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24th Feb 2019 2:58pm News

ACT supports Council of Europe Free to Speak Safe to Learn campaign

In the midst of political tension, ACT supports new Council of Europe campagin

ACT is delighted to support the Council of Europe, ‘Free to Speak, Safe to Learn’ campaign.

The UK is one of 50 member states who have come together in the wake of increasing concerns about the rising political tensions across Europe, the increase in extremism, terrorism and radicalisation and the need to challenge the spread of propaganda, misinformation, and fake news.

The campaign invites schools to sign up to a new pan European network and pledge to be a ‘Democratic School’. It is organised under six themes, which fit perfectly with the requirements for National Curriculum Citizenship in England:

1. Making children’s and student voices heard

2. Addressing controversial issues

3. Preventing violence and bullying

4. Dealing with propoganda, misinformation and fake news

5. Tackling discrimination

6. Improving well-being at school.

Liz Moorse, ACT Chief Executive and the UK’s representative to the Council of Europe, Policy Advice Network on Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights education said,

‘We all share concerns about the pressures on young people today and the uncertainty about what the future holds. Citizenship has an essential role to play in providing and broad and balanced education and in supporting and strengthening our democratic culture. By equipping children with knowlege about democracy, human rights and the political system, we help them become more informed about the world around them, and to think critically and question what they hear, see or are told particularly when online. Citizenship also gives children real experiences of taking responsible action, being included in decisions that affect them whether at school or in the wider community, and speaking out on issues of concern.

Our new ACTive Citizenship Award Scheme that we launched just a few months ago with our friends at First News is a key way in which we hope schools will empower their pupils to become informed, active and resilient citizens who can positively contribute to democratic society through the choices they make and the actions they take. It is also an ideal project for schools to take on as part of pledging to be a ‘Democratic School’ when joining the Council of Europe ‘Free to Speak, Safe to Learn’ campaign.'”