24 Sep

“Preparing children in segregation is not preparing them for life”

Ryan Cairns, a pupil at Shimna Integrated College and a Member of the NI Youth Parliament, looks back at his life in integrated education:

Integrated Education has put me in a bubble. Whilst some might take that statement as a severe negative, I disagree. I think it has been the best environment for me to grow up in.

My education began, by way of happy coincidence rather than political decision, in All Children’s Integrated Primary in Newcastle. My mother and my aunts had already attended the school, so the decision for me to attend was a natural one. I had an absolute blast and made friends for life. Never once did I feel that my or anyone else’s faith was being stamped down either. We were put through the holy sacraments of Confession and Confirmation just the same as anywhere else. (more…)

23 Aug

How do we make peace permanent in Northern Ireland?

Prior to the visit to Belfast by US President Barack Obama, students around Northern Ireland were asked to consider how they would ensure a peaceful future. After attending the President’s speech at the Waterfront Hall and watching the events of the summer unfold, the Head Boy at Strangford Integrated College put his thoughts into words:

How Do You Make Peace Permanent? by Craig Weir

NORTHERN Ireland is a country which has been bitterly divided by religious affirmation for over thirty long years, in which 3,529 people have died from both sides of the divide and over 50,000 people injured. But now as we approach the end of a very tense year we must look to the future, to our young people, who don’t want the traits of the past; we want a diverse and successful Northern Ireland which we can be proud of. I had the privilege as Head Boy of Strangford Integrated College to attend the recent speech by President Obama in which he said, “ Ultimately, whether your communities deal with the past and face the future united, together, isn’t something you have to wait for somebody else to do – that’s a choice you have to make right now.” (more…)

14 Aug

My experience of Integrated Education

by Stephen Mackessy

At the age of 17, I have spent most of my life in education, but one of the key things that has made me the person that I am today, is the fact that throughout my school career, I have attended integrated school.

I was born into a mixed religion family, with my Dad being Catholic and my Mum being Protestant, and this was one of the key factors in me attending integrated school. At the young age of 4 I went to Hazelwood Integrated Nursery, and this was a clear choice for my parents as they wanted me to experience everything, and not be brought through segregated education like they were. (more…)

5 Aug

Why words matter in the language of politics

Words matter and clarity about what words really mean also matters.

In May, the first and deputy first ministers announced how they intended to progress building a shared future in Northern Ireland. First Minister Peter Robinson said the proposals were the most ambitious ever brought forward on the issue. (more…)

5 Jul

How do you make peace permanent?

When Ronan Curran,  a year 10 student at New-Bridge Integrated College, entered an essay competition to mark the visit of President Barack Obama to Northern Ireland, he never envisaged that not only would the President read his piece of creative writing but would invite Ronan and 10 fellow students to the Waterfront Hall on Monday 17th June.  Ronan received praise from the White House for his entry into a competition open to students aged 14-18 in Northern Ireland, in which they were asked:  How do you make Peace Permanent in Northern Ireland? (more…)

26 Jun

It’s time to fulfil wishes of people on integration

From Baroness May Blood, Campaign Chair, Integrated Education Fund

Recent visits by Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have highlighted the work of integrated schools, setting them before the international community as an example of the way forward. The United Nations recently judged segregated education to be a major problem here. The poll results show that citizens are acutely aware of the global image of Northern Ireland and want the decision-makers to take segregation out of the education system as a priority. (more…)

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