St. Paul’s Community College Waterford has been selected to represent Ireland in a special education programme to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
As living memory of what was one of the deadliest battles of the First World War fades, the programme – designed by the British Council – aims to raise awareness of the significance of World War One and the importance of UK-France relations in continuing peace and stability in Europe today.
St. Paul’s Community College will forge partnerships with schools in the Somme region in France to allow pupils from both countries to discuss their shared history, build friendships and to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme, 100 years on. The highlight of the programme will be a face to face workshop for all of the schools involved in July 2016.
Noreen Reilly Principal commended teacher Mr. Ger Lohan on his interest and participation in the project. “This is a fantastic opportunity for the students of St. Paul’s Community College who will have the honour of representing all Irishmen and women who lost their lives in World War 1. It will be a privilege to take part in this historic moment, to reflect on the futility of war and the need for peace. Forging lasting friendships among young people from Ireland, UK and France will I believe contribute to greater understandings and good relations for the future, hopefully ensuring that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. We are grateful to the British Council for affording us the opportunity to represent Ireland and participate in this fully funded 5 day event in France.
The British Council, commented: “The Battle of the Somme is one of the most tragic battles of the First World War, in which more than one million men were lost. By engaging young people with their shared history, they can build understanding, skills and friendships for the future. These are essential elements for a peaceful and prosperous Europe.”
The programme is financed by the Department of Media and Sport and delivered in partnership with the French Académie of Amiens and the Mission for the Centenary of the First World War.
The British Council has also created a special education pack for schools to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. The pack contains resources to help students develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the conflict. It covers topics including experiences of the Somme from around the Commonwealth, Pals Battalions, conscription, recruitment and remembrance today.