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Text: Alan Smith and Alan Robinson ... Page Compiled: Martin Melaugh and Brendan Lynn

Education for Mutual Understanding: The Initial Statutory Years  frontispiece

Education for Mutual Understanding:
The Initial Statutory Years

by Alan Smith and Alan Robinson
Published by the University of Ulster, Coleraine 1996
ISBN 1 85923 047 4
Paperback 107pp £5.00

Out of Print


This material is copyright of the Centre for the Study of Conflict and the author(s) and is included on the CAIN web site with the permission of the publisher. Reproduction or redistribution for commercial purposes is not permitted.



Education for Mutual Understanding:
The Initial Statutory Years

by Alan Smith and Alan Robinson

Centre for the Study of Conflict
University of Ulster


CONTENTS

  Preface
  Introduction
1. Conceptual development within the curriculum
    EMU in Transition
    The values underlying EMU

EMU and Cultural Heritage: complementary themes

Key components of an agenda for EMU

Progression

Coherence

2. A framework for implementation within the school

The EMU Promoting School

EMU and ... the whole school ethos

                ... the curriculum

                ... community relations

3. Roles and responsibilities within the school

4. The Cross Community Contact Scheme

5. Co-ordination within the education system

6. Training and professional development

7. Evaluating further progress

8. Summary of recommendations
 
Appendices
 
Bibliography


Preface

The Centre for the Study of Conflict is a research centre based in the University of Ulster. Its main work is the promotion and encouragement of research on the community conflict and to this end it concentrates on practical issues to do with institutional and community structures and change. It publishes papers and books arising out of this work including: a series of research papers particularly designed to make available research data and reports; a series of Majority-Minority reports.

We are very pleased to publish this new report on Education for Mutual Understanding by Alan Smith and Alan Robinson. It is the final report of a three-year research and evaluation project which concentrated on the introduction of a cross-curricular theme, Education for Mutual Understanding (EMU), to the school curriculum in Northern Ireland.

The first report on this work was published in 1992 as EMU: Perceptions and Policy, and involved research into how those within the education system perceive EMU, The next stages of the project involved work with teachers in schools, and with people from the wider education system who are involved in the implementation of EMU. The purpose was to identity and examine those approaches to EMU most likely to be fruitful. The results of this work form the basis for this final report and represent an insight into the development of EMU within schools as part of the curriculum during the initial statutory years (1992-95).

The Centre has recently published a number of other reports on topics such as Sport and Community Relations, Parades in Northern Ireland, Policing a Divided Society, and 'Peace Education'. This report on EMU is one of three new reports to be published at this time, the other two being on 'Mixed Marriages' and on 'Ethnic Residential Segregation in Northern Ireland'. A full list of the Centre's publications is printed at the back of this volume

Professor Seamus Dunn
Director, Centre for the Study of Conflict
January 1996.

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Introduction

The Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 introduced Education for Mutual Understanding (EMU), and the related theme of Cultural Heritage, as part of the curriculum for all grant-aided schools in Northern Ireland. The statutory provisions relating to these educational themes came into operation in respect of all pupils in Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 and in the first year of Key Stage 4 from 1 August 1992.

The former Northern Ireland Curriculum Council produced guidance material to support the definition that,

Education for Mutual Understanding is about self-respect, and respect for others, and the improvement of relationships between people of differing cultural traditions. (NICC, 1990)

The objectives state that as an integral part of their education the themes should enable pupils.

to learn to respect and value themselves and others; 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; and to appreciate how conflict may be handled in non-violent ways. (NICC, 1990)

There is no direct assessment of individual pupils concerning EMU and Cultural Heritage. In 1992 a Statutory Order conjoined the objectives of EMU and Cultural Heritage thereby emphasising the close relationship between them.

The Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order, 1989 also places a statutory responsibility on school governors to report annually to parents on steps taken to promote EMU.

Although the themes are a mandatory feature of the curriculum, cross community contact with pupils from other schools remains an optional strategy which teachers are encouraged to use. Schools can apply for financial support from the Cross Community Contact Scheme administered by the Community Relations Branch of the Department of Education for Northern Ireland. A number of voluntary and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also offer various forms of support to schools (FOCUS, 1995).

EMU: Perceptions and Policy

The period between the introduction of legislation and the inclusion of EMU in the curriculum provided an opportunity to consider the implications of EMU's transition from a voluntary activity to a statutory requirement. A research project based in the Centre for the Study of Conflict at the University of Ulster investigated how the introduction of EMU was perceived by individuals within various domains of the education system and was published as a report, EMU: Perceptions and Policy (Smith and Robinson, 1992).

This initial research confirmed that the inclusion of EMU in the statutory curriculum had been largely unanticipated with less than a third of schools having a policy in place. It also became clear that teachers' perceptions of the theme and its purpose were diverse and varied and not restricted to community relations issues in Northern Ireland alone. Teachers also identified more universal aspects, such as gender relations, human rights and ethnic diversity in a European and international context as deriving naturally from the aims of EMU.

In the short term, however, a survey Indicated that most schools would rely heavily on a strategy which concentrates on generating more contact between Catholic and Protestant pupils from different schools. This is reflected in the number of schools involved in Department of Education, Cross Community Contact Scheme which has grown steadily since its introduction in 1987.

In 1987 only 13% of primary and 24% of second-level schools were involved. In 1991 this had risen to 23% of primary and 39% of secondary. By 1994 42% of primary and 59% of second level schools were involved in cross community contact through the Scheme (see Chapter 4).

The first phase of the evaluation had therefore established some base lines in terms of perceptions of EMU within the system, levels of cross-community contact and views on strategies for implementation.

Recommendations from the research highlighted the need:

  • to clarify the conceptual framework for EMU; �
  • to promote better co-ordination concerning EMU within and between the various domains of the education system: �
  • to give more priority to teacher education and training in EMU;
  • to clarify long term strategies for the evaluation of EMU.

Further development

During the period following the publication of EMU: Perceptions and Policy the evaluation developed in two further directions.

A second phase worked closely with the EMU co-ordinators from a small number of schools to track their progress as the co-ordinators engaged in a school-based development process. This provided essential insight into the practical issues and difficulties in the implementation of EMU at school level.

A third phase of the evaluation worked in a participatory way with a range of professional and voluntary personnel throughout the education system who are engaged in the development and implementation of EMU on a daily basis. These included teachers from primary and secondary schools, field workers from voluntary organisations, education advisers from a range of statutory authorities, teacher educators and administrative and professional representatives from the Department of Education. As part of the formative evaluation process the researchers facilitated two major conferences which drew participants from all these domains. These proved to be particularly helpful, not only in ascertaining progress, but also in providing a forum for those involved in the field to share ideas and develop a sense of common purpose.

This report is the outcome of these latter phases and represents an evaluation of the progress which has been made on a number of fronts. In particular, these phases have provided valuable insight into the progress which has been made within the education system on important issues such as the conceptual development of EMU, the process of implementation at school level and action on practical issues such as dissemination, co-ordination and training during the short period of time since EMU became a statutory feature of the curriculum.

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Chapter one

Conceptual development
within the curriculum

 

The initial research into the introduction of Education for Mutual Understanding (EMU) to the statutory curriculum in Northern Ireland (Smith and Robinson, 1992) had shown that, in conceptual terms, teachers found EMU to be somewhat elusive. Its most tangible manifestation was in the form of contact between children from different religious and cultural traditions engaged in a range of inter school activities. Beyond this, there was a recognition that EMU should address more universal issues (that is, not just issues concerning the conflict in Northern Ireland), but there was no commonly held or comprehensive view of what these should be. The inclusion of EMU in the formal curriculum therefore precipitated more widespread debate about its fundamental purpose. This uncovered two general types of concern within some sections of wider society and within the teaching profession itself.

First, the emphasis on contact between Protestants and Catholics gave rise to concerns that there was an underlying political agenda and for some Unionists the suspicion was that EMU was an attempt by government to encourage them into a united Ireland. Any emphasis on Irish culture or links with schools in the Republic of Ireland was interpreted as evidence to support this view. Suspicions within the Catholic community tended to portray EMU as attempts by government either to assimilate Nationalists into the Northern Ireland state or to distract the population from more serious social, economic and political sources of division within the society.

Second, from an educational point of view a number of teachers, even if they did not subscribe to either conspiracy theory. were skeptical from a conceptual point of view. Some teachers felt that an over emphasis on cross community contact was a blunt and unsophisticated way of bringing about an Improvement in community relations. There was an understandable reticence to be associated with anything which appeared to be 'social engineering� in its crudest sense.

Despite such concerns most parents have continued to support the notion that their children should have opportunities to meet and work together even though they attend separate schools (see for example, Smith and Dunn, 1990). Clear indicators of this are that the numbers of children participating in cross community contact programmes have continued to increase; that withdrawals from programmes (which require parental consent) continue to be the exception rather than the rule: and that schools have exhibited increased confidence in publicising their EMU activities through the media, in school literature and in public events.

At the general level, the initial reservations that, as a statutory theme, EMU would be perceived as coercive, have subsided as a broader base of practice has emerged. One measure of this is the emergence of a more critical attitude within the system, a willingness to pose difficult questions about the nature, purpose and value of community relations work in an educational setting. This would have been �politically incorrect� a number of years ago when any criticism was perceived as hostile. As a consequence the conceptual framework for EMU has become broader and more sophisticated. Any improvement in community relations is seen to emerge from more universal concerns about human relations and social justice rather than simplistic notions that we should all get along better�. This sort of distinction became clear at EMU in Transition . the first of two conferences organised as part of this evaluation.

EMU in Transition

The conference EMU in Transition took place in 1992. It provided an opportunity for those involved In the implementation of EMU to begin clarifying a conceptual framework for future development.

Although the impetus for EMU had evolved through the commitment of enthusiastic teachers and voluntary bodies over a 20-year period, the transition to a statutory theme meant that all teachers were expected to play a part in implementation. The research by Smith and Robinson (1992) had shown that teachers held many different perceptions of EMU and its purpose. This suggested that the new climate for development would require greater clarity of purpose. The conference provided an initial opportunity for representatives from different domains of the education system to identify and agree on a number of elements which provide the basis for a 'shared vision� of EMU. Elements of the shared vision which emerged from the conference included:

  • an appreciation that EMU is diverse and expansive and represents an opportunity to explore issues related to diversity and similarity in human relationships and between cultures; and that relationships between the two main cultural traditions in Northern Ireland is one important, though not exclusive, dimension to EMU:
  • the view that school management has a crucial role in creating a climate for the development and implementation of EMU;
  • a recognition that the objectives of EMU could not be achieved through the contribution of individual subjects alone and that it will be necessary for schools to establish complementary approaches through non-statutory areas such as Personal and Social Education and Pastoral care;
  • a recognition that cross-community contact is a useful strategy for developing EMU, but not an end in itself:
  • an aspiration that schools would gradually find ways of helping young people address some of the more contentious and potentially controversial issues which are part of contemporary life in Northern Ireland.

Since the conference a number of activities and processes have contributed to the further development of a conceptual framework. These have included a further conference and a commitment by the Council for the Curriculum. Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) to bring together teachers and education advisers to review the early guidance from prestatutory days (NIC ED, 1988). From these and other processes it is clear that progress has been made on the following fronts:

The values underlying EMU

One of the most positive consequences of making EMU statutory is that It has forced those within the education system to be more explicit in specifying what EMU is about. In particular it led to a clearer statement of objectives. This in turn has made the values underlying the objectives explicit and has left the themes less vulnerable to charges of hidden agendas. In effect, the theme asserts that personal and social relationships should be a central concern for all schools. This presents something of a contrast to other aspects of Education Reform which have emphasised the technocratic and cognitive dimensions of learning. A consideration of the objectives specified for the theme reveals a strong commitment to values which assert that:

  • the development of respect for oneself and others is an important aspect of learning, of developing good relationships and promoting social cohesion within society;
  • interdependence within the family, the local community and the wider world is a valuable part of the human experience which should be understood and encouraged:
  • diversity is an important feature of human development and differences of a physical. social, cultural, religious and political nature should be respected and valued:
  • conflict is part of the human experience, but it Is better to seek non-violent ways of accepting difference and resolving disputes.

These may be stated in rather straightforward terms, but their effect Is to declare that education is not value-free�. Taken seriously such values have profound and significant implications for the way schools operate as social institutions, particularly with respect to relationships within schools and the teaching and learning methods which are used. A view expressed by many teachers encountered in this research is that the overall impact of Education Reform has been to generate a common curriculum which places undue emphasis on content and discrete areas of knowledge. The suggestion is that important values reside more clearly within the cross-curricular themes and that important values may become marginalised if the themes are not fully integrated into core curriculum areas. This may partly explain why those teachers who have traditionally taken a strongly cognitive view of their subject (e.g. maths and science) have often experienced most difficulty in discerning the relevance of EMU objectives to their teaching.

EMU and Cultural Heritage: complementary themes

The reaction of teachers to the introduction of two themes was that the distinction between them was not clear. One assumed distinction was that EMU was more concerned with the process aspects of human relations whilst Cultural Traditions was perceived to place more emphasis on information concerning the two main traditions in Northern Ireland. On closer inspection it could be argued that each rests upon a different analysis of �the problem� and therefore each advocates a different educational strategy.

In the case of EMU the analysis suggests that an improvement in relations between different cultural groups can be brought about by concentrating on human relations and increased inter group contact. This approach has been criticised from the point of view that contact can be a superficial or cosmetic exercise which may be regarded as an end in itself. Further criticism is that it is not been demonstrated how social interaction at an interpersonal level can lead to a reduction of prejudice at the intergroup level.

By contrast Cultural Heritage relies more on the idea that students and teachers should become more sensitive and aware of cultural similarities and differences - a cultural understanding� model which implies that more harmonious relationships will follow from educational programmes that provide information and insight into the customs and practices of other cultural groups. This approach has been criticised from the point of view that it involves a form of cultural relativism whereby different groups within society are presumed to have a formal parity with each other� (McCarthy, 1991) and a tendency to treat ethnic or cultural groups as �monolithic entities possessing uniform, discernible traits� (Gibson, 1984) so that differences within groups are understated. McCarthy (1991) argues that any such approaches will have very limited impact and place an unreasonable burden on the classroom teacher so long as they ignore The crucial issues of structural inequality and differential power relations� which exist between various groups within society.

This debate about the different routes to better community relations has been an implicit feature of developments in Northern Ireland during the past decade. It reflects the different interest groups which were involved in the lobby for change in community relations policy in the late Eighties. For example, the creation of a Community Relations Council in 1990 brought together a Cultural Traditions Group, concerned to support cultural activities, publications and media programmes, and community activists engaged in a broad range of reconciliation activities at local community level. The different emphases represented by these two interest groups have never been fully integrated into a single, coherent strategy for the improvement of community relations and a similar schism is mirrored in the emergence of two separate educational themes as part of the policy thinking from the same period.

In practice neither analysis is sufficiently convincing on its own. Relationships take place within a social, cultural and political context and it would be naive to suggest that teachers should encourage children to believe otherwise. Similarly, any study of cultural heritage inevitably becomes drawn into issues such as the struggle for control over resources or territory and the power of one group over another in political decision making.

Shared Objectives for EMU and Cultural Heritage

Whilst each theme represents a slightly different analysis and approach in conceptual terms, intuitively teachers have recognised a close inter-relationship between the two themes. This is reflected in the objectives for each.

EMU has four objectives concerned with:

Objective 1: Fostering respect for self and others
Objective 2: Understanding conflict
Objective 3: Appreciating interdependence
Objective 4: Understanding cultural traditions.

Cultural traditions has three objectives concerned with:

Objective 1: Interaction, interdependence, continuity and change
Objective 2: Shared, diverse and distinctive features of different traditions
Objective 3: International and transnational influences.

In many respects Cultural Heritage Objective 1 can be regarded as an elaboration of EMU Objective 3, and Cultural Heritage Objectives 2 and 3 can be regarded as refinements of EMU Objective 4. Soon after the introduction of the statutory curriculum the Northern Ireland Curriculum Council recognised this close relationship and �conjoined� the objectives mentioned above in a document released to schools in 1992.

However, this is still a somewhat cumbersome solution and consultation with teachers as part of this project suggests that a simpler and more straightforward amalgamation of the objectives to form one theme would be welcomed within the system. In effect. Cultural Heritage would become incorporated into Objective 4 of a single theme, EMU. This would require a change in legislation, but would represent a logical outcome of the current curriculum review process being undertaken by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

Key components of an agenda for EMU

One advantage of objectives which are based on high order values is that they appeal to the widest possible audience. Defined at the abstract level, few teachers have difficulty in subscribing to the �inherent value� of pursuing the objectives. It is only as teachers attempt to translate such high order values into more concrete educational practice that difficulties begin to emerge. There is considerable ground to cover in moving from the abstract and aspirational to the concrete and achievable. However, within the past two years some teachers and education advisers have begun to take steps which bridge these gaps.

This process was initiated in 1994 through a CCEA working group. The group�s starting point was to identify the essential ingredients or �key components� of an agenda for EMU. The identification of such an agenda, even in broad terms, was considered to be a first step towards making EMU more concrete. Similar approaches have been adopted in England and Wales in relation to educational themes. In England, advisory material for the theme Citizenship (National Curriculum Council, 1990) identifies eight �essential components�:

  • an exploration of the nature of community
  • roles and relationships within a pluralist society
  • the duties. responsibilities and rights of being a citizen
  • the family
  • democracy in action
  • the citizen and the law
  • work employment and leisure
  • public services.

In Wales, the equivalent theme is called Community Understanding and eight components� have been identified (Curriculum Council for Wales, 1993):

  • becoming a member of a community
  • patterns of social life
  • active citizenship
  • human rights
  • participation in decision-making
  • order, conflict and change
  • people, work and the distribution of resources
  • values and beliefs

In both countries the identification of such components is an attempt to make the theme more tangible for teachers as they try to visualise what work to undertake with pupils. In each case there is documentation which suggests activities which might be undertaken at different Key Stages.

There is obviously a fine line which runs between prescription and flexibility and it is a matter of judgement as to which is more helpful. However, discussions with teachers as part of this research suggest that the position in Northern Ireland is that EMU and Cultural Heritage are still �too abstract and loose� and more specific guidance would be welcomed. This suggests that the identification of a more explicit agenda for EMU would be helpful to teachers. The key components of a more specific agenda for EMU might include the following:

  • identity (including language, culture and religion):
  • contemporary histories of Northern Ireland:
  • the media (developing a critical awareness of the way various media portray local society):
  • civic and social rights and responsibilities;
  • the law and the administration of justice;
  • equality of opportunity (including the rights of minorities):
  • local politics (including experience of decision-making and concepts of democracy within civil society);
  • violence (interpersonal, institutional, political):
  • resolving conflict and processes for reconciliation.

Such a list bears considerable resemblence to the key concepts generated by the Schools Cultural Project (Robinson, 1981). The development of a more specific agenda for EMU raises a number of interesting points. First, it strengthens the notion that the theme has a distinctive contribution to make to young people�s understanding of contemporary society in Northern Ireland. Second, it attaches particular significance to the role of history and the social sciences in the understanding of contemporary society. Third, it highlights the growing significance of three more universal concerns, namely rapid developments in the way information is processed within society: a movement towards more plural and ethnically diverse societies; and an overall increase in the level of violence within many societies.

By implication, the agenda suggests that important aspects of educational development receive little attention within the curriculum in most schools. In particular, the agenda identifies two areas which are underdeveloped within current approaches to EMU. One is the development of young people�s understanding of politics and political processes. The other is an understanding of issues related to rights and responsibilities within increasingly plural societies.

During 1995 the activities of the CCEA working group was superseded by a formal curriculum review initiated by government before any further guidance material could be produced. However, the following illustration gives some indication of how a more explicit agenda for EMU could lend more substance to its four main objectives. These are:

1. Respect for self and others

Pupils should have opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of themselves. and how to interact in a range of personal and social situations.

In relation to this objective activities would include opportunities for pupils to develop an awareness of:

  • their own personal qualities and a sense of self-esteem;
  • the importance of developing good relationships with other people;
  • differences between people, for example. gender, religion, race, disability;
  • issues of diversity, prejudice, economic disadvantage. inequality and discrimination.

2. Interdependence

Pupils should have opportunities to develop knowledge, appreciation and understanding of interdependence, continuity and change in social and cultural processes as they relate to families, local communities and the wider world.

The emphasis in early years (Key Stages 1 and 2) is likely to be on interdependence within the family and local community. By Key Stages 3 and 4 the emphasis will have shifted toward an understanding of interdependence within the broader contexts of Britain and Ireland, Europe and the wider world. Activities could include investigation and study of:

  • how people in families, schools and local communities depend on each other;
  • patterns of segregation and integration within society in Northern Ireland (for example, in housing, schooling, employment, marriage);
  • historical, social and economic interdependence between Britain and Ireland;
  • interdependence between countries within the European Union (including in later years issues of ethnicity and nationhood);
  • he social implications of population movements such as migration, migrant workers, refugees;
  • global development issues such as, differences between the northern and southern hemispheres, population growth, food production, famine, world health issues, economic aid, the work of charity and development agencies;
  • ecological concerns such as the preservation of the rain forests, the recycling of resources, the protection of endangered species, soil erosion and farming methods, global warming.

3. Cultural Traditions

Pupils should have opportunities to develop an informed awareness of the similarities and differences between the cultural traditions which influence people who live in Northern Ireland , and of the international and transnational influences on contemporary culture.

In relation to this objective it is anticipated that pupils will develop a growing awareness of the importance of culture and heritage in determining their sense of identity, their language, customs, celebrations and beliefs and to explore what the implications of respect for cultural differences might mean in practice. Activities include:

  • learning about local customs and traditions and how they are perceived by different people in Northern Ireland;
  • an exploration of the concept �parity of esteem� and its implications for day to day life in Northern Ireland;
  • learning about cultural traditions which have influenced life in Northern Ireland, past and present;
  • awareness of the influence which people from this region have had on other parts of the world;
  • consideration of a range of artifacts, customs and festivals which have their origins in other parts of the world;
  • awareness of transnational influences such as Western popular music, cinema and television;
  • consideration of factors which preserve, change or destroy cultures;
  • consideration of positive and negative consequences of cultural diversity.

4. Understanding conflict

Pupils should have opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of conflict in a variety of contexts and how to respond to it positively and creatively.

In relation to this objective pupils should have opportunities to consider various ways in which difference can lead to interpersonal, social, cultural and moral conflicts. They should be encouraged to develop a personal moral code based on respect for human rights, sensitivity to the views, traditions and values of others and an appreciation of diversity and pluralism. They should be given opportunities to experience various processes of decision-making and to consider their rights and responsibilities within a democratic society. Ultimately pupils should be encouraged to explore how they might become active participants in the politics of civil society. Activities may include those which develop:

  • an awareness of how suffering can be caused by words, gestures, symbols or actions;
  • a consideration of the processes which underly bullying;
  • experience of processes which can help ameliorate conflict;
  • an understanding of how prejudice may lead to conflict between individuals, or within families or peer groups or between communities;
  • an awareness of the nature of intimidation;
  • an awareness of the nature of discrimination;
  • an awareness of the concept of equality of opportunity;
  • an understanding of the need for, and operation of, the law in civil society;
  • an awareness of how power and authority may be used, and the capacity to question its misuse;
  • experience and understanding of various forms of decision-making;
  • an exploration of the principles of democracy and how these translate into different electoral procedures;
  • an examination of the role, aims and work of a range of pressure groups:
  • an awareness of aims of various political parties which operate within Northern Ireland and the European Union;
  • an awareness of attempts to promote international cooperation through organisations such as the United Nations.

By specifying the sort of educational activities which may emerge from each objective a number of things can be achieved. First, of all it creates a more explicit EMU agenda for the whole school to address. Second, it allows teachers from different curriculum areas to identify where particular subjects can develop part of the overall agenda. Third, a more concrete expression of the EMU agenda encourages teachers to visualise specific work which might be undertaken with pupils.

By making it quite clear that the achievement of EMU objectives involves an agenda for the whole school, the burden of covering the complete agenda does not fall to every individual teacher. Rather each teacher is encouraged to contribute to the agenda through their particular strengths and areas of interest. However, this cross-curricular model has given rise to a number of significant issues which involve two further concepts, progression and coherence.

Progression

There are different senses in which the concept of progression can be applied to the teaching of EMU and Cultural Heritage.

One sense of progression is concerned with the relevance of the themes to pupils of different ages (from 5 to 16+). This issue is not unique to EMU/CH since the challenge to all teachers is to undertake work appropriate to the age group concerned. However, it is also the case that some teachers do not immediately see the relevance of some key components of EMU/CH for younger children. For example, the identification of a �political literacy� or an �education for democracy� strand to EMU can be off-putting to many primary school teachers if they assume that the starting point has to focus on the institutions of government or politics in Northern Ireland. An alternative starting point is from the individual experience of younger children (making choices, family decisions, making decisions within the class). In later years similar work may refer to wider contexts (such as how decisions are made within the local community, processes to make decisions when there are competing views, local government). In the later years of schooling the same theme may be developed through more global and universal contexts (such as the way decisions are made at national level, international disputes, interpretations of concepts such as democracy). In this sense, progression involves taking account of the widening experience of pupils as they grow older and a recognition that even the �weightier� components of the themes have their beginnings in the groundwork which is undertaken from the very earliest years of schooling.

Another aspect of progression concerns the expectation that the inclusion of EMU/CH in the formal curriculum would introduce a �cutting edge� in terms of issues relevant to society in Northern Ireland and the contemporary conflict in the region. A �gradient� of this kind involves the expectation that the themes would help children understand the complexity of the conflict within their own society (in other words, it would progress toward more conceptually challenging issues for pupils). However, it is widely recognised by teachers that many of the more conceptually difficult issues, in the context of Northern Ireland, are also the more emotionally charged. This is because neither teachers nor pupils come at them from a �value free� position. They are members of various communities, each with their own perspectives, traditions and beliefs and these can give rise to strong emotions when controversial aspects of life in Northern Ireland are addressed. There is a considerable anxiety amongst teachers about their ability to deal with this emotional component to learning. In part this is expressed through comments that Initial training concentrated mostly on the cognitive rather than the emotive aspects of learning. In part through expressions that movement into more controversial issues leaves teachers vulnerable to parental disapproval or that such discussions may �get out of hand� and lead to a loss of control and authority on the part of the teacher.

In educational terms, the point about progression is that it is not something which �just happens�, but involves considerable forethought on the part of teachers, individually and collectively. Neither is it one dimensional. For example. progression of a human rights thread to EMU might encourage younger children to express their views on childrens� rights. A progression of this is to consider the needs of others and responsibilities which go along with rights. With older pupils it becomes possible to address the implications of documents such as the International Declaration of Human Rights. However, progression will also take account of the need to increasingly challenge pupils in the cognitive sense (for example, by raising questions about potential conflicts between individual and group rights or the complexity of concepts such as �the right to self-determination�). Added to this. progression has implications for movement into locally controversial issues (such as the morality of political violence, human rights in relation to policing and the administration of justice. the rights of political prisoners and victims of violence). Such issues have a strong emotive dimension.

The concept of progression is therefore a complex one. Teachers in Northern Ireland are well practised in identifying work which is appropriate to the age of pupils involved and in planning for progression toward more intellectually demanding learning. In relation to the objectives of EMU/CH the weakest aspects of progression are in recognising the link between groundwork in the early years and key components in the later years, and the difficulty which teachers have experienced in moving toward more controversial aspects of the themes because of the emotional dimensions of learning which this brings into play. The latter has not been part of the teaching culture in Northern Ireland. Concerns to �cover the syllabus� and maintain order and control within the classroom have proved more pressing tasks for teachers which do not create a climate conducive to risk-taking In this area.

Coherence

The notion of coherence within and across the school curriculum has been highlighted by the introduction of a statutory curriculum which is common to all schools. Part of the rationale for such a curriculum is that, irrespective of the school they attend, every pupil is entitled to experience a similar range of areas of learning in a broad and balanced way. This in turn has given rise to a plethora of issues about what constitutes a broad and balanced curriculum and how this is manifested in terms of the attention given to various areas of study within the school timetable (Hargreaves, 1989). The early years of curriculum reform have often been characterised as a politically charged struggle between different subject disciplines to secure timetabled space within the curriculum.

Even if it were possible to arrive at consensus on the particular permutation of subjects and activities which constitute a broad and balanced curriculum, there would still be the question of whether it makes any sense when its various parts are considered as a whole. A curriculum without coherence would simply represent a collection of disparate and unrelated areas of study. The likely impact would be to confuse rather than enlighten young people.

This suggests that there are two ways to think about coherence. The first is primarily related to content of the curriculum -within subjects, across subjects and at different levels of learning. In this sense, a curriculum which is coherent is one which can be planned rationally and will exhibit linkages and crossovers between subjects.

A second way to think about coherence focuses on how it is experienced by pupils. From this perspective the test of a coherent curriculum is not based solely on the connections as perceived by those who design or implement it, but more importantly by those who have to make sense of it on a daily basis. If a curriculum is coherent in this way then pupils will readily see connections between different subject areas and be able to identify more holistic messages and agendas which the curriculum conveys.

It is in relation to the notion of coherence that the implementation of EMU, along with other cross curricular themes, has come in for most criticism. Such criticism can be understood at a number of levels.

At a general level the main criticism has been that the concept of a cross curricular theme may prove to be an ineffectual strategy for delivering the curriculum. Such criticism draws attention to the nature of protectionism which surrounds many subject disciplines within most schools. This, in turn, tends to develop a hierarchy of academic, timetabled subjects and mitigates against interdisciplinary planning and cooperation. The level of curriculum integration may be better at primary level, but this sharply changes in the transition to secondary education. Within this climate it is to be expected that themes such as EMU are perceived to be of marginal importance and it is difficult to generate the sort of collective planning across subjects which is crucial to maintaining coherence.

At the level of content, EMU has suffered from its unanticipated inclusion in the formal curriculum on two counts. Its prestatutory associations with cross community contact have dominated the way it is perceived, and it has yet to develop a clear agenda within the formal curriculum in terms of specific issues to be addressed (the example provided on pages 16-19 was generated by a CCEA working group, but would not be widely disseminated within the system).

At the level of the way pupils perceive the coherence of EMU two important pieces of evidence have emerged. The first is a project based at the Institute of Education, University of London (Whitty, Rowe and Aggleton. 1994) which studied the implementation of the cross curricular themes in secondary schools in England and Wales. A parallel study was carried out in Northern Ireland. The findings concluded that the themes in England and Wales were difficult to identify at classroom level and suggested that the extent to which they had permeated core curriculum subjects and Personal and Social Education (PSE) was extremely limited. The report commended the stronger commitment from the Inspectorate in Northern Ireland to look for evidence of the theme�s Impact at classroom level. The findings suggest that the statutory status of the themes in Northern Ireland mean that their traces may be more evident in curriculum planning. However, the overall picture from pupils was of a fragmented experience with little evidence to suggest that they perceived a coherent agenda from the themes. There was a further implication that pupils from less advantaged backgrounds are least able to undertake the conceptual task of fitting disparate pieces of the themes together.

A second piece of evidence concerning the way pupils perceive coherence across the Northern Ireland Curriculum has emerged from a pilot cohort study commissioned by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. Findings are necessarily tentative and have yet to be published, but the initial indications are that it will raise similar questions about the extent to which pupils discern coherent messages from the cross curricular themes. The overall message is that, to make sense of the curriculum, pupils may use quite different conceptual frameworks from those assumed by teachers. Again the picture is of pupils perceiving the themes in a fragmented way. However, a diary exercise involving twenty Year 8 pupils identifies EMU as the most visible and cross curricular of the themes and confirms the picture from earlier research (Smith and Robinson. 1992) that English, History, R.E. and PSE are experienced as the main carriers of EMU. The study highlights a dilemma for teachers between flagging the themes in more explicit fashion and a natural resistance to introducing the themes into the teaching of their subjects in an artificial way.

 

Summary

  1. In curricular terms, the introduction of EMU to a statutory framework has helped clarify the values which those working within formal education are being asked to promote. This has been helpful in disassociating the theme from narrow political objectives.
  2. There are overriding concerns about the extent to which the themes are evident at classroom level.
  3. Despite concerns about the overall visibility, initial evidence suggests that, of the six cross curricular themes, EMU is one of the most discernible to pupils. Cultural Heritage has a much lower profile.
  4. The complimentary nature of the two themes suggest that they should be formally amalgamated into one theme (EMU) with a single set of four objectives.
  5. The impact of EMU continues to be limited by the fact that teachers find it elusive. No clear agenda has emerged. It would be helpful if curriculum guidance identified the components of a more specific agenda for EMU.
  6. Two important areas for educational development are noticeably absent from most current activities undertaken as part of EMU. One is a focus on civil and human rights and the other is a concern to encourage young people�s understanding and participation in political processes.
  7. Civics, human rights and education for political participation are particularly relevant strands of EMU at a time when the broader society supports a commitment to political dialogue rather than political violence.

  8. During the initial statutory years of EMU within the curriculum there is little evidence that teachers have been able to develop progression towards approaches to address the more controversial aspects of EMU.
  9. Inspection reports and research studies have drawn attention to the difficulties which schools encounter in developing coherence in the way that educational themes such as EMU are planned and implemented across different subjects and years of schooling.

The prospect of a moritorium on further curriculum change that has been promised by government now offers a five-year period for some of these long term issues to be addressed.

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Chapter two

A framework for
implementation within schools

 

The previous chapter has highlighted how the lack of a clear agenda. lack of established practice and uncertainties about the cross curricular approach have all led to criticisms about the enthusiasm with which schools have taken to the implementation of EMU in the initial statutory years (1992-95). Further confusion has existed because of distinctions between what schools are required to do In relation to EMU by statute�; what they are encouraged to do in relation to cross community contact as a voluntary demonstration of their commitment to EMU; and what many teachers considered It made sense to do in terms of making the theme workable in practice.

Initially, most attention has been given to how various subject areas would contribute to the aims and objectives of EMU. This was required by law and applied to every teacher. A debate emerged, which has never been fully resolved, about whether every subject could contribute to EMU to the same extent. There was considerable resentment from many teachers who felt they were being asked to introduce elements of the themes into the teaching of their subject in an artificial way. Alongside this a number of schools have increased their involvement in links with other schools to evidence their commitment to EMU through voluntary, cross community contact. It soon became clear that neither the statutory nor the voluntary manifestations of EMU alone represented a viable strategy. School-based coordinators of EMU increasingly recognised the necessity of a more comprehensive framework for the development of EMU within the whole school. The rudiments of such a framework began to emerge through a second conference called The EMU Promoting school which was organised as part of the formative process of this evaluation.

The EMU Promoting School

By the end of 1993 the climate for development changed in a number of significant ways. Government began to recognise the need to ease the pace of education reform as schools encountered the main changes involved in English, Mathematics and Science. Although the cross-curricular themes were no further up the priority list, most schools now had coordinators in place who were beginning to gain some experience of clarifying their role and raising levels of awareness amongst staff colleagues. In addition, each Education and Library Board had now identified personnel with particular responsibility for EMU (although mostly not permanent posts) and their experience of the �field conditions� into which EMU was being introduced was beginning to accumulate.

In the wake of EMU in Transition the emphasis turned to development within various domains of the education system as a prerequisite to participation in the broader picture. For example, the Education and Library Boards moved toward the establishment of an inter-Board panel for EMU and cooperation between Board personnel increased in terms of pooling resources and developing common strategies for supporting teachers in schools; a group representative of higher education and the teacher training colleges was convened and met on a number of occasions to generate an overview of their contribution to EMU; voluntary organisations continued to meet in a common forum known as FOCUS and put proposals to the Department of Education regarding the co-ordination of EMU within that sector and with other sectors.

The interaction of these various interest groups led to the articulation of a broad framework for the implementation of EMU at school level which distinguished between activities relevant to the whole school, activities at curriculum level and activities which involved the school in contact with individuals and other agencies as part of a commitment to the improvement of community relations.

EMU and the whole school ethos

It became clear that the potential for the development of EMU through the whole-school ethos includes consideration of aspects such as the atmosphere within the school, whole-school activities, the nature of internal relationships, the pastoral care programme and discipline policy.

It was acknowledged that there may be tensions between the aims and objectives of EMU and some aspects of the school and how it functions. For example, as institutions schools are partly concerned with socialisation and control and this is often manifest by an uneven distribution of power and influence which can work contrary to, or be mobilised in favour of EMU. Further tensions may arise as the school responds to different expectations from government, parents, governors, the Churches, the media and local political interests.

This underlined that a strong, visible and supportive lead from senior management is crucial for the successful implementation of EMU, but also that this would necessitate a process of critical analysis within management Itself. It was suggested that a style of management which is consistent with the aims and objectives of EMU would be consultative and collaborative; willing to negotiate and delegate; respect the opinions of others; be seen to give active support and be well Informed. A commitment to generate and sustain high levels of morale and self-esteem amongst teachers and pupils was regarded as a necessary foundation for the successful implementation of EMU.

EMU and the curriculum

The potential for the development of EMU through the formal curriculum was addressed in terms of curriculum content, processes and methodology, and controversial issues within the curriculum.

The contribution of various subjects or areas of study to EMU and Cultural Heritage received considerable attention in the initial years following curriculum reform. This was due partly to the fact that the working parties on educational themes were convened in advance of working parties which generated the programmes of study and attainment targets for the main subject areas. Opportunities for the development of educational themes were therefore built into programmes of study from the outset. The original reports from these working parties still provide useful points of reference for heads of department and subject teachers who wish to identify in detail where there are opportunities for the development of educational themes through various subjects.

By 1993 most schools had undertaken some form of curriculum audit to highlight where coverage of the educational themes was taking place within individual subjects. For many teachers this meant reaffirming that their teaching programmes were addressing the objectives of EMU and Cultural Heritage. For others it meant adapting programmes so that the objectives are addressed more explicitly. NICC also undertook an audit of the cross curricular themes to assist schools with the review process and the findings were published as draft working papers (NICC, 1993).

Concerns were expressed that curriculum audits should not be used as a mechanism to claim on paper what is not happening in practice; that teachers recognise the opportunities, strengths and limitations to the development of EMU and Cultural Heritage through their own subjects, rather than feel obliged to contrive artificial' linkages with the themes; and that a consideration of appropriate teaching methodologies, and an aspiration to progress toward sensitive or more controversial topics, are an integral part of developing EMU and Cultural Heritage through subject areas.

Teaching methods and learning processes

A distinction was drawn between 'methods� (concerned more with teaching strategies and the organisation of learning) and 'processes� (concerned more with the feelings, emotional interactions and interpersonal or intergroup dynamics which can be invoked when addressing issues about culture, identity and difference).

Most teachers have a repertoire of teaching methods and strategies which are valuable and consistent with the aims and objectives of EMU (for example: small group work which encourages interaction and cooperation between pupils; experience of working within mixed ability groups; and opportunities for pupils to have direct experience of democratic, consensual or other forms of decision making). However, it became clear that many teachers would welcome training and support which would strengthen their confidence in the emotive and affective aspects to learning which come to the fore through themes such as EMU and Cultural Heritage. In part this would mean that teachers have opportunities to consider how their own values, attitudes and cultural background Influence what and how they teach. Another dimension might involve extended, practical experience of the dynamics of discussion within culturally diverse groups.

�Controversial� issues

It was recognised that virtually every area of the curriculum contains potentially controversial issues. Whilst EMU and Cultural Heritage can lead to many interpretations and variations on the theme of respect for others, interdependence, cultural diversity and understanding conflict, they also carry a particular responsibility within the Northern Ireland Curriculum to address issues which relate to relationships between the Catholic and Protestant communities. Because teachers and pupils are not just dispassionate observers, this means there is considerable potential for controversy and misunderstanding.

Teachers face the challenge of how to address divisive issues constructively and with sensitivity, so that the emotional as well as the cognitive basis for conflict Is acknowledged. For example, it is not just interpretations of Irish History which can be disputed and controversial. Deciding whether to challenge a pupil who has just made a sectarian comment may be just as controversial and potentially more explosive if handled badly. This implies that staff need opportunities to:

  • identify explicitly topics which relate directly to Northern Ireland within various programmes of study;
  • anticipate where controversy concerning these may arise;
  • accumulate direct experience of working with controversial issues related to Northern Ireland;
  • discuss collectively with colleagues how prejudice and sectarianism might be challenged within the context of the school (and how the support of parents might be achieved).

Decisions on these issues cannot be made on a once and for all basis, but will require professional judgment and review on the part of senior management and staff which takes account of:

  • appropriate activities for different age groups:
  • the extent of progression� toward more difficult issues�;
  • local sensitivities and shifts in current events.

Comparative studies to illustrate similar issues in other countries are valuable but reservations were expressed at the conference about assuming pupils will see connections between different social contexts and draw corollaries for themselves.

EMU and community relations

The conference clarified the considerable potential for the development of EMU through relationships involving �the community�. A range of relationships and extra-curricular activities which include pupils, parents, other schools and organisations are involved. A framework for these activities emerged which places the school and its pupils at the centre of an expanding set of relationships at three levels:

  • relationships within a specific or local community;
  • cross community relationships:
  • the school within the wider world (national and international).

Some general points also emerged:

  • Governors are usually drawn from the local community and some schools encourage active involvement by nominating governors to take a special interest in EMU and links with the community:
  • Parents are the most obvious link between the school and the community and parental support for the aims and objectives of EMU and Cultural Heritage is crucial. Alongside a statutory responsibility to report to parents on progress in EMU, many schools take active steps to inform, reassure and involve parents, for example, through including them in school outings or drawing on their experiences as part of Cultural Heritage studies;
  • Other institutions can be potential resources for educational work within the community. Organisations related to the local Churches, the media, environmental and community action groups can provide the focus for projects which meet the aims and objectives of EMU and Cultural Heritage;
  • Cross community contact through links between schools of all types (grammar, secondary, special, single-sex, denominational, integrated) can provide pupils with practical experience of differences within our society. Links between teachers are equally important and illustrate by example that variety and difference can offer possibilities for cooperation as well as competition or conflict;
  • Voluntary agencies provide valuable support for curriculum, cross-community and residential projects and many groups offer support for work which links into national and international themes.

Summary

1. During the initial years of its introduction to the statutory curriculum it has become clear that the aims and objectives of EMU will not be secured through a minimalist approach which solely requires teachers to incorporate the theme within their subject areas. A more comprehensive framework which includes the commitment of teachers on whole school issues as well as some voluntary involvement in cross community contact will be required.

2. The aims and objectives of EMU have important implications for issues of whole school concern including the nature of relationships within the school and its policies for discipline and pastoral care.

3. The statutory requirement to incorporate the aims and objectives of EMU within areas of study in the curriculum has important implications for the teaching methods and learning processes within the school.

4. The inclusion of EMU within the statutory curriculum carries an implicit expectation that, as part of their teaching, teachers will attempt to address issues which are relevant to community division within contemporary society in Northern Ireland.

5. There is an expectation that the inclusion of EMU within the statutory curriculum will draw attention to the role of the school as a focal point for relationships within and between communities.

Whilst this framework has become clearer during the initial years of EMU within the Northern Ireland Curriculum, it Is by no means widespread and it remains to be seen to what extent schools are willing to move beyond minimalist, statutory interpretations of EMU in practice.

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Chapter three

Roles and responsibilities

 

One effect of EMU becoming statutory was that every teacher had to take account of its implications. However, during the initial years this was generally accepted to mean that individual teachers could reassure themselves that the minimum statutory requirement was met so long as some aspect of the objectives were included within the teaching schemes for their own subject. This represented a minimalist approach and was inconsistent with the spirit of development advocated by activists during the pre-statutory period. The emergence of a holistic framework for implementation (such as that identified in the previous chapter) represents a step away from minimalist, statutory interpretations toward a more comprehensive and spirited approach.

Once EMU and CH are perceived as more than simply elements of content permeated through different subject areas then the role of management becomes more significant. During the initial, statutory years there has been some clarification of the role of various personnel within the school in the implementation of EMU. In particular. there has been some differentiation of the part to be played by teachers involved at the levels of senior management, middle management and the whole staff

Senior management

Within schools senior management is usually focused in three ways - through the Board of Governors, the Principal, and if the school is large enough, a senior management group. Ideally, shared decision-making and collegiate styles of management are consistent with the aims and objectives of EMU, but the reality in most schools tends to be hierarchical. Where respect for self and others is at the heart of the school, this represents a unifying theme which underpins all decisions and actions of senior management. If genuine commitment does not exist at this level, it will soon become evident and implementation is likely to be superficial and 'half-hearted�.

Statements from the Board of Governors, or lack of them, send messages to the community, to parents and to those working within the school. Governors can make a significant contribution through statements of support which help create a positive climate for EMU and Cultural Heritage. Governors have ultimate responsibility for recruitment, job descriptions and interviewing and these all provide opportunities to make the school�s commitment to EMU and Cultural Heritage clear to prospective staff. Governors also bear responsibility for policy, although policy development is likely to be more effective where it is negotiated and built up from the experience and good practice of teachers. Governors may wish to regard policy on EMU and Cultural Heritage as a working document which is reviewed regularly, perhaps as part of the process leading to a statement on EMU in the Annual Report to parents.

Change of governors can introduce inconsistencies and the Principal has a particular role in maintaining continuity. In terms of leadership, the personal commitment of the Principal was identified as the single most influential factor in determining how actively the aims and objectives of EMU and Cultural Heritage are pursued. The value ascribed to the themes may be reflected in the extent to which the Principal Includes business related to EMU on the agenda of meetings; assigns status, staff development time and resources to the coordinator; allocates planning time to teachers or releases them for courses and activities.

Middle management

Middle management in schools is often taken to include heads of department, heads of year, committees, subject and theme coordinators and any EMU advisory or steering group which exists within the school. It is accepted that these structures are more relevant to second-level schools. Within larger primary schools the bridge between senior management and the rest of the staff is sometimes focused through a curriculum committee or coordinator. In small primary schools these roles are concentrated into a group which may comprise the full teaching complement of the school, perhaps two or three teachers. Communication and coordination may appear more straightforward, but it also means that primary teachers carry responsibility for the implementation of reforms across all subjects and themes. Within second-level education roles are more specialist.

Heads of year have opportunities to ensure that the aims and objectives of EMU are incorporated into pastoral care provision and their involvement in the implementation of discipline policy also means that they are well placed to monitor and evaluate how consistent these are with EMU objectives. For example, the extent to which the school has a positive approach to discipline by developing preventative measures on issues such as bullying.

Heads of department have a role in identifying opportunities for EMU and Cultural Heritage within the programmes of study; for monitoring the extent to which these opportunities are being used in practice; for encouraging staff to reflect on the teaching methods they use and to consider how their department�s resources and teaching materials take account of EMU and Cultural Heritage.

Committees within the school are a valuable way of drawing on the strengths of staff at different stages in their career. The curriculum committee can provide a useful focus to address the implications of EMU and Cultural Heritage for whole school Issues and usually maintains a level of contact across disciplines. This means it is well placed to monitor and collate the results of curriculum audits in different subjects to ascertain the extent to which progression� and coherence� are being achieved. Some schools have also established subcommittees or special interest groups to support the work of the EMU coordinator within the school.

Coordinators for EMU and/or Cultural Heritage have been appointed by over three-quarters of second level schools. When appointed there are demands on coordinators to suggest a framework for the implementation of EMU; to raise levels of awareness about EMU and Cultural Heritage within the school; and to establish a realistic plan of action over a period of years based on the needs of the school.

Depending on the priorities within the individual school, this is likely to include plans for audit and curriculum review; review and development of resources; plans for staff development; participation in policy development and liaison with individuals and groups and organisations, internal and external to the school. There is an obvious danger that this workload is devolved solely to the coordinator with the result that others feel no compulsion to act. For this reason it is important that coordinators do not operate in isolation. They need opportunities to meet with other coordinators of EMU (for example, through local cluster groups facilitated by the Boards); with coordinators of other educational themes within the school; and support in following through their action plan. for example, by generating a support group which includes the sceptical as well as individuals with commitment. Such a group would be well placed to review progress and identify indicators which demonstrate the extent to which the agreed plan of action had been achieved.

The whole staff

The whole staff of a school can be taken to include every class teacher and member of the clerical, ancillary and part-time staff associated with the school. A common sense of purpose is more likely when all individuals associated with the school have a clear idea of what is expected of them. Working relationships and the way business is conducted at meetings all contribute to an atmosphere where self-esteem and respect for others is expected and valued.

Individual staff can support the overall aims of EMU and Cultural Heritage regarding the ethos, curriculum and community dimensions of the school in a number of practical ways. In many cases these include activities which schools already undertake, but which they have not linked together through the aims and objectives of EMU and Cultural Heritage. They include:

whole-school ethos

  • the contribution of assemblies, liturgies and whole school events
  • the charitable work of the school
  • valuing the aesthetic and affective as well as the academic
  • showing commitment to the pastoral care system
  • as form teachers, identifying the issues which might be tackled in a Personal and Social Education programme
  • contributing to a system of positive discipline
  • being supportive of colleagues
  • being willing to discuss with colleagues issues affecting the school, for example, concerning symbols, sectarian violence
  • treating critical opinion with respect
  • avoiding �put downs� of pupils and colleagues

curriculum

  • as class teachers to take advantage of opportunities within each subject to address EMU and Cultural Heritage
  • consider opportunities for interdisciplinary work and draw attention to relationships between different disciplines
  • support initiatives introduced by the coordinator
  • be prepared to review classroom management and open to approaches which adopt �active learning� and group work
  • adopt a critical stance to teaching style and be prepared to reflect on its effect on pupils

community relations

  • consider the characteristics and expectations of the community� which the school serves and discuss with staff how the aims and objectives of EMU and Cultural Heritage relate to this community
  • consider how stronger links with parents could be developed, for example, by including them as resources for Cultural Heritage, as representatives of community based organisations, as helpers in field work, as hosts during cultural exchange programmes
  • consider how school charities relate to the needs of the local, national and international communities
  • review the range of links with other institutions and the extent to which they give pupils insight into organisations associated with different traditions e.g. British Legion, St. Vincent de Paul
  • invite a broad range of speakers from different traditions within the local community to talk about their work or organisation
  • look for opportunities to undertake joint work with schools from a different cultural tradition
  • invite other schools to school events, concerts, productions
  • consider how links can be �institutionalised� in the sense that they are not the sole responsibility of individuals (and therefore less likely to cease as personnel change)

 

Summary

1.The most important factor in developing EMU in a comprehensive way throughout the school is the support and commitment afforded the programme by the Principal and senior management.

2.It is crucial that coordinators for EMU do not become isolated, but develop effective links with senior management and support networks which involve colleagues.

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Chapter four

The Cross Community Contact Scheme

 

In 1969 government established a Community Relations Commission which was later disbanded by the power-sharing Executive in 1974. At that time some of the Commission�s responsibilities for community relations transferred to the Department of Education (DENI). DENI supported a number of community relations initiatives in education during the period 1982-87 and by the late 1980s government adopted a more explicit community relations policy. This included the establishment of a Central Community Relations Unit (CCRU) to ensure that statutory bodies take account of the community relations implications of their policies. The unit also supported the establishment of a Northern Ireland Community Relations Council which incorporated the activities of a Cultural Traditions Group. and supported the establishment of community relations programmes within Borough Councils.

Funding for community relations

During 1995-96 total government expenditure on community relations and cultural traditions activities through CCRU and DENI, Community Relations Branch was estimated to be �8.74 million (Hinds, 1995) - see Appendix A.

Out of this total the Department of Education, Community Relations Branch provided just over �3 million in 199 5-96 for a range of community relations activities which included:

i) Core funding to museums. arts and cultural centres to support a cultural traditions programme (�785,000);

ii) Core funding for a number of reconciliation bodies, childrens� holiday schemes and voluntary agencies involved in community relations work with young people (�827,000);

iii) Programmes costs for a Cross Community Contact Scheme to support links between schools (�1,100,000);

iv) Support scheme for a community relations programme within the Youth Services (�110,000 to headquarter bodies and �311,000 to Education and Library Boards).

These programmes are administered directly by the Branch except the Youth Scheme which was been devolved to the Youth Council for Northern Ireland (YCNI) and the Education and Library Boards (European Bureau and YCNI, 1996).

The Cross Community Contact Scheme

The Cross Community Contact Scheme was established in 1987 "with the object of encouraging schools and youth groups to bring together young people from across the community through ongoing constructive and collaborative activities which lead to greater mutual understanding" (DENI 1991).

Whilst EMU, identified in legislation as a Cross Curricular Theme, Is a mandatory part of the curriculum, participation in cross-community contact is voluntary. Schools are encouraged to view activities which involve cross-community contact as an important and practical means of developing EMU. An evaluation of the Scheme by the Inspectorate indicated that two-thirds of the joint work seen was of high quality and that pupils were deriving both educational and social benefit from participating in it� (DENI. 1991).

Schools involved in the Scheme

The number of schools involved in the Cross Community Contact Scheme has continued to increase. In 1987-8 less than 15 per cent of all schools made successful applications for funding; by 199 1-2 this had more than doubled to 33 per cent of all schools (23 per cent of all primary schools and 39 per cent of all post-primary schools); figures for 1994-5 indicate that this increase has continued with 45% of all schools involved in the Scheme (42% of primary schools and 59% of post-primary schools).

There are variations between the percentage of schools participating in different Education and Library Board areas (see Appendix B). To understand such variations a complex range of variables would need to be taken into account. These include the following points:

The overall demography of a Board area is likely to affect the number of schools involved in cross community contact. For example, the ratio of Catholic maintained schools to predominantly Protestant� controlled schools will have a bearing on the number of cross community partnerships which can be formed. Local political climates within Board areas may vary and this is likely to influence whether individual schools are able to become involved in cross community contact. Geographical and residential segregation also create impediments for schools wishing to establish links within a reasonable travelling distance. The opportunities to link with schools in the same neighbourhood may be greater for schools in an urban environment than for isolated, rural schools. Proximity to the location of the Scheme�s administrative base may be a further factor in terms of school participation to the extent that the Scheme is perceived to be remote or accessible for practical or psychological reasons.

Finally, there are clearly perceptions within the system that some Boards are more committed to EMU than others, although It is not clear how this relates in a causal way to the number of schools which participate in cross community contact. For example, it might be assumed there is a straightforward relationship between participation rates in the Scheme and Board support for EMU. However, an alternative suggestion from one respondent is that Boards that do not provide a strong lead which encourages schools to take an holistic view of EMU may find that more schools become involved in cross community contact because they have no broader vision of how EMU can also be developed within the whole school and within the curriculum.

The overall number of schools participating in the Scheme during 1994-95 academic year is as follows:

 

PRIMARY

SECONDARY

Controlled

218

65

Voluntary

5

38

Catholic maintained

206

50

Other maintained

9

0

Controlled integrated

1

1

Grant maintained integrated

3

2

     

Total no of schools in Scheme

442

156

Total no of schools in N. Ireland

1060

263

% of all schools in the Scheme

42%

59%

(Source: DENI Community Relations Branch, 1995)

Pupil Involvement in cross community contact

The participation rates above are in terms of schools and only go some way towards telling us how many pupils have had the experience of cross community contact. Although it is difficult to collate precise numbers, DENI Community Relations Branch has estimated that less than 20% of primary and less than 10% of secondary pupils were involved in a cross community contact programme during 1994-95 (just over 40,000 out of almost 350,000 schoolchildren in Northern Ireland).

It may be unrealistic to expect that every pupil will have the opportunity of cross community contact during every year of their statutory education. A more realistic target might be that every pupil has the opportunity to participate in a cross community programme on at least two or three occasions during their school career. DENI records of the Scheme suggest that many schools have evolved inter school programmes with particular age groups, or in particular subject areas, which work well and are repeated year after year. Some schools have operated such programmes since the Scheme was established in 1987. However, the records provide limited evidence about the educational benefits and quality of programmes. This suggests a number of things:

  • that schools might be encouraged to take a more strategic approach to contact programmes, for example, by identifying a small number of programmes which operate every year:
  • that a school may then concentrate on the fundamental aims and quality of the programmes and take a more thoughtful approach to how progression might be achieved within programmes. and between programmes in the early years and those further up the school;
  • that the Community Relations Branch might play a more formative role in monitoring the quality of programmes.

Future administration of the Scheme

A previous report from this research (Smith and Robinson. 1992) suggested that some consideration should be given to whether the Scheme should be devolved to Education and Library Boards. The rationale was that this would place the administration of the Scheme closer to Board personnel who are responsible for direct support to schools at local level. However, at that time there were also reservations within the system about the level of commitment and support from different Boards for cross community contact as part of EMU.

A number of developments have taken place during the past three years which change the climate in which this discussion is taking place. The following points are now relevant:

  • devolution of the Scheme would be consistent with current government policy to devolve central administrative functions where possible;
  • youth services through the Youth Council and Education and Library Boards has already taken place and an evaluation has taken place (European Bureau and Youth Council for Northern Ireland. 1996);
  • the establishment of an inter Board panel for EMU has taken place and this should increase the potential for coherent policy development and cooperation between Boards;
  • the fact that government has now promised a period of stability regarding the curriculum may create a more receptive climate within schools and the opportunity for Boards to afford greater priority to EMU.

Devolution of the Cross Community Contact Scheme at some point is widely accepted as inevitable. However, significant reservations remain regarding two sets of issues:

Firstly are concerns, particularly from non-governmental organisations and reconciliation bodies, about arrangements for core funding.

Secondly are concerns from practitioners in all sectors that any devolution of the funding scheme for schools should include a number of conditions and safeguards regarding the way the Scheme functions in the future.

There are distinct issues related to each area of concern and these are now considered separately.

Core funding for NGOs

During 1995-96 the DENI, Community Relations Branch provided just over �576,000 towards core funding for 19 nongovernmental groups (NGOs) and projects which are Involved in the general area of community relations and schools (see Appendix C). The Branch also administers European funding for a number of additional projects and programmes (see Appendix A).

In a number of cases the rationale for funding an organisation has been historical precedent. Most organisations do not limit their activities to within a single Education Board area and many would be unsure of Boards longer term commitment to support them. Those working within non-governmental organisations are aware of the financial constraints on Boards. The range of financial demands on Board budgets, coupled with a perception that Board decisions can be susceptible to party politics at local level, contribute to a sense of insecurity within NGOs. The lack of Board support for a collective request to DENI from voluntary agencies for resources would seem to support NGO anxieties about any transfer of core funding responsibilities from the Department to Education and Library Boards.

There appear to be sufficient reservations within the system to suggest that, for the immediate future, responsibility for the core funding of NGOs should not be devolved to ELBs. The alternative is for this aspect of the Scheme to remain with DENI Community Relations Branch. However, in retaining responsibility for core funding the Department has an opportunity to introduce a number of refinements to the way the Scheme is administered. These include the following:

  • Community Relations Branch should be encouraged to develop a formal set of criteria for the funding of NGOs so that it becomes clearer how the activities of individual organisations fit into the overall policy initiative:
  • Criteria for the core funding programme should be published and the funding of organisations placed on a 3 year cycle. This should create a better sense of stability within the system and assist NGOs in forward planning;
  • Community Relations Branch should initiate an annual review of funding so that an organisation receives at least a two year notification if funding is to terminate. This would mean that an appropriate exit strategy could be devised.

A remaining concern, should responsibility for the administration of core funding be retained by DENI, is that there should be some co-ordination between Community Relations Branch decisions to core fund and ELB policies and activities on the ground. Such consultation could be part of a regular cycle of meetings between DENI and the EMU Inter Board Panel.

Devolving the Cross Community Contact Scheme (Schools)

There are compelling reasons for the devolving the administration of the Cross Community Contact Scheme (Schools) to Education and Library Boards (ELBs). Significantly it would place resources alongside those providing field support within local communities and provide an ideal opportunity for ELBs to renew their commitment to cross community contact as a strategy to promote Education for Mutual Understanding.

Arrangements for devolving the Scheme may wish take the following points into consideration and, where appropriate, firm agreements between DENI and the ELBs should be secured:

  • When the Scheme was established in 1987, DENI also made funds available to ELBs for the establishment of advisory posts for EMU. This funding became, and remains, part of the annual recurrent funding to ELBs. In two cases full-time advisory posts for EMU have been established. In the case of three other Boards, responsibility for EMU has been included with a range of other duties. In so far as it is possible, DENI should secure agreements from Boards that the devolution of funding will be accompanied by the establishment of permanent advisory positions for EMU In each Board area.
  • There are concerns that professional advisory positions will become simply administrative positions if the Scheme is devolved. Administrative savings made centrally by devolving the Scheme should be passed on to the Boards.
  • There is a danger that the devolution of the Scheme to the Boards gives an over-emphasis on contact to the detriment of more holistic development of EMU within schools and through the curriculum. Boards should be asked to put forward proposals as to how they will provide a comprehensive programme of support for EMU. This should include adequate provision for curriculum support and in-service education and training.
  • Consultation on the amount of funding to be disbursed through each Board would need to be undertaken. However, it may be simplistic to rely on a pro rata arrangement based solely on numbers of schools or historical involvement in the Scheme.
  • Boards should have the flexibility to use some funding for imaginative programmes, for example, those which represent particularly significant curriculum developments in EMU, conferences etc. The level might be capped to a percentage of overall funds available and / or Boards may be required to make decisions regarding the use of such funds collectively.
  • The number of days available for teacher cover as part of school contact programmes should be clearly identified and �ring fenced� for that purpose. Boards should be encouraged to take a sympathetic view of requests for teacher cover for the involvement of teachers in curriculum development programmes related to EMU and training opportunities provided by non-governmental bodies.

The establishment of an Inter Board EMU Panel is central to the successful devolution of the Cross Community Contact Scheme for schools. The Panel will have a key role to play within the overall system in terms of co-ordination, policy development and training and these issues are discussed in the next chapters.

Summary

1. The number of schools participating in the Cross Community Contact Scheme in 1994-95 has increased to 45% of all schools (42% of primary schools and 59% of post-primary schools).

2. The number of pupils who have participated in cross community contact programmes is more difficult to determine. One estimate is that during 1994-95 less than 20% of primary and less than 10% of secondary pupils participated in cross community contact programmes organised by schools.

3. It may be unrealistic to expect that every pupil participates in a cross community contact programme every year Schools should be encouraged to concentrate on a small number of annual programmes which offer progression and quality of experience.

4. The Department of Education. Community Relations Branch should retain responsibility for:

  • the administration of core funding for NGOs;
  • the administration of EU education programmes:
  • the monitoring and evaluation of the above programmes.

5. In retaining responsibility for the core funding of NGOs the Department of Education. Community Relations Branch should:

  • develop a coherent set of published criteria for the funding of NGOs:
  • establish 3-year funding cycles which provide early warning if funding is to be terminated;
  • evaluate how the core funding programme helps secure DENI policy objectives for community relations and EMU.

6. The administration of the Cross Community Contact Scheme for schools should be devolved to the Education and Library Boards, but steps should be taken to secure agreements so that:

  • full-time, advisory posts for EMU are created in each Education and Library Board;
  • each ELB receives adequate resources for the administration of the Scheme;
  • each ELB puts forward a comprehensive plan which outlines a strategy for the overall support of EMU (in terms of whole school and curriculum development, cross community contact and provision for in-service training);
  • Boards should have some flexibility to support programmes which do not necessarily involve cross community contact between pupils, but nevertheless contribute to improvements in practice and the development of EMU;
  • The number of teacher cover days available to support cross community contact between schools should be clearly identified, but Boards should also have some flexibility to provide cover for teachers engaged in curriculum development and training related to EMU.

7. Regular co-ordination between the Inter Board EMU Panel and DENI Community Relations Branch should take place.

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Chapter five

Co-ordination within the education system

 

The education system in Northern Ireland represents a complex interplay of statutory. voluntary and academic agencies each with distinct functional responsibilities and organisational cultures. In such an environment it is difficult to sustain coherence and consistency in the way policies are developed and implemented. The introduction of Education for Mutual Understanding to the statutory school curriculum is no exception in this respect.

Previous research (Smith and Robinson, 1992) highlighted the multiple interpretations of EMU which existed within various domains of the education system soon after the theme became statutory. The earlier sections of this report indicate how more defined, conceptual and developmental frameworks have emerged during the initial statutory years (1992-95). However, these are by no means widespread and the dissemination of such frameworks will very much depend on the extent to which co-ordination on matters related to EMU can be achieved between different agencies.

Apart from the schools themselves, the successful implementation of EMU will depend on the development of a collective vision and co-ordination involving the following organisations.

DENI

Various sections within the Department of Education for Northern Ireland have a role in influencing developments relating to policy, funding and the remit of other organisations. In particular, the Inspectorate have a role in ensuring that EMU is taken into account in inspection reports and that the themes are receiving adequate attention in initial teacher training. It is suggested that Community Relations Branch retain responsibility for the core funding of non-governmental. reconciliation bodies and takes on a more formative role in monitoring and evaluating how NGOs contribute to DENI policy objectives in this area. Ultimately those responsible for the formulation of curriculum policy within the Department will need to review the effectiveness of cross curricular strategies for EMU and determine where this area of work sits within the curriculum in the long term.

CCEA

The Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) has a role in monitoring the implementation of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. On the basis of research, monitoring and consultation with teachers, the Council has a remit to generate more specific guidance materials for EMU and to advise government on the nature of future provision within the curriculum.

Education and Library Boards

The Education and Library Boards have responsibility for providing to schools education services, professional advice and support for the Northern Ireland Curriculum. Statutory responsibility for training lies with the five Education and Library Boards which also act collectively through the Regional Training Unit (RTU).

The recent establishment of an Inter Board EMU Panel with representation from each ELB is a positive development and promises to be an important forum for future debate and policy development.

It has been suggested that Boards might take a lead in developing a (3 year) plan of action which would address governors, principals and senior management (including newly appointed principals). co-ordinators and probationary teachers. The purpose of such a plan would be to:

  • re-energise the profile of EMU within schools by raising awareness of the aims, objectives and a more specific agenda for EMU:
  • promote a framework for implementation which draws together the statutory and non-statutory elements at three levels (whole school development, development within the curriculum and development through cross community contact):
  • provide training opportunities related to whole school issues, the curriculum and cross community contact;
  • provide particular support for schools which have difficulty in undertaking cross community contact because of their location:
  • initiate occasional events for schools which raise the profile of EMU and Cultural Heritage:
  • disseminate development projects on issues related to EMU, for example, on bullying and conflict resolution.

CCMS, NICIE, Gaeloiliuint

These bodies have responsibilities in relation to specific types of school. Each can support the development of EMU by drawing attention to any specific implications for the ethos and management of Catholic, Integrated and Irish language schools respectively. Involvement in the development and piloting of projects within religiously or culturally specific environments may offer benefits through wider dissemination. Some consideration might also be given to the relevance of EMU to independent schools in Northern Ireland although the independent Christian schools remain critical of the theme.

Higher education

The Universities and Colleges of Education in Northern Ireland have opportunities to develop partnerships with schools in relation to initial teacher training (ITT), in-service education and training (INSET) and research and development (Robinson, 1988). In general terms the university, Schools of Education and Colleges of Education can contribute to the development of EMU in the following ways:

With regard to initial teacher training three immediate objectives might be to:

  • inform students of the requirements and relevance of EMU and Cultural Heritage right across the curriculum;
  • challenge students thinking about community relations:
  • develop skills which could be transferred to the classroom.

With regard to professional development courses as part of INSET the Universities have opportunities to:

  • ensure that management courses include a component on EMU and Cultural Heritage which covers their implications for the whole school ethos, aims, and development plan;
  • develop texts and source books which provide examples of implementation, raise issues and point to resources;
  • continue to offer non-award bearing courses which focus on EMU and Cultural Heritage.

Those working on research and development within higher education should:

  • support teacher-based research on EMU and Cultural Heritage, for example as part of postgraduate degree studies:
  • undertake long-term evaluation studies of EMU:
  • ensure that the implications and results of research and development projects are disseminated adequately.

Voluntary bodies (NGOs)

There are more than 30 voluntary organisations, projects and cultural heritage centres which offer support to schools for EMU. Although the range of activities is varied, representatives from these groups have identified the need for the following activities:

  • dissemination of information and resources, possibly through a common resource centre;
  • improved co-ordination between NGOs including some financial support;
  • improved liaison with statutory agencies and academic bodies.

Representatives from voluntary agencies have also suggested that the sector has particular strengths in dealing with aspects of EMU which are concerned with the more personal and affective aspects of learning and that teachers should have access to these through the provision of training courses.

Youth and community sectors

A more proactive approach to community relations from government since the 1980s has supported the development of parallel initiatives to EMU in other sectors. The curriculum which has been developed within the Youth Services in Northern Ireland includes specific reference to the improvement of community relations (McGivern and Harvey. 1991) and a funding scheme to support cross community contact between young people is administered by the Youth Council for Northern Ireland and the Education and Library Boards. Similar work has also evolved within the community sector and has been strengthened by the establishment of a Community Relations Council. Local Borough Councils have also appointed Community Relations Officers with a remit to support community relations initiatives.

Traditionally the school, youth and community sectors have been relatively insulated from each other in Northern Ireland yet the young people who live in any local community are likely to come into contact with all of these services. A variety of approaches and methodologies have now emerged from these distinct sectors. This suggests there would be mutual advantage if more opportunities were created for interaction between teachers, youth workers and community activists.

Current levels of co-ordination

There are indications that the level of co-ordination within the education system regarding EMU has improved somewhat during the past three years. Within some Boards there have been moves to establish cluster groups for EMU co-ordinators, but there would be some merit in further networking (via newsletters or computer-based information and resource systems). The establishment of an Inter Board Panel for EMU has already been mentioned as a significant and positive development. During 1993 an informal group of teacher educators from the Universities and Colleges of Education met on a number of occasions to consider how their provision could support EMU, but these meetings have not been sustained. A large number of voluntary and non-governmental bodies continue to meet as a group (FOCUS, 1995) and have sought funding to support their activities. The Department of Education, has recently agreed to fund a consultancy exercise to review the work of FOCUS and to assess its future role with a view to enabling the group to take collective action in support of EMU.

To a greater or lesser degree these developments all represent an improvement in co-ordination within similar domains (between Boards, between voluntary groups, between teacher educators). The absence of a formal structure for interaction and co-ordination between domains remains a significant gap within the overall system. In this respect the Inter Board EMU Panel now seems best placed to take a lead in establishing a more representative structure of the different statutory, voluntary and academic interests which support EMU within the formal education system. It would also seem logical that better linkages be established with those working within the youth and community sectors.

Summary

1. The implementation of EMU would be enhanced by improved levels of co-ordination within the formal education system. To date improvements in the level of co-ordination have been mainly restricted to those working within similar domains (between Boards, between voluntary groups, between teacher educators).

2.The emergence of an Inter Board EMU Panel is a significant and positive development. The Panel should be encouraged to take a lead in creating a co-ordinating structure which is broadly representative of statutory, voluntary and academic interests in EMU.

3. Opportunities should be sought to encourage better coordination and interaction between formal education, the youth services and community activists regarding the improvement of community relations.

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Chapter six

Training and professional development

 

The most commonly encountered set of remarks about EMU within the formal education system concern the lack of training to support its implementation. Such remarks draw attention to the fact that few teachers feel they received any initial training which prepared them for EMU; that senior management need to understand how the theme might be managed within the school: that co-ordinators express the need for more support: and that teachers recognise that EMU draws them into emotive areas of learning which challenges their personal as well as professional development.

Within the overall system there is no coherent or agreed plan to provide training and professional development which supports the implementation of EMU. Instead the picture Is rather fragmented with a range of statutory, voluntary and academic agencies responding to perceived needs in a professional manner, but uncoordinated with each other.

A first step towards developing a more comprehensive and coordinated approach Is to develop a clearer picture of training needs for EMU. Coupled with an overview of who the providers of training might be, this opens up the possibility of a discussion about priorities, about available resources and about a collective approach within which the overall workload is shared between agencies.

Expressions of training need

The identification of training and professional development needs within the overall education system is a complicated issue. Need always far outstrips what It Is possible to provide, both financially and in practical terms. This means that the identification of training needs and priorities can be a highly politicised process with lobbies emerging for training to support different areas of the curriculum; training which attends to the needs of interest groups of different status within the system; and training which concentrates on different aspects of the educational process such as methodology, content or assessment. Recent government policies have also led to a �market economy� in educational training which has given rise to particular difficulties for Education and Library Boards which are discussed below.

Within the context of this evaluation the main opportunities to identify training needs within the system were provided by two conferences. The second of these was representative of different interests within the system and included specific activities to identify training needs for EMU (Smith, 1994).

The representatives from primary and second level schools reiterated the need for training involving governors and the key role of Principals. They felt it was important to generate a school development plan; raise self-esteem amongst teachers: encourage greater use of active learning and group work; involve parents more; include work on EMU and Cultural Heritage in initial teacher training; provide support for probationers; make more use of subject based consortia training; ensure that examples of good practice are disseminated; and provide courses for ancillary staff from different schools, particularly staff involved in dinner and playground supervision.

It became clear that five levels of training to support EMU would need to be addressed. These are:

1. An initiative by the ELBs or RTU directed at governors and principals was considered to be the key to creating an overall climate of support;

2. Training from Boards for coordinators on matters relating to policy and review and to increase the skills involved in carrying out their job:

3. School-based initiatives which raise awareness within the whole teaching staff and include training on methodology and processes such as conflict resolution;

4. The inclusion of appropriate preparation and training on EMU as an integral feature of Initial Teacher Training courses by the Universities and Colleges of Education:

5. OpportunIties for professional development in EMU as a feature of accredited postgraduate courses at Universities (including management courses).

Any overall strategy would need to address each of these levels and would necessitate the co-ordinated action of different training providers.

Training providers

A comprehensive plan for training and professional development to support the implementation of EMU would involve statutory, academic and voluntary providers. The statutory responsibility for the provision of in-service training for teachers to support the Northern Ireland Curriculum rests with the Education and Library Boards which also operate collectively through the Regional Training Unit. The two Universities and two Colleges of Education in Northern Ireland have responsibilities for Initial Teacher Training and for in-service provision through postgraduate professional development courses. A number of voluntary organisations also have significant experience of developing approaches and methodologies which support EMU and would be of benefit to teachers.

Education and Library Boards (ELBs)

There are five Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland. At present the main opportunities for in-service education and training from Education and Library Boards are through:

  • school-based programmes, which work best because they take account of each school�s stage of development, but are costly;
  • centre-based programmes, which utilise exceptional closure days or provide free-standing courses for subject teachers;
  • clustergroups which provide opportunities for co-ordinators or representatives from different schools to come together:
  • regional courses organised through the Regional Training Unit.

The process for the identification of training needs and priorities by Education and Library Boards has not led to the emergence of a clear training agenda for EMU. In part this can be attributed to the market led philosophy which determines how training needs are identified.

Each year schools are asked to identify their training needs and it is primarily the information from this survey which shapes the Board training programme for the following year. However, the weaknesses inherent in this approach are that core curriculum areas inevitably come through strongly, eclipsing thematic issues. Of itself, this usually means that a large number of important training areas do not even make it on to the formal agenda for the following year.

Questions have also been raised about the extent to which a market led process allows Boards to generate strategic plans for training which anticipate future trends and needs. It is clear that areas of educational development such as EMU carry an inherent 'chill factor� in that there is a natural resistance amongst teachers to take on areas which are perceived to be politically volatile.

This suggests that Boards need the flexibility to develop a strategic approach which makes sure that social themes such as EMU do not slip off the training agenda.

Regional Training Unit (RTU)

The Regional Training Unit was established in 1991 and provides regional training for teachers, lecturers, members of governing bodies, staff and members of Education and Library Boards. The RTU undertakes a specific responsibility for the management training needs of principals and senior staff in schools, colleges and institutes of further education. In this respect a generic management training model is adopted which suggests that any senior management training in relation to a Cross Curricular Theme such as EMU would only be included as an example of an issue. Such an approach would seem to exclude opportunities for principals and senior managers to engage with each other on emotive issues related to the role of schools in community relations in Northern Ireland, This suggests that senior management initiatives of this type are only likely to proceed if there is support at the level of individual Boards.

Alternative opportunities for the development of training to support EMU may exist through some of the Regional Training Unit�s other delivery mechanisms. For example. "Inter-Board courses in minority subject areas ensure economy in training, e.g. hearing impaired: Irish medium schools.... Issue conferences, provide a forum for topical issues of the day." (RTU, 1995). Two further delivery mechanisms might also support training related to EMU.

An annual Summer School for teachers is also organised by RTU (during 1995, 1,200 teachers attended the thirty four course programme). Responsibility for organising the Summer School formerly resided with the Inspectorate and a course on EMU was a regular feature, however, this ceased to be the case from 1991.

The RTU also has an approving and commissioning role with regard to regional short courses submitted by agencies other than Education and Library Boards and this mechanism may be helpful to academic and voluntary agencies that wish to run short courses related to EMU. Decisions regarding whether a course should receive support are based on whether the course:

(a) is a training event:

(b) is relevant to current needs and issues;

(c) will not duplicate support given by Boards or other bodies.

(RTU, 1996)

The finance available to support courses is limited, but teachers attending regional short courses may receive support for course fees, travel and subsistence.

Higher education

In Northern Ireland there are two teacher training colleges both based in Belfast. They reflect the religious and cultural segregation of the education system in that St. Mary�s is a Catholic teacher training college whilst Stranmillis College prepares teachers for the predominantly Protestant schools. In terms of Initial Teacher Training (pre-service), both colleges cater to the primary sector, mainly through 4-year B.Ed degree courses. Both colleges also offer some secondary provision and the intake in both cases is subject to quotas set by DENI. For 1995 the college intakes were:

St. Mary�s College 96 primary 42 secondary 138 total
Stranmillis College 95 primary 45 secondary 140 total

Almost 75% of all second-level teachers are trained at Queen�s University, Belfast and the University of Ulster at Coleraine and Jordanstown which offer specialised PGCE courses to graduates who have completed degree programmes. For 1995 the University intakes were:

Queens University 200 secondary 200 total
University of Ulster 40 primary 140 secondary 180 total

Recent announcements suggest that in future the Universities will concentrate on PGCE courses and the Colleges on undergraduate degree programmes.

Representatives from the Colleges and Universities met during 1993 and provided a summary of provision in relation to EMU (Robinson, 1993). The picture has changed in some respects, but the overall nature of provision remains the same.

In terms of pre-service provision for teachers some reference to EMU and Cultural Heritage is included in the following courses:

Undergraduate:1
B.A. Primary Education (UU)
A permeation approach is used with EMU highlighted in appropriate modules throughout the course, particularly English, History, Geography and Religious Education. The enrolment includes students from both traditions in Northern Ireland and, as far as possible, students are encouraged to undertake one of their school teaching practices in a school associated with a different religious or cultural group. Some students undertake a joint practice in a multicultural community in London. The last intake to this course was in 1995 which finishes when the current cohort completes the course in 1999.

2. B.Ed. (Stranmillis and St. Mary�s)
Students learn about the application of EMU and Cultural Heritage within units of study such as 'subject applications� and �education studies�. Although the colleges are almost totally segregated in terms of student intake, they operate a joint programme for EMU which is coordinated by a liaison group. This group has drawn up a joint policy statement on EMU and the programme Involves activities to bring student teachers together on a number of days, including a residential. The Colleges have been provided with minibuses to facilitate this programme. Stranmillis students who request school experience in Catholic maintained schools and integrated schools are facilitated where possible.

Postgraduate:
3. P.G.C.E. (QUB)
The full intake of students are introduced to EMU and Cultural Heritage through a half-day session early in the first term. Some specialisms provide further opportunities to address EMU issues and students are encouraged to participate in EMU activities during their teaching practice.

4. P.G.C.E. (UU)
Students are introduced to EMU and Cultural Heritage through specialist areas of English, History and Geography. In previous years students received a number of sessions devoted to EMU which looked at matters such as controversial issues within the classroom, and were required to design and implement a four-day course on EMU and Cultural Heritage for fellow students. Since the recent move to an extended teaching practice in schools this provision has been reduced.

5. P.G.C.E. (Stranmillis and St. Mary�s)
In recent years the postgraduate EMU programme included a week of joint school experience when students from both Colleges visit and teach together in mixed pairs in maintained and controlled schools. A joint field course with an emphasis on Cultural Heritage also takes place in the Autumn term.

Despite this overall level of provision there is some cynicism about the level of commitment within higher education to supporting the development of EMU in the initial training of teachers. McCully (1995) quotes the challenge presented by an inspector responsible for teacher education as follows:

Of the colleges he asked.

The initial teacher training colleges are doing impressive joint work ... and students are about to embark on teaching practice in schools of another tradition. But in what spirit is it being undertaken? If it is being done in the wrong spirit, is it doing any good?

and of the universities.

The universities could be regarded as 'integrated� but a few fundamental questions need to be asked in relation to the young teacher in training . The power of the teacher in the classroom is daunting. If the teacher is not attuned to the spirit of what EMU is trying to achieve then it is very unlikely that pupils will display mutual understanding either. Is it enough to claim that the battle is nearly won because students are being trained side by side?

In terms of in-service professional development courses for teachers some reference to EMU and Cultural Heritage is included in the following:

1. Diploma in Advanced Studies in Education

(DASE) (QUB)

Four modules are offered as part of the DASE in EMU and Cultural Heritage at Queens University. These cover the background to EMU and Cultural Heritage; aspects of culture in Northern Ireland: implementing EMU and CH; and an action research project involving EMU. Each module involves approximately 20-25 hours of class contact time. A single module in EMU (approximately 30 hours) is also offered as part of the more broadly based DASE in educational development.

2. Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Professional Development) (UU)

A 15 week module (45 hours) is available through three campuses. It may be taken as an accredited short course and be used for the Diploma or similar courses at a later date. A practical approach is used toward personal and professional development. Students are made aware of recent research and interactive methodologies are used to help teachers address issues within their own schools.

3. M.Ed. (QUB)

A single module on education in divided societies is offered as part of this course and students may choose to complete a dissertation on an EMU-related issue. Supervised research is also available through M.Phil and PhD. courses.

4. M.Ed. (Professional Development) (UU)

Students completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Professional Development) have the opportunity of proceeding to an M.Ed. which is completed through a supervised dissertation. Opportunities for supervised research are also possible through M.Phil and D.Phil courses.

The Universities have a key role in the formulation and accreditation of professional development courses. One apparent gap is that neither University appears to include any specific reference to EMU within its management courses for teachers, for example. by considering the issues which arise for the school in terms of community relations, or the internal issues which arise for the management of EMU as an educational (cross curricular) theme.

The Universities also have an important role in terms of innovation. For example, recent programmes have investigated the application of new technologies to support the development of EMU. These have included the use of videoconferencing (Robinson, 1993); computer conferencing as part of the European Studies project (Austin, 1995): and the exploration of controversial social, cultural, religious and political issues in formal and informal educational settings (Wilson and Morrow, 1996: McCully and O�Doherty, 1996).

Voluntary bodies (NGOs)

The development of EMU during pre-statutory years was dependent to a large extent on the voluntary commitment of a large number of non-governmental agencies. A considerable reservoir of practical experience has been built up within these organisations during the past twenty five years.

In terms of education and training, voluntary organisations have particular strengths in dealing with aspects of EMU and Cultural Heritage which are concerned with the more personal and affective aspects of learning. Representatives of such organisations have suggested that they could contribute to education and training for EMU in the following ways:

  • contribute to the ELB training programmes through inputs at courses, case studies of projects and display of resources
  • provide training on teaching methods and processes
  • contribute to governor training programmes
  • contribute to whole staff and ancillary staff training
  • offer secondments to teachers
  • offer placements to student teachers
  • provide residential courses for student teachers

Summary

1.Needs in terms of education, training and professional development to support the implementation of EMU have been identified at the following 5 levels:

i) An Initiative by the ELBs or RTU directed at governors and Principals was considered to be the key to creating an overall climate of support:

ii) Training from Boards for coordinators on matters relating to policy and review and to increase the skills involved in carrying out their job:

iii) School-based initiatives which raise awareness within the whole teaching staff and include training on methodology and processes such as conflict resolution (EMU co-ordinators supported by ELBs):

iv) The inclusion of appropriate preparation and training on EMU as an integral feature of Initial Teacher Training courses by the Universities and Colleges of Education:

v) Opportunities for professional development in EMU as a feature of certificated postgraduate courses at Universities (including management courses).

2.No co-ordinated plan to support the implementation of EMU within the system has emerged. The Inter Board EMU Panel should be encouraged to convene a representative group of statutory, academic and voluntary providers to develop and implement such a plan.

3.The inclusion of issues related to EMU in senior management training remains the single most important aspect of a training agenda for the foreseeable future and remains unaddressed.

4.Significant opportunities for training which supports EMU are available through RTU delivery mechanisms (inter-Board courses on �minority� issues; issue conferences; annual Summer School; accredited short courses), but these have not been utilised successfully.

5.Within higher education greater co-ordination on EMU between the Colleges and Universities should be encouraged (perhaps through the establishment of a representative group which meets regularly) so that the quality of experience at pre-service level can be considered. Some consideration might be given to the rationalisation of the EMU content in professional development courses within the Universities and consideration might be given to gaps in provision within management courses.

6.Considerable experience in the practical and methodological issues in implementing EMU exists within voluntary organisations and this should be drawn upon by statutory and academic agencies where possible.

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Chapter seven

Evaluating further progress

 

Despite evidence of progress during the initial, statutory years, the evaluation of the impact of Education for Mutual Understanding continues to be a problematic issue. In part this is due to the lack of a clear agreement about what different agencies should be evaluating and in part due to continuing debates about the effectiveness of different methodological approaches. The findings from this project suggest that a number of different tasks are appropriate at different levels within the system.

School-based evaluation of EMU

It is clear that teachers see their primary role as the education of young people rather than the evaluation of social policy. There is considerable resistance amongst teachers to any suggestion that routine assessment procedures be extended to include an evaluation of individual pupils� development in EMU. There is less consensus on whether it is legitimate to include reference to pupil participation in cross community contact programmes in Records of Achievement, but the majority opinion does not favour this approach.

This suggests that the main emphasis of school-based evaluation of EMU should be on the extent to which the school has implemented structures, processes and activities to support EMU. The previous report (Smith and Robinson, 1992) suggested an approach which involved setting annual objectives for EMU related to various aspects of school activity. This approach was piloted within four schools, but to limited effect. Part of the problem was uncertainty about who carried responsibility for such a task. This approach worked best in cases where the EMU co-ordinator had established a school EMU group which functioned with the explicit authority and participation of the senior management of the school. There is a danger that such a process becomes mechanistic and cosmetic, but it seems reasonable to expect that every school should devote at least one, full staff meeting each year to review what progress has been made to support EMU at the level of the whole school, within the curriculum and in terms of cross community contact.

The results of such an annual review could provide the basis for the section of the Annual Report to parents which requires school governors,

to describe what steps have been taken by the Board of Governors to develop or strengthen the schools� links with the community and, in particular, to promote the attainment of the objectives of the educational theme called Education for Mutual Understanding.
(Education Reform (NI) Order 1989, p.132)

No analysis of the statements contained in Annual Reports has been undertaken to date and this might fall within the remit of Boards, DENI or CCRU.

Education and Library Boards

The difficulties which have been experienced in developing progression within EMU programmes suggests that ELBs may have a specific role in evaluating what approaches have proved to be effective in the context of EMU within the curriculum. Evaluating the quality of programmes between schools may also become a more significant aspect of the Board�s remit, particularly if responsibility for administration of the Cross Community Contact Scheme is devolved from DENI.

DENI

The Department of Education, Community Relations Branch has responsibility for the core funding of non-governmental organisations with activities to support cross community contact. This suggests that the Branch will wish to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of such organisations on community relations.

The Inspectorate

The Inspectorate have a formal role in evaluating the effectiveness of schools in implementing EMU as part of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. This access to practice within schools places the Inspectorate in a strong position to indicate what represents good practice in EMU at whole school level, within the curriculum and in terms of cross community contact.

Academic and voluntary groups

A considerable amount of academic research has concentrated on the impact of cross community programmes on young people. Much of this has been undertaken by psychologists and focused on the �contact hypothesis� In particular (Amir, 1969; Hewstone and Brown, 1986; Trew, 1986; Cairns 1987). Despite the inherent attraction of the notion that increased contact and interaction between groups is likely to lead to a reduction in conflict, the empirical evidence to support this assertion is limited.

A number of reasons are advanced as to why it is difficult to establish a direct causal link between intergroup contact and attitudinal change. These include the suggestion that the research instruments used are not sensitive enough to detect change; that changes only emerge over a much longer period of time; or that positive attitudinal change only occurs if an increasing number of conditions are met when the contact takes place. More recently, psychological approaches to understand intergroup conflict have turned attention toward more complex theories such as �social Identity theory� (Tajfel, 1982). Social identity theory seeks to understand how the way we categorise our social world influences our social behaviour in general and the way we interact with other groups in particular.

From an educational point of view these psychological approaches do not necessarily take account of the influence of biographical experience and the way people learn �new understandings� in the context of intergroup relations. The anecdotal evidence from the conflict in Northern Ireland suggests that the development of new understandings can, in part. be traced to key, formative events in peoples� biographies. Commonly encountered examples include individuals who are animated to action which supports reconciliation because of formative influences such as significant individuals from a different religious or cultural tradition encountered in earlier years; involvement in an inter-faith marriage; direct involvement in violence; and / or experiences of injustice or bereavement. These discrete events are often recalled with a significance which seems to outweigh the more sustained approach of systematic educational programmes.

This suggests that there may be some merit in adopting approaches to evaluation which trace significant numbers of individuals who have participated in a variety of educational and reconciliation programmes during the past twenty five years. The aim would be to contrast how individual social attitudes relate to biographical experiences and whether certain formative events are more likely to lead to positive intergroup attitudes than others. However, support for this approach to evaluation has been difficult to secure because it is labour intensive and demands a systematic and coordinated approach between academic and voluntary agencies over a sustained period of time.

Summary

1. The evaluation of progress and impact of EMU remains problematic. A coordinated approach might focus on the following issues within the system and involve a number of different agencies:

i) school-based approaches which concentrate on annual reviews of what progress has been made to support EMU at the level of the whole school, within the curriculum and in terms of cross community contact (EMU Coordinators supported by senior management and a school EMU group);

ii) an evaluation of the quality of EMU programmes within the curriculum and how progression might be achieved more successfully (Inspectorate);

iii) an evaluation of the quality of cross community contact programmes between schools (Education and Library Boards);

iv) an analysis of school Annual Reports on EMU (undertaken by ELBs, DENI or CCRU);

v) an evaluation of the core funding programme for nongovernmental organisations which support the work of schools (DENI, Community Relations Branch);

vi) academic studies, including those based on social identity theory; those which trace former participants in EMU programmes: and approaches which explore the relationship between biography and social attitudes (academics in association with voluntary reconciliation bodies).

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Chapter eight

Summary of recommendations

This project has not been a typical policy evaluation in that it has sought to provide a qualitative insight into the developments which have taken place over the initial, three-year period of government policy to include Education for Mutual Understanding in the Northern Ireland Curriculum. The original project proposal emphasised a 'stakeholder' approach which would encourage a wide range of interest groups in education to participate in the evaluation process. As a consequence the evaluation has been formative in that it has also contributed to the development of thinking about EMU within the system. Indeed, in the absence of formal structures for liaison within the system, the project itself often provided a forum for debate and discussion on matters related to EMU.

The end of the project comes at a time when there is a recognised need for renewed institutional commitment to EMU. The relevance of the theme, and the values it represents, persist irrespective of changes in an uncertain political environment. There are concerns that established posts to support EMU should be sustained and strengthened, and that the contribution of voluntary organisations becomes recognised more fully. A significant concern is the lack of progress which has been made in developing a comprehensive plan for education, training and professional development to support teachers in the implementation of EMU.

The insecure and often temporary positions held by many of the personnel in key organisations also raises Issues about the prospects for continuity and stability in the development of EMU. Without the establishment of more durable structures for liaison and promotion within the system (which are not solely dependent on the commitment and enthusiasm of individuals) it has been suggested that EMU may become a temporary manifestation within the Northern Ireland Curriculum during the 1990s.

Despite this there is some evidence to suggest that government support for Education for Mutual Understanding, along with a range of other community relations initiatives, has helped change the discourse in Northern Ireland by introducing a language which allows people to express their support for cultural pluralism and political dialogue rather than sectarianism and political violence. The challenge now is whether such initiatives can help young people move beyond the 'polite exchange' so that they engage with each other in meaningful discussion of controversial social, cultural, religious and political issues.

The following is a summary of findings and recommendations arising from this evaluation:

Conceptual development within the curriculum

1. In curricular terms, the introduction of EMU to a statutory framework has helped clarify the values which those working within formal education are being asked to promote. This has been helpful in disassociating the theme from narrow political objectives.

2. There are overriding concerns about the extent to which the themes are evident at classroom level and the effectiveness of a cross curricular strategy for the implementation of EMU.

3. Despite concerns about the overall visibility, initial evidence suggests that, of the six cross curricular themes, EMU is one of the most discernible to pupils. Cultural Heritage has a much lower profile.

4. The complimentary nature of the two themes suggest that they should be formally amalgamated into one theme (EMU) with a single set of four objectives.

5. The impact of EMU continues to be limited by the fact that teachers find it elusive. No clear agenda has emerged. It would be helpful if curriculum guidance identified the components of a more specific agenda for EMU.

6. Two important areas for educational development are noticeably absent from most current activities undertaken as part of EMU. One is a focus on civil and human rights and the other is a concern to encourage young people's understanding and participation in political processes.

Civics, human rights and education for political participation are particularly relevant strands of EMU at a time when the broader society supports a commitment to political dialogue rather than political violence.

7. During the initial statutory years of EMU within the curriculum there is little evidence that teachers have been able to develop progression towards approaches to address the more controversial aspects of EMU.

8. Inspection reports and research studies have drawn attention to the difficulties which schools encounter in developing coherence in the way that educational themes such as EMU are planned and implemented across different subjects and years of schooling.

The prospect of a moratorium on further curriculum change that has been promised by government now offers a five-year period for some of these long term issues to be addressed.

A framework for implementation

9. During the initial years of its introduction to the statutory curriculum it has become clear that the aims and objectives of EMU will not be secured through a minimalist approach which solely requires teachers to incorporate the theme within their subject areas. A more comprehensive framework which includes the commitment of teachers on whole school issues as well as some voluntary involvement in cross community contact will be required.

10. The aims and objectives of EMU have important implications for issues of whole school concern including the nature of relationships within the school and its policies for discipline and pastoral care.

11. The statutory requirement to incorporate the aims and objectives of EMU within areas of study in the curriculum has important implications for the teaching methods and learning processes within the school.

12. The inclusion of EMU within the statutory curriculum carries an implicit expectation that, as part of their teaching, teachers will attempt to address issues which are relevant to community division within contemporary society in Northern Ireland.

13. There is an expectation that the inclusion of EMU within the statutory curriculum will draw attention to the role of the school as a focal point for relationships within and between communities.

Whilst this framework has become clearer during the initial years of EMU within the Northern Ireland Curriculum, it is by no means widespread and it remains to be seen to what extent schools are willing to move beyond minimalist, statutory interpretations of EMU in practice.

Roles and responsibilities

14. The most important factor in developing EMU in a comprehensive way throughout the school is the support and commitment afforded the programme by the Principal and senior management.

15. It is crucial that coordinators for EMU do not become isolated, but develop effective links with senior management and support networks which involve colleagues.

The Cross Community Contact Scheme

16. The number of schools participating in the Cross Community Contact Scheme in 1994-95 has increased to 45% of all schools (42% of primary schools and 59% of post-primary schools).

17. The number of pupils who have participated in cross community contact programmes is more difficult to determine. One estimate is that during 1994-95 less than 20% of primary and less than 10% of secondary pupils participated in cross community contact programmes organised by schools.

18. It may be unrealistic to expect that every pupil participates in a cross community contact programme every year Schools should be encouraged to concentrate on a small number of annual programmes which offer progression and quality of experience.

19. The Department of Education, Community Relations Branch should retain responsibility for:

  • the administration of core funding for NGOs;

  • the administration of EU education programmes;

  • the monitoring and evaluation of the above programmes.

20. In retaining responsibility for the core funding of NGOs the Department of Education, Community Relations Branch should:

  • develop a coherent set of published criteria for the funding of NGOs;

  • establish 3-year funding cycles which provide early warning if funding is to be terminated;

  • evaluate how the core funding programme helps secure DENI policy objectives for community relations and EMU.

21. The administration of the Cross Community Contact Scheme for schools should be devolved to the Education and Library Boards, but steps should be taken to secure agreements so that:

  • full-time, advisory posts for EMU are created in each Education and Library Board:

  • each ELB receives adequate resources for the administration of the Scheme:

  • each ELB puts forward a comprehensive plan which outlines a strategy for the overall support of EMU (in terms of whole school and curriculum development, cross community contact and provision for in-service training):

  • Boards should have some flexibility to support programmes which do not necessarily involve cross community contact between pupils, but nevertheless contribute to improvements in practice and the development of EMU,

  • The number of teacher cover days available to support cross community contact between schools should be clearly identified. but Boards should also have some flexibility to provide cover for teachers engaged in curriculum development and training related to EMU.

22. Regular co-ordination between the Inter Board EMU Panel and DENI Community Relations Branch should take place.

Co-ordination within the education system

23. The implementation of EMU would be enhanced by improved levels of co-ordination within the formal education system. To date improvements in the level of co-ordination have been mainly restricted to those working within similar domains (between Boards, between voluntary groups. between teacher educators).

24. The emergence of an Inter Board EMU Panel is a significant and positive development. The Panel should be encouraged to take a lead in creating a co-ordinating structure which is broadly representative of statutory, voluntary and academic interests in EMU

25. Opportunities should be sought to encourage better co-ordination and interaction between formal education, the youth services and community activists regarding the improvement of community relations.

Training and professional development for EMU

26. Needs in terms of education, training and professional development to support the implementation of EMU have been identified at the following 5 levels:

i) An initiative by the ELBs or RTU directed at governors and Principals was considered to be the key to creating an overall climate of support;

ii) Training from Boards for co-ordinators on matters relating to policy and review and to increase the skills involved in carrying out their job:

iii) School-based initiatives which raise awareness within the whole teaching staff and include training on methodology and processes such as conflict resolution (EMU co-ordinators supported by ELBs);

iv) The inclusion of appropriate preparation and training on EMU as an integral feature of Initial Teacher Training courses by the Universities and Colleges of Education:

v) Opportunities for professional development in EMU as a feature of certificated postgraduate courses at Universities (including management courses).

27. No co-ordinated plan to support the implementation of EMU within the system has emerged. The Inter Board EMU Panel should be encouraged to convene a representative group of statutory, academic and voluntary providers to develop and implement such a plan.

28. The inclusion of issues related to EMU in senior management training remains the single most important aspect of a training agenda for the foreseeable future and remains unaddressed.

29. Significant opportunities for training which supports EMU are available through RTU delivery mechanisms (inter-Board courses on 'minority' issues; issue conferences: annual Summer School; accredited short courses). but these have not been utilised.

30. Within higher education greater co-ordination on EMU between the Colleges and Universities should be encouraged (perhaps through the establishment of a representative group which meets regularly) so that the quality of experience at pre-service level can be considered. Some consideration might be given to the rationalisation of the EMU content in professional development courses within the Universities and consideration might be given to gaps in provision within management courses.

31. Considerable experience in the practical and methodological issues in implementing EMU exists within voluntary organisations and this should be drawn upon by statutory and academic agencies where possible.

Evaluating further progress

32. The evaluation of progress and impact of EMU remains problematic. A co-ordinated approach might focus on the following Issues within the system and involve a number of different agencies:

i) school-based approaches which concentrate on annual reviews of what progress has been made to support EMU at the level of the whole school, within the curriculum and in terms of cross community contact (EMU Co-ordinators supported by senior management and a school EMU group);

ii) an evaluation of the quality of EMU programmes within the curriculum and how progression might be achieved more successfully (Inspectorate);

iii) an evaluation of the quality of cross community contact programmes between schools (Education and Library Boards);

iv) an analysis of school Annual Reports on EMU (undertaken by ELBs, DENI or CCRU);

v) an evaluation of the core funding programme for non-governmental organisations which support the work of schools (DENI, Community Relations Branch);

vi) academic studies, including those based on social identity theory; those which trace former participants in EMU programmes; and approaches which explore the relationship between biography and social attitudes (academics in association with voluntary reconciliation bodies).

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Appendix A

Funding for community relations
and cultural traditions, 1995-96

 

Source: Hinds (1995) gives a more detailed breakdown
under the headings above - see bibliography

 

Appendix B

Cross Community Contact Scheme:
number of participating schools

 

 

Primary schools in the
Cross Community Contact Scheme

   

1987/88

1991/92

1994/95

Belfast

BELB

14

44

82

(n= 105)

 

(14%)

(45%)

(78%)

North Eastern

NEELB

21

40

75

(n= 257)

 

( 9%)

(16%)

(29%)

South Eastern

SEELB

26

65

104

(n= 196)

 

(16%)

(33%)

(53%)

Southern

SELB

27

58

99

(n= 283)

 

(10%)

( 20%)

(35%)

Western

WELB

35

39

82

(n= 219)

 

(17%)

(18%)

(37%)

         

Northern Ireland Total

 

123

246

442

(n= 1,060)

 

(13%)

(23%)

(42%)

These tables are updated versions of those which appeared
in a previous report (Smith and Robinson, 1992).

 

Post-primary schools in the
Cross Community Contact Scheme

   

1987/88

1991/92

1994/95

Belfast

BELB

16

18

31

(n= 46)

 

(38%)

(39%)

(67%)

North Eastern

NEELB

12

26

30

(n= 62)

 

(20%)

(42%)

(48%)

South Eastern

SEELB

1

15

29

(n= 44)

 

( 2%)

(34%)

(66%)

Southern

SELB

9

20

38

(n= 57)

 

(17%)

(3 5%)

(67%)

Western

WELB

21

23

28

(n= 54)

 

(44%)

(43%)

(52%)

         

Northern Ireland Total

 

59

102

156

(n= 263)

 

(24%)

(39%)

(59%)

Source: Department of Education for Northern Ireland,
Community Relations Branch (the figures include primary,
secondary, grammar, special, nursery and preparatory schools).

 

Appendix C

Cross Community Contact Scheme:
core funding for NGOs, 1995/96

 

Council for Education in World Citizenship (CEWC)

18,000

Childrens� Community Holidays

25,776

Childrens� Project Northern Ireland

15,488

Christian Education Movement (CEM)

20,168

Churches Peace Education Project (CPEP)

62,136

Columbanus Community

21.957

Community Relations in Schools (CRIS)

56,275

Co-operation North

15.000

Corrymeela Community

37,494

Harmony Community Trust

74,809

Holiday Projects West

3,121

Kilbroney Centre

17,500

Northern Ireland Childrens� Holiday Scheme (NICHS)

50,050

Peace & Reconciliation Inter Schools Movement (PRISM)

12,000

Positive Ethos Trust - EMU Promoting School Project

55,125

Pushkin Awards

12,125

School Aid Romania

11,683

Speedwell Project

52,010

Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA)

15,990

   
 

�576,707

Source: Department of Education for Northern Ireland, Community Relations Branch.

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