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New education package to mark 25th anniversary of Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement


The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has today (Monday 19 December) announced the development of a new educational package telling the story of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and Northern Ireland’s transformation over the past quarter century.


This is part of the Northern Ireland Office’s programme to mark the 25th anniversary of the landmark peace treaty.



The new education package will include lesson plans and activities for young people, and a school assembly pack suitable for all ages featuring an animated video. The optional resources will be made available to teachers, parents and youth workers across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK next year.


The Secretary of State visited The National Archives in London to meet the historians and educators who are developing the package in conjunction with teachers and other educational experts. The forthcoming free, optional resources will explain the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement to school children and young people in an age appropriate, factual manner.


The resources will allow them to reflect on Northern Ireland’s journey since its signing, including how Northern Ireland has moved from a period of conflict to the peace and vibrancy that it enjoys today.




As part of its work, The National Archives will create an advisory board made up of academics and teachers who have experience and understanding of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, and will be working with young people in Northern Ireland who will tell Northern Ireland’s story.


Speaking after viewing an original signed copy of the Agreement and other related official records at the The National Archives, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP said:


“Peace is precious, and it’s immensely important that young people in Northern Ireland and right across the UK learn about the significance of the internationally renowned agreement.



“Young people will write the next chapter in Northern Ireland’s story and these resources will enable them to engage with the anniversary and appreciate the gains made from the Agreement.


“The 25th anniversary of the Agreement offers a real opportunity to bring all communities together to look to the future, and consider how we can build on the remarkable progress Northern Ireland has made this past quarter century.


“I’d like to thank The National Archives, the advisory board, and young people who will be involved in this project for their dedication to telling Northern Ireland’s story over the past 25 years.”



Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives said:


“This education project offers a real opportunity to bring all communities together in partnership to look to the future. These resources will be created by people who have lived through the process for those young people who are the future of Northern Ireland.


They will have a key role in supporting and maintaining peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland, and it’s right that they learn about the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement’s significance to their communities.


“Archives sit at the heart of our collective understanding: who we are, where we came from, and where we are going and this project illustrates the potential in archival collections to enrich our collective understanding.”



Education Minister Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP said:


“The 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement is significant not just in the history of Northern Ireland, but for the whole of the UK.


“This new education package is a valuable optional resource, and it is absolutely right that young people right across the UK have the chance to learn more about the Agreement and the journey towards peace and stability that Northern Ireland has made since 1998.”

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