General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Stranmillis Essay Competition


Dr Noel Purdy, Blanaid Kearney, Carol McCann

Dr Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship and Head of Education Studies at Stranmillis, launches the 2015-16 essay competition for Year 13 school pupils:

‘Critical writing and engagement with hotly contested topical issues is at the core of Education Studies at Stranmillis University College.  Students regularly have the opportunity to discuss controversial issues around assessment, curriculum, the aims of education, learning styles, and many more issues. 

This year’s Year 13 Essay Competition question challenges school pupils to engage with these issues in a 2000 word essay, in response to the following quotation from A.S.Neill, founder of the innovative but controversial Summerhill School:

"Obviously, a school that makes active children sit at desks studying mostly useless subjects is a bad school. It is a good school only for those who believe in such a school, for those uncreative citizens who want docile, uncreative children who will fit into a civilization whose standard of success is money." (AS Neill) Discuss.

The essays will be judged in terms of their level of understanding, depth of insight, strength of argument, originality and quality of writing.  Entrants should provide their full name, contact address, email address and phone number, as well as details of their school.  They should also provide the name and email address of a teacher in the school who will be able to vouch that the essay is the entrant’s own work.

The winning entry will be awarded a prize of £200 (sponsored by the General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland).  This prize will be awarded at the Stranmillis University College Annual Prize Giving Ceremony in early July 2016.  Certificates of commendation will also be awarded for essays of particular merit. 


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