortunate to attract high calibre people to the fields of teaching who deliver to highest standards and who have established a strong local, national and international reputation. However, as new challenges place new demands on the secondary school system we must ensure that we have the capacity to develop and adopt best practices e.g. the new Junior Cycle Framework (2015). Education institutions like CBC must themselves be learning organisations continually improving and evolving and learning from best practice. Success in education is built on the quality of leadership, the ingenuity in teaching, the support in the community for learning and this European Development Plan aims to harness those human resources. To be the best we need to ensure that leadership, management, teaching methods, and initial and continuing training (professional Learning) are all operating to the highest standards. We need to promote innovation and excellence, recognise high achievement and seek to mainstream successful approaches.
At the heart of the European Development plan is the aim to improve the impact of the education learning experience on the lives of each and every learner in CBC and across the nation and EU, particularly those who are likely to face greater obstacles because of disadvantage or special needs.

The European Development Plan is summarised in five high level goals:
1. Improve the learning experience and the success of learners e.g. Looking at Our Schools, 2016
2. Improve the progress of learners with special educational needs (SEN)
3. Help those delivering education best practice research to continuously improve e.g. extending digital technologies options in our school
4. Build stronger bridges between education and wider community including EU member states
5. Improve national planning and support services e.g. JCT, PDST, NIPT, NCSE and making time available for teachers to develop new learning methods with top-class professional support from Peers)

Strategies from a national perspective we in CBC follow:
These include:
National Skills Strategy 2025
• National Strategy on Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life 2011-2020
• Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020
• Framework for Junior Cycle
• National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development in Ireland, 2014-2020
• 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030

Strategies Pending Publication from Department of Education and Science:
• Ireland’s International Education Strategy
• Foreign Languages in Education Strategy

Fostering health, wellbeing and personal development enables learners to fully participate in school life in CBC and prepares them effectively for active and responsible citizenship and the world of work in Ireland and the EU. The effectiveness of new policies and programmes to better equip young people will be bench-marked against best practice elsewhere e.g. Finland, Lithuania. Our project priorities is the exchange of good practices between the schools and staff (Teacher Mobility) and the development of knowledge and skills for teachers. We want to explore, compare and contrast the different types of learning and teaching methodologies among the staff and schools. The project will endeavour to validate existing practices and to allow teachers observe different teaching practice in relation to ‘Student Voice’ initiatives, well-being and use of digital technologies to aid learning. Engagement with Erasmus + provides the basis of the next chapter at CBC, developing European and international connections through exploration of the ‘Student Voice’ for the benefit of our school community and that of the communities we hope to make connections with.

Our values:
As a Post-Primary School, we foster a culture of accountability, efficiency and value for money which is rooted in a public service ethos of independence, integrity, impartiality, openness and respect. As teachers in CBC we espouse the highest standards of professionalism, honesty, objectivity and quality, which are central to fulfilling our roles in supporting the democratic process and serving the citizen. We value learning as a public good and recognise its role in the development, cohesion and wellbeing of society in the EU. We recognise the learner’s place at the centre of policy development e.g. ‘Student Voice’. We value quality and are committed to the principle of continuous improvement and being open to external ideas, challenges and debate. We value relationships and working in collaboration within the education sector in the EU and with the wider community in Cork. This project will allow teachers to develop European Citizenship and awaken their interest in other regions of Europe through sharing teacher methodologies/pedagogy information. Digital skills will be developed by staff and a real reason to communicate effectively with teachers in other countries e.g. Finland/Lithuanian etc will be established. The project will encourage the participation of parents, BOM and wider school community in the life of the school and broaden knowledge of the EU an education on student’s experiences, student voice and digital citizenship. There will be an opportunity to develop community links e.g. MEP's and other stakeholders in the education system We in CBC intend from our involvement in ERASMUS+ that long lasting European links will be forged among the schools, extending beyond the lifetime of the project.

Objectives:
Our objectives are to build friendships and connections, providing teacher’s opportunities to develop competences in an international environment and boost academic achievements. Through collaboration with host schools, develop ideas for projects wherein teachers make connections between relevant European issues and express them through ‘Student Voice’ Initiatives. Participants will gain confidence and experience with Student Voice integration as a whole school not just class by class, obtain a better understanding of the possibilities that the ‘Learner Voice’ - integrated curriculum provides. A key objective is to gain knowledge of multiple national systems and disciplines that can transfer to our own teachers practice. The project will provide opportunities to meet teachers from other European countries and start a conversation about pedagogy, teaching and learning and develop European connections. This will facilitate networking and hands-on opportunities to continue communication with other course participants and school colleagues towards common international projects. Participants will build and develop on previous teaching knowledge using a range of practical and hands on methods and be introduced to current and established areas of teaching with a rights based interactive approaches to learning. We aim to further explore Digital Technology that can be used in the classroom to facilitate delivering the student voice curriculum and promote communication with host European schools in Finland and Lithuania.

At CBC Cork we have a vibrant, enthusiastic staff who would like to further develop their talents and pedagogies in line with the ‘Student Voice’ curriculum for the benefit of our school community and disseminate their results to the wider community both local and European. We plan on participating in job shadowing and structured courses and training events abroad over the course of the project with European institutions. We expect the mobility activities will support the professional development of the teachers of our school and provide them with a view to innovating and improving the quality of teaching and implementation of the ‘Student Voice’ within the curriculum within a European and international context. The mobility activities our KA101 are part of a broad strategy of development, modernisation and internationalisation in which our institution is involved.

Long term benefits include a revised ‘learner voice’ policy in line with European culture with scope to further explore a European dimension to the delivery and development of our Digital Technologies curricula on a yearly basis. Continuous use of the eTwinning platform to build European and international connections and to keep abreast of best practice.

Other Priority Areas:

• Enhance wellbeing in our CBC school community
Fostering the personal development, health and wellbeing of learners and the wider school community helps to ensure that our children and young people develop resilience, have respect for diversity, learn to create and maintain supportive relationships and become active and responsible citizens in society. A mandatory area of learning entitled Wellbeing was introduced in Junior Cycle in 2017 in CBC and we are working toward 400 hours of instruction for our Junior Cycle students. EU host countries will be to assist in the creation of our CBC Wellbeing plan.
• Increase the use of Digital Technology in teaching, learning and assessment
A key objective of this European Development Plan is to create a “step-change” in the use of Digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment, at all levels of the education in CBC, so that learners are equipped with the skills to live in an increasingly digitally connected world. Actions include investment in infrastructure including high speed broadband for the school, professional development for teachers and, increased technology-enhanced and blended learning opportunities. This Erasmus+ project will enable CBC Digital Learning Plan to be developed further.
• Improve the development of language competence (MFL)
Being able to communicate effectively through reading, listening, writing and speaking are fundamental life skills and there will be a particular focus on increasing competence in languages through the implementation of this European Development Plan. In particular the implementation of the roll-out of the Foreign Languages in Education Strategy will support increased levels of participation and competence in language learning especially for our teachers’ professional development in CBC.
• Learners with additional Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Our approach to special education has undergone a huge transformation with a growing proportion of students with special educational needs being educated with their peers in mainstream schools. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) leads on research in this important area of policy and has recently advised that in terms of the model for supporting children with special educational needs, international research points to the conclusion that there is no perfect approach that works in any country. In developing advice, CBC must take account of practice and provision in other EU countries and seeks to ensure that the best practices in other countries are captured to ensure that Ireland continues to be among the leaders in terms of provision and quality.

In general the students of CBC will benefit from the project as better learners experiences are envisioned. In particular the more effective, active teacher methodologies to create, explore and develop social awareness, social responsibility, and communication via the forum of the ‘student voice’. Teachers equally will benefit from observing and exploring active and modern innovative methodologies which will reinvigorate their practice. Participating teachers will have to share this information with the CBC community in professional development meetings, staff CPD, professional learning, and conferences to celebrate the project. The school community will be informed of the project activities on the Erasmus+ notice boards, school text messaging service (VSware), school newsletter, school website and School App and school Learning and Teaching twitter account.

Mr. E. Hussey Erasmus+ Coordinator