The first full year of the European Parliament Ambassador Schools programme really got underway yesterday afternoon with our first Senior Ambassador training.

Each year we kick off the programme with training for Senior Ambassadors (school/college staff) to ensure they know the programme requirements, have ideas about activities to run, how to recruit Junior Ambassadors (students/learners), and gain accreditation.

Yesterday, students from one of our pilot colleges, USP College in Essex, shared why they wanted to get involved, what they got out of it last year, and what they are planning for this year.

Key points and ideas from USP College

Who is involved

  • They started EPAS through the Politics department, but it’s really moved away from that to be social, cultural and historical – there’s a lot more going on that just politics.
  • Their group of Junior Ambassadors is growing as more people want to get involved.
  • EPAS has attracted both politics and non-politics students.

How it runs

  • They meet at lunch times once or twice a week.
  • Students decided as a group when they wanted to run their sessions.
  • The structure is very different from a politics lesson: how it runs, and what is run, is left up to students.
  • Students do their own research, make decisions and plan the events on their own, with the staff member just facilitating integration into the college calendar and providing guidance.
  • The student-led nature of it helps Junior Ambassadors to build their confidence and learn skills for work.

Events

  • EPLO and Involver are very helpful with finding speakers and guests.
  • They organised events with ex-MEP Glyn Ford, who spoke about the rise of the far-right in Europe.
  • They organised a European Day of Languages event.
  • They are organising a drama event, based on historical events from European countries.
  • The drama department is on board, and this performance will count towards students’ A-Levels.
  • They hope this production will greatly increase the exposure of the college community to European issues.
  • They will be making an informational booklet to accompany the performance that will explain the stories behind the pieces, and the EPAS programme.
  • They have a noticeboard promoting their work and sharing information.

Communication and collaboration

During the training Asher emphasised the key role that communication plays in EPAS. We want to ensure that your wider school/college community knows what you are doing and the profile of Europe and the European Parliament is raised. Furthermore, EPAS accreditation is reliant on you sharing what you are doing on your website and through your social media channels – this is our main tool for assessing that you are meeting the criteria.

Please follow @EPASorgUK on Twitter to be kept up to date with all kinds of opportunities that will be of interest to you. You should also follow all of the other EPAS schools and colleges to find out what they are doing. We have collected them all in a list here (please let me know if any of your accounts are missing): https://twitter.com/i/lists/1401816002468487171