Inspiring learning for a fairer future

Start The Change on Brexit Day

Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:56

As the UK leaves the European Union, we reflect on our Start The Change Project which has brought us together with partners from across Europe, exploring migration, the Sustainable Development Goals and the role educators and young people can play as Global Citizens in their communities. With 9 months of the project remaining we still have much to look forward to, including our upcoming Transform Our World Secondary School Conference. As we look back at the project so far, within the context of Brexit, two of our staff gave us their thoughts on what they've gained from working with European partners.

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Catriona Willis, HOW and Start the Change Coordinator said that:

"EU DE-AR funding has greatly strengthened our capacity to deliver on the national pupil entitlement to Learning for Sustainability and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We have hugely valued collaborating with our other European project partners to share learning, and develop best practice in Global Citizenship Education. Partnerships such as these are so important if we are to achieve the Goals by 2030."

Throughout the Start The Change project, we've shared learning with our colleagues from the 12 countries involved. This has given our work of supporting and collaborating with educators here in The Highlands, a much broader grounding and perspective; not only on how migration impacts individuals and communities in very different ways across Europe, but in terms of understanding the methods, practice and contexts for learning throughout the education systems of those countries. This has helped us to learn, develop and strengthen our own practice in ways that only collaborative working can.

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Rachel Avery, HOW's Global Education Officer working on the EU-funded Start the Change project explained:

"It has been fascinating to work in partnership with other organisations from across Europe. We are a team of education officers, all supporting secondary teachers to explore issues around migration with pupils, but all coming from such wildly different contexts. Germany for example has a reasonably long history of welcoming migrants, including more than 1 million refugees who have arrived in the country from 2015 onwards. Colleagues in Italy, as the first European country of arrival for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, have a very different political context again. And our partner organisation in Croatia, Breza, is based in a small town where so many working-age adults have migrated to other, richer, European countries that they struggle to fill key service roles to keep the community functioning.

It's also been eye-opening to learn about the different education systems we are all operating within. It makes me feel very grateful for how much support there is within our curriculum and the GTCS Standards for global citizenship and learning for sustainability. Some of our partners are working in countries with governments who are actively hostile towards elements of our work, for example regarding LGBT rights."

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As the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on Friday 31st January, we look ahead to the remaining 9 months of our Start The Change Project during which there are opportunities for YOU to share in what we've done - particularly in how our groups of young ChangeMakers have developed their own ideas and understanding of migration, the SDGs and active citizenship.


If you're a secondary school teacher (of ANY subject) then you can register for our FREE Transform Our World Conference on Saturday 29th February. More details below and here.

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Our young ChangeMakers groups will also be getting together to tell the stories of their work and we'll be sharing those right here on our website and social media, as well as celebrating them at the Start The Change Festival in May at Eden Court in Inverness. We'll have more details soon but put May 15th & 16th in your diaries...!

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As we reflect on the impact the project has had, we'll be celebrating that over the coming months so follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for much more on the power of Global Citizenship Education going on right here across The Highlands.


You'll find videos from the project so far on our YouTube Channel and you can find a wide range of FREE resources, including Global Learning Units written by teachers, for teachers, on the Start The Change Project Educators Platform.

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This website has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of Highland One World (HOW) and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.