David Whelan talked to Barry Corr, Principal of Seaview Primary School in Glenarm, a school on the verge of becoming the first faith school to transform to integrated status in Northern Ireland, about the journey to integration.
School integration in Northern Ireland is far from a new concept. Department of Education figures show that there are currently 62 grant-aided integrated schools in Northern Ireland with a total enrolment of 21,956 pupils, around 7 per cent of the pupil total and in 2019 alone, seven schools have voted to transform to integrated status.
Integration and the desire for integrated education in Northern Ireland is also a long-standing legacy. The 1923 Education Act Northern Ireland set out a vision for all children to attend the same non-denominational schools, with no religious instruction during school hours. The bill was met with great resistance from both the Catholic and Protestant churches and was essentially amended to revert the system back to segregation as had been the case.