24–26 April 2024 | International workshop on digital campaigning for a social purpose

The international workshop on digital campaigning for a social purpose – which took place from 24 to 26 April 2024 in London – was the culmination of our work with schools. It brought together schools from the UK and the EU, and connected young people aged 15–18.

From October 2023 to March 2024, the school groups had the opportunity to take part in a series of virtual events and work together through facilitated sessions supported by the British Council.

School teams presented their collaborative projects at an online pitching event on 6 March 2024 and were assessed by a jury panel from the British Council, the European Parliament Liaison Office in the UK and OBESSU, the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions. Projects were assessed based on the level of co-operation, whole-school approach, the outreach to the community and the sustainability of the project, as well as the innovation and social impact of the idea.

The winning schools that were awarded places on the international workshop on digital campaigning consisted of the team ‘Trash Heroes’, Obchodni akademie Tabor, Czech Republic; Panora Lyceum, The Netherlands; Apeitio Gymnasium Agros, Cyprus; and the runners-up ‘Seeds for the Future’, Ysgol David Hughes, Wales; and ‘Fight Fake News’, Lurgan College, Northern Ireland.

The schools also benefited from a visit to the Europe House in London, where they had the chance to visit the Interconnected Realms: Exploring Togetherness exhibition at the 12 Star Gallery, featuring creative works by young people from across the EU and the UK.

Members of the winning teams taking part in the international workshop on digital campaigning for a social purpose, Europe House, London
Members of the winning teams taking part in the international workshop on digital campaigning for a social purpose, Europe House, London
Members of the winning teams visiting the ‘Interconnected Realms: Exploring Togetherness’ exhibition at the at the 12 Star Gallery, Europe House, London
Members of the winning teams visiting the ‘Interconnected Realms: Exploring Togetherness’ exhibition at the 12 Star Gallery, Europe House, London

Previous events

8 November 2023 | The Role of Grassroot Initiatives for Climate

The first Connecting Schools online event focused on the role of grassroot initiatives for climate. Climate change is one of the most critical challenges we face today, with many areas of the UK and Europe already affected by extreme weather phenomena. With rising movements calling on policymakers to take measures to ensure a liveable planet for future generations, young people will be at the forefront of the discussions that will shape the rest of the century.

5 December 2023 | Integration of Refugee Students

The second Connecting Schools online event explored ways of integrating refugee students in our schools. In the past several years, there have been increased refugee flows in Europe, the most recent one as a result of the war in Ukraine. Coming from different cultural backgrounds and facing language barriers, refugee students can face great challenges in the process of integration in their host countries. Young people interact with each other at school and during activities such as sports and the arts. These social interactions sow the seeds of making young refugees and their families feel welcome in the new country.

24 January 2024 | Fake News and Disinformation

The third Connecting Schools online event delved into the phenomenon of fake news and disinformation in order to help pupils assess information in a critical way. While the rise of the internet and social media has created more direct communication and access to the news, it has also facilitated the dissemination of fake news. In addition, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has blurred the lines between truth and deception even further. Disinformation can be used in various ways to manipulate public opinion and it is crucial for citizens of the present and future to challenge and cross-check news sources. Young people overwhelmingly use the internet to communicate and stay informed on current events. It is important that they acquire the tools to critically assess the information they consume and are able to recognise credible news sources.

27 February 2024 | Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Education

The fourth Connecting Schools online event aimed to raise awareness on the topic of gender stereotypes in education. Are boys really better at maths and sports than girls? Are girls naturally quieter and more well behaved? What is the reality on the ground regarding access to schooling and learning for girls and boys in the international context? Pupils across the world face these and more gender stereotypes every day. Stereotypes that could hold them back and limit their potential in the classroom and beyond. With awareness, discussion and active practice, we can break these stereotypes and achieve equality among pupils, as well as a brighter future for young people in education and the workplace.

About Stronger Together for Social Action

As part of the Social Action strand of the programme focusing on schools, we organise thematic events, workshops and competitions to facilitate partnership building between schools in the UK and EU.

We aspire to highlight the role of young people aged 15–18 as changemakers, active global citizens and leaders at local, national and European level.

Key activities include:

  • virtual thematic events on topics of common interest, generated by young people themselves through participation in an online survey
  • international school partnerships between schools in the EU and the UK working together on social action campaign projects.

Winners of the school partnership competition will have the opportunity to take part in an international face-to-face workshop on digital campaigning for a social purpose!

School partnerships

This strand of the programme brings together schools from the UK and the EU in school partnership groups involving young people aged 15–18. The groups will be guided in their joint work through a small number of facilitated online meetings. Each group will consist of two schools from the UK and three from EU countries and will have the opportunity to take part in the following activities:

  • four facilitated sessions with a British Council facilitator (October 2023–January 2024), and two preparation sessions with teachers and two involving pupils
  • classroom resources/activity plans to support the work of the group – these could be used as part of the curriculum, in tutor time or as part of an extra-curricular activity
  • development of a common social action project (October 2023–January 2024) – examples include collaborating on advice packs for schools receiving refugees, a joint film on social media on the impact of climate change in different towns and cities across Europe
  • a social action competition (February 2024) – the winning group will have the opportunity to send one teacher and three students from each of the five schools to an international face-to-face workshop on digital campaigning (April 2024).

Online events

There will be four Stronger Together online events beginning in the autumn of 2023 that any school can sign up for. These events will involve experts who will explore in detail the themes chosen by the partnership groups. Some background reading will be provided before the events and pupils will have a chance to pose their questions to the expert panel. The events may include themes such climate, sustainable development, integration of refugees in Europe, fake news and disinformation.

All events will be held in English.