Recent poll shows overwhelming support for integrated education

The vast majority of parents in Northern Ireland would support their school becoming integrated, according to a poll published in the Belfast Telegraph today.

The opinion poll, carried out by Lucid Talk and commissioned by the Integrated Education Fund (IEF), reveals that 79% of parents interviewed said they would back a move to transform their child’s school to integrated, while 66% of all people questioned believe integrated schools should be the main model of our education system. More than two-thirds said an integrated school best prepares children for living and working in a diverse society.

Tina Merron, Chief Executive of the IEF, said “It seems that current policy is to enshrine and bolster the status quo. Yet these poll results show continuing public support for a single education system, for integrating schools and for offering what voters say is the best preparation for young people facing an increasingly diverse world of work.

“It seems that the Minister of Education, the Executive and the advisors are wary of effecting real reform even though the majority of the public would support such a move. With the current need to address the challenges facing education and with processes underway to examine the delivery of education, surely the time for radical change is now.”

Significantly, the poll results show that only just over a quarter of those questioned (28%) knew that any school in Northern Ireland can opt to become integrated. This suggests that the Executive and the Department of Education are not doing enough to make the public aware of the possibility and thus failing in a statutory duty to promote and encourage integrated education.

Download the results of the opinion poll here.