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FÉILTE – 5th &  6th October 2018, Mary Immaculate College, Co. Limerick, Ireland


President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins chats to IPEA members at the Showcase Opening Ceremony

FÉILTE is the Irish Teaching Council’s annual Festival of Education in Learning and Teaching Excellence, which celebrates the wonderful work that teachers do every day in their classrooms and gives teachers the opportunity to collaborate and share this work with each other and with the wider public. FÉILTE has been running for 5 years. It has different sessions:

  • keynote speakers,
  • Researchmeet,
  • Teachmeet,
  • Showcases and
  • Showcaser’s Stories.

All teachers are invited to attend, and the IPEA decided to apply this year to have a showcase. The application was successful and the IPEA was invited to present at the Showcaser’s Stories slot.


International Day of Prison Education:

October 13th is International Day of Prison Education. This marks the publication of the Council of Europe Recommendations that put prison education on a statutory footing. The European Prison Education Association encourages branches to celebrate the day. We felt that the IPEA taking part in FÉILTE was a good way to mark this anniversary.


The event:

The Teaching Council chose the IPEA to meet President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. Mr. Higgins spoke to the IPEA for a long time about prison education and his belief in the benefits of the Gaisce Award for prisoners. There was a steady stream of visitors to our showcase, many of whom did not realise that prisoners could attend education in prisons. President Higgins performed the Opening Ceremony on Friday night and mentioned the great work that was going on in Irish prison education.

On Saturday, Ciara Ryan (liasion person for the IPEA) spoke at the Showcaser’s Stories slot about the IPEA and our work in supporting educators in prison. “On reflection, we felt that it was a very worthwhile experience and it helped raise awareness of prison education. If we were to attend in the event again, we would consider bringing along membership forms, leaflets on the IPEA and some newsletters, as well as a visitor’s book to gather contact details of those who were interested in finding out more about prison education. We are very proud to have taken part.”


The IPEA Executive Committee

Sabina Higgins with IPEA committee
Ciara Ryan, IPEA and Larry DeCleir, Bedford Row
Ciara Ryan speaking at Showcaser’s Stories