General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Education on rights starts in the classroom


10/11/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

Schools in the north can improve their performance and cut indiscipline by putting respect for the rights of pupils and teachers at the heart of the classroom, a conference has heard.

Sweden's director of education, Gunilla Larsson was among the speakers at a conference organised by the teachers' unions, Amnesty International, and the Northern Ireland and Republic's Human Rights Commissions.

Sweden has made human rights education a mainstream aspect of its school system and has seen dramatic improvements in classroom behaviour and academic performance.

"This means pupils are more empowered to shape their education and to stand up against problems such as bullying and classroom violence," Ms Larsson said.

Education director of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) Aidan Dolan said schools and governors were being asked to respond to consultations on marking exams, school funding, literacy and numeracy and Irish-medium education by next January.

This, he said, allowed about two working weeks per consultation.

"There is little or no possibility of coherent, well thought out responses being made to all of the proposals in the time available," he said.

"NAHT calls on the education minister to prioritise the consultations and produce a realistic time frame for responses."

Queen's University Belfast has won the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in London.

The university's Naughton Gallery's Silver Sounds exhibition took the top award. Visitors can both hear and see the silver collection through hand-held computers to highlight objects and listen to the artists' interpretations.

"I am delighted to congratulate our curator of art, Shan McAnena, and her colleagues in winning this well-deserved award for the ground-breaking Silver Sounds exhibition," QUB's vice-chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said.



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