The Chief Executives of the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) welcome the publication of Integration Works, the Department of Education’s guidance for schools on becoming formally integrated. Integration is available to nearly every school in Northern Ireland, and the official process of becoming integrated is termed “transformation”. The DE document offers advice and encouragement to schools considering this option.
Tina Merron, CEO of the IEF, said
“Some of the fastest-growing schools in Northern Ireland are transformed integrated schools. We know that there is wide support for integrated education among parents and the transformation process can put integrated education within reach for more families. I am pleased to see schools being given more information and encouragement through the Integration Works document, which acknowledges the benefits of integrated education and clarifies the steps a school community takes to become officially integrated.
The IEF and NICIE offer additional support and practical help to schools exploring the possibility of transformation. We look forward to assisting and welcoming more transforming schools in the future.”
Integration Works tells school leaders that “As children and young people prepare to live and work in a global, multicultural and pluralistic society, the benefits of educating them together are becoming increasingly recognised.”
Roisin Marshall, NICIE Chief Executive, also welcomed the document, adding
“Integrated education is the biggest, most successful and sustainable community relations project in Northern Ireland with the biggest impact. Ask anyone who has been involved.
Transformation into integrated status gives parents from all sides of the community confidence that their religion, culture and traditions will be respected in the school and reflected in the board of governors, staff and pupil population. Integration has so many benefits and has the potential to ensure sustainability into the future for any school. Whilst schools that already have a mix in their population may be particularly interested in transformation, any school wanting to be more actively welcoming and inviting to the minority community could well see this as a fantastic opportunity.”
The government has a statutory duty to encourage and facilitate the development of integrated education and, through the Integration Works guidance, the Department of Education aims to “refresh and reinvigorate the transformation process, as a rewarding process for school communities, providing unique opportunities to enhance the educational experiences of children and young people.”
The IEF, working with NICIE, has developed an online platform for parents wishing to encourage their school to explore transformation: www.integratemyschool.com. This informs parents about integrated education and the process of becoming integrated, and invites parents to register support for their school to transform.
All types of school except Special schools and hospital schools are eligible to apply to transform to integrated status, and the DE has today emailed every eligible school in Northern Ireland with the revised guidance. In addition, a hard copy of Integration Works will be sent out next term, in January 2018.
To Download Integration Works from the Department of Education website please click here.
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