In this third and final training session we went through how evidence is collected for EPAS accreditation. We heard from Dervilla Casey of Summerhill College in Sligo, Ireland, about how they gained accreditation.

Watch the training session


Key learning

The way EPAS accreditation works in Ireland is somewhat different to how we’ll be running it in the UK. We are hoping to make it ‘light touch’ and easy for schools to do with barely any extra work.

Central to the way the process will work, is that we want schools and colleges that are part of EPAS to be promoting and sharing everything they do through their own websites, social media and local media contacts. This gives your students kudos, raises your school/college’s profile and helps the wider community to understand more about the EU.

Schools don’t need to do extra write-ups to provide evidence to EPAS, they just post a link on their dashboard to the existing story, video, images or post on their school website or social media. We will check it and approve it.

Towards the end of the year we will survey your school community to find out to what extent they have been involved, educated and inspired by the work of your EPAS Junior and Senior Ambassadors.

Adding Junior and Senior Ambassadors to the website

If you would like to get students or other staff from your school/college to help you upload information to the website, get them to sign up here: Signing up junior/senior ambassadors

A Senior Ambassador will need to approve each new Ambassador added to your school. They will receive a notification to do so. They need to:

  1. Log on: here
  2. Click the ‘List of Ambassadors‘ button – on the left of the dashboard.
  3. Click the button to ‘approve’, ‘edit’ or ‘delete’ the new user(s).

Ideas from Summerhill College

Accreditation

  • As you go along, make sure you log on to the dashboard to upload links as you go.
  • The InfoPoint can be social media channels, a website or web page, or a physical display in your school.
  • Students (Junior Ambassadors) are tasked with regularly updating the noticeboards. This gives them a sense of ownership and keeps them fresh.
  • One noticeboard is facts about the EU, including what the EU is doing now that impacts on students’ lives – you can get this information from the European Parliament’s Twitter.
  • The other noticeboard is filled with a project completed by a student about an EU member state, these change every week.
  • Take loads of photos!
  • The Europe Day celebration can be as big or as small as you’d like. Start planning it about a month in advance. Some of the things Summerhill College will be doing this week:
    • They raise the EU flag first thing in the morning.
    • Playlist of all the current No 1 hits in all the EU countries.
    • Greetings from different European languages shared throughout the schools.
    • Canteen put together an EU-style menu (food from different European countries).
    • Kahoot EU quiz for younger students run by older students.
    • Debate on the EU’s role in education.
    • Bring in an MEP, European ambassador, or similar.
    • European soccer tournament.
    • Virtual chat with a Spanish school.
  • There will be a virtual visit from the EPAS team to see how you have run EPAS and the impact it has had.
  • You will be asked to get your school community to fill out some self-evaluation forms.

Promotion

  • Use social media.
  • Use hashtags: #EPAmbassadorSchools #EPAS (also #EPASUK).
  • Youtube channel – put all your videos up there.
  • Keep your Board of Governors in the loop on what you’re doing.
  • Use school newsletters.
  • Work with your local press/websites.
  • EPAS themed classes for holidays/events. E.g. What does Christmas/Halloween/Eid, etc. look like in various EU states.
  • Link up with other local schools for events.

Roadmap to accreditation

In normal years, schools and colleges in the UK can follow this: Roadmap

Along with the dashboard it provides a simple, step-by-step, guide to achieving accreditation.

During this pilot year, the process has been much shortened and so schools will do the following activities, supported by Involver:

Each activity will be started by an hour-long session that will be led, online, by Involver. Students will then have a week to complete their activity.