Students and staff at New-Bridge Integrated College in Loughbrickland were delighted to host Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today when he visited the school. The Taoiseach was keen to see how the College’s approach to integration throughout school life had earned it the Evens International Prize for Peace Education – the first school in the UK or Ireland to win the award. Last November representatives from the school travelled to London to receive the honorary title of ‘Laureate of Peace Education’ for their inclusive practices.
Leo Varadkar was welcomed by Principal Anne Anderson; Head Boy Matthew Houston and Head Girl Alanna McCourt; Roisin Marshall, CE of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), Tina Merron CE, Paul Caskey and Richard Lemon, Director of the Integrated Education Fund; along with Founding Chair of New-Bridge Board of Governors Mrs Norah Connolly and Deputy Chair Mr Philip Mehaffey.
Ms Anderson said
It is a great honour that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has chosen to visit New-Bridge Integrated College in person to see our work and to learn more about the ethos of integration. We are very pleased to be able to show him the great work of our staff and students and to demonstrate how an openly diverse society can form a united community. This is a proud day for the New-Bridge Community.”
After touring the school’s facilities, the Taoiseach took the opportunity to speak to pupils who discussed their experiences of diversity and integration at New-Bridge IC.
Speaking as he left the school Leo Varadkar said
“I am very happy to congratulate New-Bridge Integrated College on winning the international Evens Peace Prize. Having met students and staff I can say the honour is well-deserved; this school shows how diversity can be celebrated and nurtured in a positive educational environment. The students and teachers at the college are setting a great example, and I have no doubt that many of the confident and ambitious young people I met today will be leaders in their own right in the future.”
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