The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) is committed to the principle of community engagement in local decision-making. In partnership with the Rural Community Network (RCN) and a number of local organisations the IEF has recently finished facilitating a series of public conversations across Northern Ireland that have sought to contribute to a wider discussion on the future shape of our education system.
These events had the purpose of raising awareness to the wide set of challenges facing education while examining the levels of sharing that communities might be open to considering towards ensuring good local education. A summary report on the series can be found in this section. The IEF will be building on these events over the course of the next few months to encourage more local conversations/processes that contribute to area based planning consultation process.
Colin Knox, University of Ulster- Community Engagement in Education Policy Debate – A summary of the key messages emerging from the CEE Series highlighting the importance of citizen engagement in education planning. This report is timely in the current context of the area-based planning consultation process in which the Minister of Education, John O’Dowd, has stated that he wishes to hear from pupils, parents and the wider community before making his final deliberations. Read the full report here.
The context of severe cuts to the education budget presents real opportunities for local communities, local people, and their schools to do things differently; to imagine how education might be delivered differently in their area in the best interests of the children, both today and into the future. In many areas this could involve exploring greater degrees of sharing both within and between schools.
What do we hope are the outcomes of the Community Engagement in Education Project?
- Local people and communities making sense of their connection to education in their area;
- Local communities developing innovative solutions to ensuring good quality education in their area;
- Modelling involvement of local people and communities in educational planning; and
- Holding to account politicians and the education system in a context of significant change.