16 May

Education – could do better is the message to the new NI Assembly

Research carried out just before the NI Assembly Election found widespread dissatisfaction with public services in Northern Ireland – and Education was no exception to this.

Independent polling company LucidTalk ran a “Tracker” survey (one of a series following trends in opinion) in March and found that only 48% of the representative sample gave education even a slightly favourable rating.  Most of these people judged the service a middling  ‘fairly good’ (ie very few thought education in NI “very good”). (more…)

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8 Apr

Snapshot of support for education reform

 By Bill White CEO, LucidTalk polling company

Education is a key issue in Northern Ireland (as it is anywhere) and our recent NI-wide opinion poll for the Integrated Education Fund produced some interesting results and showed some key patterns and trends. As you probably know, the main key advantage of polling is that it allows us to get regular snap-shots of public opinion, about not only voting intention, but views on policies, political leaders, and a whole host of topics that can’t be measured in public elections e.g. in this case views regarding education. They also allow us to see how males/females, particular age-groups, and here in NI how our religious groups think about topics and issues – again these can’t be measured just by public elections. (more…)

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31 Mar

Education reform must be at the heart of the campaign

by Baroness May Blood, IEF Campaign Chair

After years of complacency it’s time to challenge the notion that the Northern Ireland education system is world-class.  As the Assembly election approaches, it’s a challenge politicians must not ignore. The recent survey by independent research company LucidTalk, shows clear evidence of frustration with the schools system in Northern Ireland, in the face of sluggish progress at Stormont in improving processes and structures.  When participants were asked what three words or expressions came to mind to describe the NI education system, responses included: “entrenching sectarianism”; “divisive”;  wasteful; and “a rudderless, vision-less political football.” (more…)

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2 Feb

Integrated schools prove there is an alternative to division….

By Trevor Ringland

For some time, opinion polls have shown a desire from people in Northern Ireland that our children should learn together.  Despite overwhelming support for the idea, there is no clear strategy to end segregation in our education system and only 7% of pupils attend ‘integrated’ schools.  We have a ‘Shared Schools Strategy’, but there are justifiable concerns that, while it pays lip service to sharing, it is chiefly a way of avoiding genuine integration, devised by politicians who are suspicious of the concept. (more…)

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28 Jan

Our past should not stop us planning for a united future

By Baroness May Blood, IEF Campaign Chair

A new year is a traditional time for a new beginning.   The media is full of features on new starts and resolutions.  Many of those resolutions will be abandoned by now, as we head into February, but it remains a good opportunity for reflection and planning on the way we move forward as a society.   And of course the start of 2016 is an especially good time to examine the prospects for Northern Ireland, opening as it does an election year for the Assembly. (more…)

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21 Jan

Our politicians need to be business-like

A blog post by Tony Carson, businessman and supporter of the Integrated Education Fund.

I was born and began school life in Belfast, though the family moved on as my father Frank’s career took off beyond Northern Ireland. I took a degree in business before moving into the food services sector and later gradually diversifying my activities. I have always maintained an interest in social issues – actively supporting integrated education, for example, whilst keeping a distance from politics. But my frustration with the Stormont parties is mounting. I want to see Northern Ireland flourish; and I realise that we need a genuinely business-like approach to politics and government.

I have frequently set out the economic arguments for a system of integrated schools in NI –rationalisation in the face of budget cuts and over-supply, of places and the improvement to the NI “brand” if we present a cohesive, progressive aspect to the international business community.

But beyond this, applying business sense to the way the Executive and Assembly work would bring dividends for everyone. (more…)

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