Press Release

New Website Lets Pupils Step Into The Shoes Of MLAs

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Reference: SO 10/11/12

Learning about politics is about to get interactive with the launch of the Northern Ireland Assembly Education Service’s website [1]. The new site is packed full of new and creative ways for children and young people to learn about the work of the Assembly.

The new website – http://education.niassembly.gov.uk – delves into the world of politics and makes learning about citizenship, politics and Government fun and interesting. It allows pupils to step into the shoes of an MLA – managing a busy diary of meetings, taking part in a press conference, and answering questions from local people. They can also learn about how laws are made, how we elect MLAs and the story of devolution and the creation of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Speaking about the website, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay, MLA said: “The new website is a window to the working world of the Assembly with interactive challenges and tasks that allow pupils to really get involved and understand the democratic process.

“We are pleased to have worked in partnership with the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) on this project to ensure that the content is relevant to and complements the Northern Ireland Curriculum [3].

“We are committed to engaging young people in the work of the Assembly and I am always delighted when I see the Great Hall alive with the school groups who are here day and daily. We have a fantastic Education programme which already does tremendous work and this new website is a great way of building on that work beyond Parliament Buildings.”

The website, developed in partnership with the CCEA [2] has been specifically designed as a learning resource for pupils from primary school age right up to 16 year olds and over and has dedicated sections for each age group.

The site also includes a dedicated section for teachers with teaching notes and suggested classroom activities to support and follow-up on the online activities.

Richard Hanna fromCouncil for the Curriculum Examinations & Assessment added: “This is a very valuable resource for teachers. The internet is increasingly used in the classroom and is now the preferred source of information and communication for young people. This website has been developed to support the curriculum with new approaches to learning and will help pupils develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and decision making.”

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

Notes to Editors

1. The Northern Ireland Assembly Education Service website is http://education.niassembly.gov.uk/ The new site will be live from midday on Tuesday 25 October 2011.

2. The Council for the Curriculum Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) is the statutory body responsible for advising the Government on the Northern Ireland school curriculum, monitoring educational standards and awarding qualifications. Its mission is ‘to enable the full potential of all learners to be achieved and recognised’.

3. The subject of Citizenship has been compulsory in Northern Ireland since September 2007 for all pupils in primary and secondary education, up to the age of 16.

One of the 3 main strands of the Citizenship curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4 (age 11 to 16) is ‘Local and Global Citizenship’ and one of the four concepts within this strand is ‘Democracy and Active Participation’.

At Key Stage 2 (age 8-11), pupils explore the need for rules and laws and how they are created and implemented.

At Key Stage 5 (age 16+), the AS-Level Government and Politics syllabus requires students to complete a module on the Government and Politics of Northern Ireland and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of devolution and power-sharing in Northern Ireland. 

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