CAIN Web Service
Values in Education in Northern Ireland,
by Alan Smith and Alison Montgomery
Text: Alan Smith and Alison Montgomery ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change
Profiles of Values Initiatives
The European Context
Values in Education has become the
focus of an international collaborative research venture initiated
by the Consortium of Institutions for Development and Research
in Education in Europe (CIDREE). This venture is known collectively
as the 'Values in European Education Project' ('VEEP'). In 1992
the 'VEEP' was commissioned by UNESCO to undertake a project to
contribute to its Humanistic and International Dimension of Education
programme for 1990-1995. The project had three strands:-
- the provision of guidelines
on values education for educational policy-makers, curriculum
designers and teacher trainers. (This has since been published
as A Sense of Belonging, Guidelines for Values for the Humanistic
and International Dimension of Education by UNESCO/ CIDREE,
- the development and publication
of an annotated bibliography. (This has been produced as Values
Education in Europe: A Select Annotated Bibliography for 27 countries,
1985-1992, by UNESCO/CIDREE, 1994).
- a questionnaire survey on
values education in Europe and an overview of the annotated bibliographies
of European countries. (Published as Values Education in Europe:
a comparative overview of a survey of 26 countries in 1993,
by UNESCO/CIDREE, 1994) (Taylor 1994:6-7).
The questionnaire survey produced
a comprehensive summary of information on a range of issues associated
with values education, including definitions and background, aims
and objectives, formal curriculum provision, whole school and
extra-curricular contributions, teacher training and teaching
Eleven institutions in seven member
countries (including NICCEA) are participating in the 'VEEP' collaborative
programme, which is described as a "framework for sharing
and discussing aspects of values education" (UNESCO ed. Barr,
The project adopts a curricular approach
and focuses on a "range of strategies, guidelines and experimental
approaches in the field of values education" ibid:6). To
give greater definition to such guidelines, the range of approaches
adopted in values education projects in several European countries
was illustrated. These addressed areas such as values and consensus,
citizenship, democracy and education, and values in national and
The intention was to identify
common elements in these projects and to clarify what were
perceived as "essentially straightforward ideas" to "underpin the clarification and communication of values
for the enhancement of the humanistic and international dimension
of education" (ibid:9). This culminated in a series of recommendations
for schools, accompanied by practical suggestions as to how schools
might promote the objectives embraced in the recommendations.
(see appendix 1).
The 'VEEP' is intended to contribute
substantially to the wider UNESCO programme. At the meeting of
the Secretaries General of European National Commissions for UNESCO
in 1990, recognition was given to the importance of the theme
"Education, culture, human rights and international understanding".
A synthesis and discussion paper was prepared and this was followed
in 1991 by an international workshop and the launch of the programme.
The 'VEEP' helps locate the Values in Education
(NI) project within the wider context of European
The European Values Study 1981-1990.
The European Values Study 1981-1990 was undertaken by the European Values Group (EVG) - an informal
network of social scientists, philosophers, theologians and researchers,
drawn from universities and commercial agencies committed to values
research. This study addressed a variety of European value issues,
including the debate over common values, changing values, the
permeation of Christian values through society, the potential
replacement of a Christian values system, and the implications
for European unity. An analysis of the responses then suggested
some possible ramifications for education. Firstly, attention
was focused on the potential influence of other "over-riding
forces" which are "value-laden", and which could
exert a greater influence than values developed within individual
educational institutions. Secondly those engaged in education
were informed of their responsibility "to understand values
in society" and their ability to "influence values in
education". Thirdly, in discerning the future of education,
significance was attributed to values linked with issues such
as "enterprise", and to the processes of education
"which lead to greater autonomy" and which provide the
individual with "a greater sense of responsibility for [his/her]
own future" (McGettrick, European Values Group: 1992:52-56).
Curriculum Redefined Project
TheCurriculum Redefined project was developed by the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Educational
Research and Innovation (CERI). This incorporates a programme
on Humanities and Values Education, (Moon 1993, Humanities
and Arts Education: A Review of Issues prepared as part of
the OECD/CERI Project, 'The Curriculum Redefined' ).
The Commonwealth Values in Education Project
A working paper entitled Commonwealth
Values in Education was prepared for the Commonwealth Secretariat
in 1994. The foundation of the paper consists largely of responses
received to a Citizenship and Human Rights questionnaire circulated
to educational authorities throughout Commonwealth countries.
Recommendations accompanying the paper suggested the creation
of a database for the exchange of materials and the recruitment
of teachers and examination and curriculum bodies to "provide
necessary in-school support...and give further consideration to
material needs and more general questions of school effectiveness.
Following the publication of this paper, a preliminary meeting
was held by representatives from a number of countries, and it
was decided that each country would undertake its own research
into pupils' perceptions and definitions of the term 'human rights'
with the intention of bringing these findings together to identify
strategies for further development.
Statutory Approaches to Values in Education in the UK
Within the UK a substantial body
of values and education literature has been produced and a considerable
number of statutory and voluntary research projects have been
completed or are at various stages of completion. A directory
compiled by Taylor (1994), records the range and extent of academic
work and activities in the area of Values and Education for the
period 1988-1993. It includes brief details of 113 projects and
a selected bibliography of over 200 publications. Associations,
organisations and centres undertaking values research and/or activities
are also listed. Profiles of a selection of these and other research
and development activities will be presented below. (A more comprehensive
bibliography of organisations and projects is included in appendix
The emergence of an increasingly
diverse and pluralistic society in England and Wales and the implications
of educational reform have instigated questions and concern about
the moral and social development of children and young people,
and the nature of their role as active citizens in the local,
national and international community. Attention has focused on
the formal curriculum, that is the National Curriculum, in order
to evidence the provision made for the individual pupil's personal
growth and development.
The National Curriculum Council (NICC)
The National Curriculum Council's
guidance on The Whole Curriculum clearly sets out what
it perceives as the "duty" of the education system.
to encourage pupils to think and act for themselves,
with an acceptable set of personal qualities and values
which also meet the wider social demands of adult life (NCC
1990:7, author's italics).
In its discussion document on Spiritual
and Moral Development, emphasis is placed on the importance
of the school-home partnership towards,
with the knowledge and the ability to question and reason which
will enable them to develop their own value system and
to make responsible decisions on such matters (NCC 1993:5,
The School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA)
In a revision of this paper by the School
Curriculum and Assessment Authority in 1995, schools are encouraged
to identify and document a statement of values which will permeate
school life and which staff, pupils and parents will agree to
and identify with. It was emphasised that such a statement should
not be a glossy brochure, but rather "an essential and honest
statement about the school and what it stands for" and one
which would be "implemented - that it [would] not only be
seen, but [would] be seen to be effective" (SCCA 1995:9).
The Dearing Report
In a final report on the National
Curriculum (The National Curriculum and its Assessment
1994), to the Secretary of State for Education, reference was
made to the educational challenge underpinning the National Curriculum.
It was stated that,
Education is not concerned only
with equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need
to earn a living". Its intention is also to "encourage
students to respect others, to become good citizens, to think
things out for themselves, to use their time creatively and pursue
a healthy lifestyle" and "not least, [to] value themselves
and their achievements.
The main thrust of values education
in the National Curriculum is envisaged through the cross-curricular
themes, and perhaps most vividly through Education for Citizenship.
Education for Citizenship
In a speech given by the Secretary
of State for Education in 1990, impetus was put upon schools to
lay the foundations for positive, participative citizenship, by
helping pupils' to acquire and understand essential information,
and by providing them with opportunities and incentives to participate
in all aspects of school life (Curriculum Guidance No.8).
The objectives of Education for Citizenship include:
The guidance materials suggest eight
inter-related content areas which should be explored in and through
curriculum provision. These are:
- the development and understanding
of knowledge about community and society;
- the promotion and advancement
of cross-curricular skills in communication, numeracy and study;
- the promotion and development
of positive attitudes concerning individual duties, responsibilities
and rights as well as respect for democracy.
- the development of pupils'
personal moral codes and the exploration of values and beliefs.
Pupils are encouraged to identify shared values, to explore and
consider solutions to moral dilemmas, to discuss differences and
resolve conflict, and to appreciate how certain factors such as
time and experience may influence personal values and beliefs.
- the nature of community
- roles and relationships in
a pluralist society
- duties, rights and responsibilities
of being a citizen
- the family
- democracy in action
- the citizen and law
- work, employment and leisure
- public services
Suggestions are also given for establishing
a whole school policy based on the aims of Education for Citizenship
as well as opportunities for where the theme may be incorporated
in the formal curriculum.
The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED)
The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) published a discussion paper in 1994, focusing on
the types of values encouraged and communicated through the curriculum
and personal relationships in schools. The paper contextualises
values within the framework of "spiritual, moral, social
and cultural development" (SMSC), which is one of the four
statutory elements outlined for inspection in OFSTED's Framework
for Inspection 1993 (revised).
The main objective of the
paper is to encourage debate on the values and principles underlying
SMSC in order to work towards greater national consensus regarding
provision, and to identify possible criteria for use in inspection.
Schools are reminded of their obligation to promote SMSC development
and the intention to evaluate this development as part of the
inspection process. In approaching evaluation, it is suggested
that firm standards may be set for personal behaviour based on,
pupils' knowledge, skills and understanding;
The Scottish Consultative Council for the Curriculum (SCCC)
and high standards of behaviour" and
a fully developed
view of the nature and quality of the educational processes [underpinning]
In Scotland, the Scottish Consultative
Council for the Curriculum (SCCC) has stated its commitment to
supporting and maintaining resources for the ongoing development
of values in education. In pursuing this goal, the Council has
produced a number of publications on values in education, including
a new series entitled Perspectives which examines issues
relating to school climate and ethos. Other materials have included:
SCCC has considered values in the context of the
whole curriculum and value-related issues have been addressed
in many publications, including for example, PSE 5-14 exemplification:
The Whole School Approach - A Staff Development Workshop,
(1995). This contains materials and guidance for workshops, which
deal with attitudes, relationships, and skills,
- Values in Education, (1991) which
contained a statement outlining the "sense of values which
the Council seeks to promote",
- The Heart of the Matter, (1995) which discusses the importance of personal
and social education; and
- Sharing Responsibility (1995) which investigates
opportunities for schools in Europe to share responsibility and
understand the influences affecting young people's lives.
aid the promotion and development of a positive and supportive
school atmosphere in which the personal and social development
of all pupils may be fostered. (SCCC 1995)
The SCCC has also produced
Working Together: A Pack for Parents and Teachers,
(1993), and A Sense of Belonging (Reflections on Curricular
Schools Inspectorate in Scotland
Over the last five years, HM Inspectorate
in Scottish Schools has developed a major school evaluation scheme
based on a set of educational indicators to encourage and promote
school development . These indicators are a mechanism with which
schools may evaluate their effectiveness and quality, focusing
on two main areas - performance and ethos. In 1992, HMI
published two documents relating to performance in primary and
post-primary schools (HMI:1992), and these also contained a number
of indicators relating to school ethos. There are twelve
indicators in all, covering a range of issues - staff and pupil
morale, discipline, relationships, school management, the pastoral
dimension and the physical environment. The 'Ethos Indicators'
programme was designed to enable staff, pupils and parents to
assess and evaluate the teaching and learning experiences in their
school. Through the use of different research methods - interviews,
questionnaires and surveys, responses are recorded to a range
of issues which have been selected by the head teacher or senior
management team for consideration.
A phrase synonymous with 'Ethos and
Performance Indicators' is "collective self-evaluation"
- giving everyone who is part of the school community an opportunity
to comment on the effectiveness and quality of the school. Schools
in many regions of Scotland have become involved in this evaluation
scheme and similar sets of indicators are being developed in England
and Northern Ireland. The feedback from participating schools
has been very favourable, with teachers commenting that
the findings from the indicators process enabled school boards
to use their powers in a constructive and supportive way, that
relationships had been improved, and that the acknowledgement
of a wider range of views led to schools having greater credibility
with teachers, parents, and the wider community.
Non-Statutory Initiatives on Values in Education
within the UK
In England, there are a number of
organisations and centres engaged in research and development
activities widely recognised as being within the field of values
and education. These projects address issues such as ethos, citizenship,
pastoral care and moral and social development as well as specific
aspects of values in education.
The Citizenship Foundation
The Citizenship Foundation seeks
to "improve and extend the quality of citizenship, particularly
through education". The Foundation has produced various
citizenship materials on human rights, consumerism, ethics and
political education for primary and post-primary schools, and
adult education groups. It also undertakes research, organises
school competitions and publishes a bi-annual journal entitled
Citizenship. A recent publication has been the You,
Me, Us! Social and Moral Responsibility for primary
schools materials (eds. Rowe and Newton:1994). This pack
was produced as a result of co-operation between the Citizenship
Foundation and The Home Office. Following a discussion of the
theoretical background and teaching methods, five citizenship
issues (friendship, rules, property and power, respecting differences
and community and the environment), are explored through a variety
of different activities.
The Values Education Council
In October 1995, the Values Education
Council held its first annual conference and AGM in London. The
Council has been established by individuals engaged in activities
in the field of values and education to
promote and develop
values education and values in education, and to help individuals
develop as responsible and caring persons and live as participating
members of a pluralist society
The Council's aims include the promotion
of dialogue and research into values, the development of a network
for exchanging and discussing information and the provision of
a framework for member bodies and developers of public policy
to work together.
(Constitution of The Values
The National Association for Values
in Education and Training (NAVET) identifies its main objectives
as developing an understanding and communication of values and
their application within education and training, and encouraging
a recognition of the diversity of values and opinions in society
and of the powerful influence values systems may have upon the
climate of organisations. NAVET also produces a regular newsletter
and a short papers series.
The Centre for Research into Moral,
Spiritual and Cultural Understanding and Education (RIMSCUE Centre)
is based at the University of Plymouth. It is primarily a research
body, examining such issues as the moral, spiritual and cultural
development of children, ethos, the hidden curriculum and values
The Gordon Cook Foundation
The Gordon Cook Foundation, based
in Aberdeen is a charitable organisation which seeks to promote
and advance "all aspects of education which are likely to
[further] character development and citizenship". The term
'Values Education' has been adopted to indicate the range of educational
activity which the Foundation aims to support. A major aspect
of the Foundation's work has been to fund and support research
and development projects and activities which further its objectives
of investing in people and "effective organisations"
and which promote the development of teachers and values education
within the educational system.
Over the past five years, the Foundation
has funded over 100 projects exploring a variety of issues, including
the preparation and trialling of values education materials for
teacher training and classroom use, investigations into parental
values, the transmission of values in the pre-school environment,
and the identification and communication of values in primary
and post-primary schools. (Further details of projects funded
by the Gordon Cook Foundation may be found in appendix 2).
Many of the organisations and projects mentioned in this chapter
have also received funding support from the Foundation.
Values Education, Consultancy, Training
and Organisational Research (VECTOR Fellowship) is part of an
independent research and training consultancy. It provides information
on values education, identifies and disseminates good practice,
pursues training and organisational development opportunities
and supports a network of interested bodies through a regular
Projects And Publications
In addition to the projects and activities
undertaken by the organisations listed above, there are many others
which have been initiated by individuals educational bodies or
universities (details of these are included in appendix 2).
Values and Visions
The 'Values and Visions' project,
part of the Manchester Development Education Project is a national
project established "to encourage spiritual development and
global awareness in the primary school". The aim is to reach
teachers "where they are" and to examine ways in which
a school could evolve a "shared understanding of its own
values and vision" by engaging in practical activities designed
for whole school participation. In practical terms, the project
offers in-service courses for teachers and school-based training
to management, staff, parents, and pupils. Several 'Values and
Visions' workshops have been held in Northern Ireland, offering
teachers an opportunity to take "time out" and reflect
upon their perceptions and experiences of teaching and to participate
in discussion sessions on school values and visions.
The Nuffield Foundation
The Nuffield Foundation has recently
published a National Curriculum design and technology course for
Key Stage 3 (Nuffield Design and Technology Study Guide/Student's
Book 1995). This has been devised in such a way as to allow
explicit consideration of the position and relevance of values
in design and technology. The project approaches values in three
Firstly, through an appraisal of real life case studies,
pupils are encouraged to discuss the range of possible effects
and implications of certain designs and technology and in turn,
pertinent value-related issues.
Secondly, with the provision of
a values template, pupils are prompted to analyse what values
are implicit in the design and construction tasks which they undertake.
The template is essentially a box of values (technological,
environmental, economic, aesthetic, social and moral), which pupils
are encouraged to consider when preparing their designs and constructions.
The third strand presents strategies for engaging with value issues.
'Winners and Losers' examines the positive and negative impact
of designs and technology, identifying who will be directly or
indirectly affected by specific technology, how they will be affected,
and the appropriacy of the technology. Scores are used with the
'Winners and Losers' strategy, along with a pre-defined set of
Teachers are furnished with guidance and resources
throughout the course, enabling them to promote pupils' development
and understanding, and to deal more effectively and confidently
with the values dimension of design and technology.
The Values Education Project
The Values Education Project at Northern
College, Dundee was undertaken over a five year period and considered
a number of value areas including the theoretical, practical and
applied nature of moral living, pluralistic Scottish society and
Christian tradition, the schools' role as a community and its
relationship with the wider community, individual and social dimensions
of moral living and specific and local concerns and global responsibilities.
In practical terms, the project involved work with schools, a
series of workshops and the production of guidance material entitled
"Values Education Project - A handbook for School Values
Development". This manual is divided into various sections
and examines the experiences and approaches to Values Development
in schools, the development and implementation of a statement
of position on values, ethos and staff development, audit and
managing change in schools.
The philosophical nature of values
has been explored by different researchers with studies examining
the fundamental importance of values in determining how an individual
ought to live his or her life (Almond, 1981,1990, Carr
1991, 1992, 1993, Haldane 1986, 1990, 1993, 1994 and Wilson 1977,
1979, 1986, 1987). Morality and ethics and their relationship
with values have been common areas for discussion. Writers have
explored definitions of morals and values, the perceived overlap
of the two and the role of values and morals in religious education.
In general, morals are perceived to be principles of behaviour
relating especially to distinctions of right and wrong, while
values are seen to embrace morals along with principles, attitudes,
ideals and beliefs, and are not always associated with unequivocal
judgements of right and wrong.
A recently published resource of practical relevance to schools
is Cross Values Education: A Staff Development
Manual for Secondary Schools. In this publication,
guidance is offered to teachers to assist them to fulfil government
requirements outlined by OFSTED for values education in schools,
by addressing the "what" and "how" of values
education. The pack contains theoretical material and practical
examples of classroom activities, considering the nature and purpose
of values, curriculum concerns and values education and the whole
school. The aim is to help teachers "create... effective
lessons" and "tackle values education with confidence."
Journals and Newsletters
There are a number of journals and
newsletters in circulation which are concerned with different
aspects of values and education. The Journal of Moral Education
is described as a "unique interdisciplinary, international
forum for moral education and development", and publishes
papers on all aspects of the theory and practice of moral education.
NAVET, (see p.21) publishes the NAVET Papers, a series
of short papers on any aspect of values within education and training
and Newsvalues - a bi-annual newsletter. VECTOR (see p.22) produces VECTOR NEWS.
published by S. Martins College, Lancaster aims to provide a forum
for discussion of issues in values education, inviting contributions
on any aspect of social and moral education, personal values and
Activities include the provision of long-term and short-term
courses. These address the general concept of values and education.
A modular Masters degree is offered in Values Education at the
Institute of Education in London, giving teachers the opportunity
to reflect, in a philosophical and systematic way on the values
underlying their practice.
A Masters degree may be taken in Religious
Education-Moral Education at S. Martins College, Lancaster. This
course aims "to deepen teachers' understanding of religion
and ethics and their interfaces as relevant to their professional
contexts" (Taylor 1994). A B.Ed Honours degree in Moral Education/Social
Ethics and a PGCE in RE-ME are also offered.
Other courses provide
short-term exposure to specific values issues in teaching practice
and the curriculum. Such courses include Values Education and
Spiritual Development in the Primary School and Personal and Social
Development of Children through Primary Education (S. Martins
The Centre for Religious Education Development
and Research (CREDAR) and RIMSCUE also focus on values in teacher
Initiatives in Values and Education
in Northern Ireland
While 'values' and 'values in education'
are not terms in common usage within the Northern Ireland educational
system, there does seem to be a prevailing awareness among teachers
and educationalists of the divergent concepts and issues encompassed
within this sphere. The majority of value initiatives identified
in Northern Ireland therefore do not make explicit reference to
values or to the promotion or development of values. The aims
and objectives of organisations included in this section and the
nature of their activities does however indicate a strong commitment
to the broader generic area of personal and community development,
of which values and values education are an integral part.
The Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DENI)
In its recent consultative document
- A Strategic Analysis , the Department of Education for
Northern Ireland (DENI), makes reference to the government's priorities
for education Northern Ireland. It was suggested that education
had a major role to play, and not least in "developing appropriate
values and attitudes in school life, such as personal integrity
and consideration for others" (p.3:2.3). Values are given
explicit consideration in a strategic plan formulated by DENI,
following comment and discussion on the consultative document.
Under the heading of Personal Development, a set of strategic
aims are listed with reference to values. These are "to
- moral values and a sense of
- respect for diversity and
for the worth of all individuals; and
- concern for other people,
and appreciation of the value of co-operation and team effort."
There is also a call for a commitment
to promoting "a peaceful and tolerant society and appreciation
of our natural and cultural inheritance" (DENI 1995). These
aims along with the other aims and principles are perceived as
providing definition to the nature of the Education Service, and
of contributing towards a clearer view of the direction of education
for the immediate and long-term future.
In A Strategic Analysis reference
is also made to the importance of "promoting mutual understanding
between the two traditions within Northern Ireland, especially
within the context of school life" (p.3:2.3). A practical
initiative introduced in pursuit of this objective is the 'Cross
Community Contact Scheme'. Approximately one-third of all schools
in Northern Ireland are involved in this scheme which provides
modest grants for collaborative projects between two or more schools
which fulfil specific criteria, (relating to the age and denomination
of the pupils involved and the nature of the project). In addition,
DENI has also supported smaller scale European projects which
have sought to bring young people into contact with their contemporaries
in other countries as well as increasing their knowledge and understanding
of European and world affairs through curriculum subjects.
The Northern Ireland Curriculum
The structure and content of the
Northern Ireland Curriculum was devised with the intent that it
would be "broad, balanced and relevant" and that it
would "meet the needs of pupils". With these objectives
in mind, the Northern Ireland Curriculum has been defined in terms
of areas of study, thereby allowing for the inclusion and exclusion
of subjects from particular areas while also promoting a sense
of "wholeness" in pupils' learning experience. In contrast
with the National and Scottish Curricula, the Northern Ireland
Curriculum has six statutory themes which schools are obliged
to implement. These include Education for Mutual Understanding
(EMU) and Cultural Heritage which have been identified as a perceptible
values dimension within the curriculum. An increasing emphasis
on the development of whole school policies, in particular pastoral
care and discipline has also turned teachers' attention to the
"value areas" (Hamill 1995).
In providing guidance towards the
interpretation and implementation of the Northern Ireland Curriculum,
a number of aims were outlined for advancement through the areas
of study and statutory cross-curricular themes. These focused
on the spiritual, moral, cultural, intellectual and physical development
of pupils. A reflection of these various aims in the curriculum,
and an analysis of how they might be advanced through individual
subjects was undertaken by the Northern Ireland Council for the
Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, (NICCEA). The study
revealed that the curriculum yielded many opportunities for the
promotion of these aims as well as providing evidence of recurrent
themes and the overlap of certain issues and topics between the
A review of the revised curriculum
revealed a preoccupation on the part of teachers with the intricate
detail of statutory elements and in particular with the requirements
associated with individual subjects. This concern with the subjects
was perceived to be detrimental to the degree of attention given
by teachers to cross-curricular themes, and various steps have
been instigated to encourage greater integration of these through
the delivery of the curriculum. Strategies include clarifying
the contribution of each subject to the themes, providing examples
in curriculum guidance materials of how and where subjects meet
objectives of the themes, and indicating the appropriacy of the
themes at each of the key stages. To allow teachers time and
space for further contemplation of the themes and aims, and consideration
of how they might address them in their teaching situation, a
five year moratorium on change has been imposed until the year
2001. The 'Values in Education' project was initiated at the
beginning of this period, with one of its objectives being to
evaluate the current provision for values in the curriculum and
to inform the Council in its realisation of a vision for education
in Northern Ireland for the next millennium.
Education for Mutual Understanding
As already indicated, EMU has been identified
as a strong values dimension in the curriculum. One of six (educational)
cross-curricular themes, EMU became statutory under the 1989 Education
Reform Order (NI) although many schools were engaged in EMU activities
before the theme was formally included in the NI curriculum.
There are numerous statutory and
non-statutory bodies presently undertaking activities related
to EMU and its complementary theme Cultural Heritage. A selection
of these organisations and their work is presented in this chapter,
and a bibliography of other organisations along with a brief description
of their activities is included in appendix 3.
The exploration and implementation
of EMU facilitates the communication of an explicit set of values
through both the formal and informal curriculum. EMU aims to
provide pupils with the opportunities,
to learn to respect and value themselves and others;
In-service training for EMU is provided by the five Education
and Library Boards. EMU modules are also offered on postgraduate
diploma courses at The Queen's University and the University of
Ulster. These courses employ interactive teaching methods to explore
a range of issues relating to EMU including background, rationale,
research, implementation, pedagogy, controversial issues and evaluation.
to appreciate the interdependence of people within society;
to know about and understand what is
shared as well as what is different about their cultural traditions;
to appreciate how conflict may be handled in non-violent ways".(NICC 1990)
The Forum on Community Understanding
and Schools (FOCUS) is an informal network of individuals and organisations
committed to forwarding the aims of EMU and Cultural Heritage
through a variety of structured activities and the provision of
support for teachers. Originally formed as a mutual support group
for seconded teachers, it now comprises over thirty statutory
and voluntary bodies, many of whom are pursuing value-related
activities in schools and the wider community. Some of these organisations
are introduced below and others are included in Appendix 3.
NICCEA, DENI and CCMS (Council for
Catholic Maintained Schools) are all members of FOCUS. CCMS has
acknowledged its commitment to EMU and its role in fostering improved
relationships. Indeed EMU has been described as the fourth 'R',
in the curriculum, therefore suggesting it should become a central
element in the educational process. Guidance has been issued
on the development of EMU through Whole School Initiatives and
curriculum materials. Boards of Governors have been encouraged
to demonstrate their commitment to EMU, by supporting school initiatives
and activities in this area.
'The EMU Promoting School' is an
action-based research project developed from the work of the 'Quaker
Peace Education Project' (see appendix 2). The emphasis
of the project is on the "design, development and delivery"
of long-term whole school programmes centring around issues such
as "self-esteem, the quality of relationships, conflict resolution
skills, peer mediation training and bullying" (Who's Who
in EMU, 1995:21). The main thrust of the project to date
has been to carry out substantial research within a small number
of schools, focusing quite deliberately on the development of
positive ethos and involving teachers, pupils and the local community.
Another body engaged in EMU is CRIS
(Community Relations in Schools), which offers support to teachers
involved in cross community contact programmes by giving advice
on planning and resourcing, organising 'encounter' sessions, and
facilitating residential courses. Co-operation North and the Ulster
Folk and Transport Museum also organise EMU activities, promoting
and facilitating contact between children and young people from
different religious backgrounds.
The 'Peer Mediation' programme which
is an element of the 'EMU Promoting School Project' is currently
being developed in several schools in the Western and North Eastern
Education and Library Boards. A long-term aim is to promote peer
mediation in schools throughout Northern Ireland. The main aims
of the programme are to promote children's understanding and management
of conflict and to encourage and empower them to deal with their
own arguments and disagreements. Training workshops are provided
for children in Primary 7 with a view to them serving as mediators
for the children in their schools. The programme also seeks to
assist schools in promoting and developing EMU in the context
of school ethos.
Whole School Approaches
Increasing attention has been given
to issues which affect the whole school, that is staff, pupils,
parents and in some cases the wider community. Two aspects of
school life frequently focused upon are discipline and pastoral
care. Two of the Education and Library Boards have appointed
advisors to deal exclusively with whole schools issues, and other
Boards have included WSI as part of the remit of named advisors.
Included under the umbrella of WSI is the preparation and implementation
of pastoral care and discipline policies. In-service courses have
been offered to teachers (often senior management), providing
guidance and support towards identifying suitable and applicable
strategies and mechanisms for school development. The Regional
Training Unit (RTU), (part of the Education and Library Boards)
has also held workshops and courses on pastoral care provision
for teachers and senior managers, giving practical guidance and
support in framing and implementing a whole school policy.
The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) has produced a series of guidelines
on whole school curriculum policy and school development planning.
In outlining a "basic philosophy" for Catholic whole
school policy, emphasis is laid on the school's whole community
responsibility "[to recognise] its values, gifts and riches".
It is also stated that "an effective school policy...[is
one] in which values and attitudes concerning relationships between
individuals and groups are lived out and not merely advocated"
(CCMS 1991). In a second paper entitled From Policy to Planning
for Development, Catholic schools are reminded of the importance
of viewing the curriculum as the "totality of experiences
which a school has to offer" and the centrality of the child
in this educational process.
In 1995, the Department of Education
in Northern Ireland (DENI) introduced the 'Raising School Standards
Initiative'. This was developed in response to concerns surrounding
under-achievement in some schools, and in particular, low levels
of literacy and numeracy. A Strategic Analysis by DENI
(1994) indicated a need to "[target] these schools in resource
terms, [and] to address other ways of helping underachieving schools
to improve pupil performance" (p.17,4.33).
Within the Western Education and
Library Board, the 'Raising School Standards Initiative' was introduced
in September 1995 under the title, 'The Developing School' project.
Following inspection, approximately twenty primary and post-primary
schools in the WELB were identified by DENI and invited to participate
in the project. A liaison officer (who is also a subject advisor
with the Board), has been appointed to provide guidance and support
for each of the schools involved. The intention in the initial
stages is that staff within each school will formulate an action
plan, so that they can determine as early as possible the issues
which they feel need most attention, while also giving some indication
of how they intend to progress and what they hope to achieve.
The intention is that all staff, parents, governors and, where
appropriate, members of the wider school community are involved
in drafting an action plan so that there is a sense of corporate
ownership. Each action plan will be unique, though it is anticipated
that there will be areas of commonality.
Schools have developed individual programmes which concentrate on
formal curriculum and improving levels of literacy. Some schools have also
focused on issues such as the school community, the pupil's experience of the transition
from primary to secondary, pastoral care, and the general learning
environment of the school. Once an action plan has been forwarded
to the WELB, it is considered by the management group for 'The Developing Schools
Initiative' and if approved funding is allocated.
Another project under development
in the West of the province is 'The Strabane Initiative'. This
is a multi-lateral project, "targeting all phases of educational
provision from pre-school to further education". It aims
to involve teachers, parents, and children as well as voluntary
and statutory agencies in the local Strabane community, in "[redressing]
the incidence of under performance, by the funding of an imaginative
range of measures in response to locally identified need."
A list of objectives have been identified,
including the improvement of "the quality of parenting, achieving
a closer match between the aims and aspirations of the schools
and parents" and "raising the self-esteem and educational
aspirations of children and young people within the community".
Financed by the WELB for a three year period from 1995, the project
is still in its early stages with a number of schemes at various
stages of conception and development.
A Eruopean Dimension
The concept of European awareness
and the implications of European Community policies for education
and training were the focus of a research and development project
commissioned by the Northern Ireland Curriculum Council, (now
NICCEA) in 1992. The project outcomes were disseminated through
a set of guidance materials entitled Thinking European - Ideas
for Integrating a European Dimension into the Curriculum.
As well as giving examples of how and where the European dimension
might be introduced through the four key stages, various possible
aims and objectives were outlined towards the development of pupils'
knowledge and understanding of European issues. These included
an appreciation and awareness of the variety and differences between
European cultures; cultivating tolerant and accepting attitudes
towards other peoples' opinions, beliefs and ideas; and developing
pupils' sense of responsibility as citizens of Europe, with particular
attention being given to human rights, democracy, peace and the
environment. In order to assist schools define and promote these
values and attitudes in a progressive and coherent manner, strategies
for managing a whole school approach were also presented.
This chapter has provided a broad
overview of the projects and activities completed or in progress
in the values and education field in Europe and the UK. It documents
examples of the types of approaches being taken and indicates
the many different aspects of the curriculum which have been considered.
It also outlines the potential breadth and depth of a definition
of values education and illustrates the degree to which values
permeate the educational process.
 The UNESCO definition of Europe
included Canada, Israel and the USA.
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