Archive for September, 2011

Human Rights Month 2011 “Equality is a Human Right”

Our 7th Annual Human Rights Month takes place this October. The theme for this year’s event is “Equality is a Human Right”.
Over the course of the month programmes of teaching/learning within the school’s Learn Together ( Ethical Curriculum for ET schools) , Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE), Relationsships and Sexuality Education ( RSE), English, Geography, History, Drama, Visual Arts and Maths curricula will be dedicated to this theme. In this Blog Posting I hope to outline the Philosophy behind this theme. A separate programme of events will also be sent to each home shortly. Parents are reminded that I (Fintan, Principal) am available at all times to discuss any issue, big or small, that may emerge over the course of the month.

In the Republic of Ireland legislation forbids public and private bodies and individuals from discriminating against persons on nine ‘grounds’. These ‘grounds are:
Gender, Marital Status ( or Family Status), Sexual Orientation, Religious Belief, Age, Race, Disability or Membership of the Traveller Community. Discrimination against any member of these nine groups in understood in Human Rights literature to be a denial of their Human ( or Children’s ) Rights.

Over the course of the Human Rights month in our school we intend to develop programmes of teaching and learning for the children, in an age-appropriate manner, that will introduce the children to this ‘knowledge’ and to cause reflection on issues of discrimination in keeping with best practice in Citizenship Education internationally. This work is a ‘core’ aspect of our Educate Together ethos and our Inclusive and Multicultural school policy and practice.

I stress that we will be age-appropriate and professionally accountable and responsible in our work and that not all classes will be working on all ‘grounds’. Here is an outline of the issues which we will try to address categorised under the nine ‘grounds’;

*Gender*
• Equal treatment of boys and girls in the classroom
• Equal treatment of boys and girls in the broader school
• Equal treatment of boys and girls in their homelives and the manner in which this manifests itself in both school and the wider community ( Curriculum, PE, Sport, Craft, Clubs, Pastimes, Religious identity, Cultural Identity) • Transgender issues ( RSE for senior classes)
• Addressing gender stereotyping ( SPHE)
• Gender stereotyping in the media ( English)

*Marital Status and Family Status*
• The equality of the different forms of partnership
• The equality of the different forms of family make-up

*Sexual Orientation*
• the equality of different forms of sexual orientation ( RSE Senior Classes) • homophobia as a form of bullying ( Anti-Bullying Programmes) • homophobic stereotyping ( Learn Together; Equality and Justice Strand) • workplace issues ( Staff protocols)

*Religious Belief*
• the equality of all religious beliefs ( Learn Together: World Belief Systems Strand)
• the equality of non-religious beliefs with religious beliefs (Learn Together: Equality and Justice Strand)

*Age*
• definitions of childhood and conceptions of childhood ( History, SPHE)
• age-discrimination issues “too young” ( Child Protection, Bullying, Child Exploitation)
• age-discrimination issues “too old” ( Age Discrimination in workplaces, Geography; Working People, Accomodation of Elderly in the wider community)

*Race*
• racism and antiracism ( Anti-Racist Statement, SPHE programmes, Historical Explorations of Colonization and Slavery, Contemporary experiences of racism)
• racist bullying ( use of perjorative terms relating to race, skin-colour, religion, cultural identity) • racial stereotyping ( exploration of media, reflection on school practice)
• issues of inclusion at parent level ( levels of participation in school structures, levels of participation in school life)

*Disability*
• accommodation of disability in our school
• accommodation of disability in the immediate vicinity of the school • accommodation of disability in the wider community

*Membership of a Traveller Community ( incl. Irish and Roma)* • traveller culture and identity: Irish Travellers
• traveller culture and identity: Roma Community
• reflection on school practice re education of Roma children • homes, housing and homelessness

Once again I would like to remind parents that I am available at all times to discuss any issues arising from these plans/events, and please feel free to leave a comment on this Blog by using the “Comment’ or “Reply” Buttons.

Fintan (Principal)


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