THE British Government has published a set of classroom resources to help educate children on the Good Friday Agreement and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The pack was unveiled by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris during a visit to Carrickfergus’ Ulidia Integrated College in Co. Antrim.
The school is the first to use the resources, which include a video which provides an “overview of the conflict and the peace process that brought it to an end”.
That seven minute video is designed “to lead a follow-up classroom discussion” on the topic.
The new educational tools will be made available to secondary schools and colleges in Northern Ireland and across Britain as part of the government’s programme to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, which falls next month.
Mr Heaton-Harris said: “Thanks to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, Northern Ireland’s young people have grown up in peace and safety, looking forward to a future of hope and opportunity.
“That’s why I’m incredibly proud to launch this new education package, which will give young people in Northern Ireland and across the UK the chance to deepen their appreciation and understanding of the Agreement’s benefits and encourage them to engage with this historic anniversary."
He added: “It’s particularly relevant that I’m launching this initiative in an integrated school, a symbol of reconciliation, which the Agreement promoted.”
The resources have been developed independently by The National Archives and in collaboration with academics, teachers and other experts, with consultation from curriculum and school bodies across Britain.
This first group of resources will be followed later this year by further classroom materials, the government’s Northern Ireland Office has confirmed.
Jeff James, Keeper and Chief Executive of The National Archives said: “This important resource gives young people the opportunity to study and discuss the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement using material from the original documents.
“It allows students to consider topics that affect them and their communities, at a level which is meaningful to them and to gain an understanding of how important the Agreement is.”
Robert Halfon, the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, added: “The 25th anniversary of the signing of the Agreement is significant not just for Northern Ireland but for the whole of the UK.
“It is absolutely right that we recognise the progress that has been made since 1998 and these free, optional resources for school assemblies can help build an understanding of our complex history.”
Teachers, and those who wish to use the free educational resources developed by The National Archives, can download the materials here.
You can also watch the video here.