29 Nov

Inter-Faith Week 2011

OFMDFM Junior Ministers Martina Anderson and Jonathan Bell sponsored a panel discussion marking Inter-Faith Week, organised by the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum: “Accommodating faith and diversity in Northern Ireland”.

The panel discussion was chaired by Liam Clarke, and the panellists were: Steven Agnew MLA, Sammy Douglas MLA, Anna Lo MLA, and Conall McDevitt MLA. (more…)

22 Nov

Shimna Integrated College Gay/Straight Alliance

‘Homophobia kills. LGBT kids are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. They are also more likely to self-harm and suffer from depression or substance abuse. And that’s before we begin to count those who are harmed by others, attacked because of their sexuality, real or perceived.’

Charlie Condou from the article ‘Why Is School Such a Hard Place to be Gay?’, The Guardian, 10th November 2011 (more…)

17 Nov

Robinson: “shared education is the way forward”

I was fortunate enough to catch the end of an event in Newcastle on Monday night when children from thirteen maintained, controlled and integrated primary schools ‘graduated’ from the Shared Languages, Shared Cultures programme, run by the town’s Shimna Integrated College.

The programme, supported by Queen’s University’s Sharing Education Programme (hats off to Prof Tony Gallagher) and funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and businessman Gerard O’Hare, recently picked up the TES Outstanding Community Partnership Award.  The TES judges’ commented: “The main hope forNorthern Ireland’s peaceful and prosperous future lies in its schools and the brave pioneers who are devising shared education programmes between educators in either sector. Shimna’s example is at once humbling and inspirational.” (more…)

14 Nov

“Learning through Play – Learning for life – learning to Care”

New friends playing together


This year my class is lucky to be part of a link up project between 3 local schools funded by the Integrated Education Fund. The 3 schools involved are 2 nursery classes, Windmill & Drumshee & a primary class in a special school, Sperrinview. I love having links with others but unfortunately it does cost money, we have to be able to pay for the transport costs to visit each others settings or to go on trips to other places. So I was delighted to receive over £3500 to help fund a great project this year with the 3 classes, it’s called “Learning through Play – Learning for Life – Learning to Care”. (more…)

14 Nov

The education system in N.Ireland

I am very conscious that when I am talking about ‘my school’ most people don’t know much of anything about the education system in Northern Ireland where I teach. Like most things about N.I it is complicated & if you are as confused at the end as you were before, then I have done my job correctly!

Stormont, N.I Parliament Building.


19 Oct

It’s the way they tell it

It wasn’t quite the Oscars but I hope the winners at the IEF’s annual Carson Awards ceremony felt proud of their work – and that we made them feel special when they travelled to Belfast to collect their trophies and certificates. 

Frank Carson, who founded the awards, couldn’t join us but still managed to make everyone laugh – via video.

There was high praise from his son, businessman Tony Carson, speaking for the family who sponsors the occasion. He commented that the art, films and drama produced for the competition should be like a beacon shining beyond integrated schools.  (more…)

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