War, peace and the Welsh Baccalaureate

6 April 2016

Peace

An exciting new initiative which aims to complement schools’ Welsh Baccalaureate studies on global citizenship has been piloted by the University.

Led by the School of English, Communication and Philosophy in partnership with the Wales for Peace Project, sixth-form students participate in a day of Welsh-language activities designed to help them learn more about the topics of war and peace for the ‘global citizen’ element of their qualification.

Pupils from Ysgol Gyfyn Cwm Rhymni took part in the first pilot session which saw them discover the stories of conscientious objectors and others in Wales during the First World War, re-enact the tribunals such individuals faced and explore solutions to modern day conflicts.

“This is a great opportunity to educate secondary school pupils in subject areas that complement their other studies, and to train them with skills that can help them bridge the gap to university study,” said Coleg Cymraeg Lecturer, Huw L Williams, of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy who leads the project.

“I believe the Welsh Baccalaureate represents a great opportunity for educational institutions in Wales to work together in mutually beneficial ways and to link universities even more directly with our schools. Using the expertise we have at the University – and particularly in philosophy – we can help students with elements of critical thinking on themes such as global citizenship and examine the underlying assumptions of ideas on themes such as pacifism.”

Jane Harries of Wales for Peace - the organisation which aims to engage 100,000 people in discovering, sharing and learning from the peace heritage of Wales - said: “We want to inspire a new generation to work for a peaceful future, and we will use Wales’ peace heritage as the basis for creating teaching resources that develop learners’ skills and confidence.  Getting involved with Cardiff University and the Coleg Cymraeg in this way represents one opportunity for developing this work.  We hope that such activities will inspire young people in the long run to get involved in intergenerational oral history work, and community projects with international volunteers.”

Kayley Daniels is head of Year 12 at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni. Speaking about the initiative, she said:  “It was really positive to expose the pupils to different ideas and experiences, discussing the different views of famous Welsh pacifists such as Henry Richard and David Davies, seeing some of the history in the Temple of Peace (founded by David Davies), and then learning about the different arguments that people put forward in rejecting the call to war.  It was also nice to combine these activities with a visit to Cardiff University where our pupils could get a feel for the University experience, at a time when they’re starting to consider their options.”

The War and Peace global citizenship challenge event is one of nine Welsh Baccalaureate activities being piloted in 2016 as part of the of the University’s School’s Partnership Project. It is hoped that the event can build on its successful pilot and involve further schools in Wales.

The School’s Partnership Project supports researchers’ direct engagement with students and helps bring contemporary and inspirational research contexts into formal and informal learning. The Partnership Project is funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK) as part of their School-University Partnerships Initiative.