22 May

Politicians need to talk to young people… and listen to them

Stephen Clarke, Sixth form co-ordinator at New-Bridge Integrated College, says that  politics, campaigns and elections are of great interest to young voters… if only the politicians would recognise it.

Having taught in New-Bridge Integrated College for more than ten years I would say that,  in my experience, young people are interested and engaged in political issues and processes.  As 6th Form Co-ordinator I teach lively, alert students who are ambitious over a range of fields.  Many are already voters and others are about to become voters. Their voices should be heard and their opinions taken into account. We have been fortunate enough this year to have had visits to our College by the Minister for Education, Mr John O’ Dowd and the Minister for Justice, Mr David Ford where they have debated with our students and given them a chance to voice their opinions.  Unfortunately, invaluable opportunities such as this do not occur often enough in our schools. (more…)

16 May

This sets things straight for the good of all

Nigel Frith is Principal of Drumragh Integrated College which brought a judicial review of the Department of Education’s rejection of its development proposal. These are his thoughts on the judge’s ruling that the Department of Education has a duty to encourage the development of integrated education specifically through integrated schools and that this duty should have a bearing on all education strategy.

In a society that is scarred and struggling toward real peace, indeed where young people are arranging sectarian battles on Facebook, it seems completely obvious that they should be educated together – all day, every day. (more…)

16 Apr

“We’re casting off our parents’ past and looking ahead…”

A blog post by India Fahy, a past pupil of Omagh Integrated Primary School and Drumragh Integrated College.


During my A-levels at Drumragh Integrated College, I had the privilege of being taught Government and Politics by a brilliant young teacher called Catherine Seeley. Catherine moved on and was, until recently, teaching at a school in north Belfast.

As you will probably know, Catherine was subjected to an awful campaign of sectarian abuse by some in that community – because, as well as being a teacher, Catherine is a Sinn Fein councillor. Thus a talented and passionate teacher was intimidated out of that school and had to move. (more…)

11 Apr

Let’s build a future for everyone

An opinion piece by John Armstrong, Managing Director of Construction Employers Federation.

Recession has been hard on most sectors, but it is common knowledge that it has been particularly hard on the construction industry. Public and private contracts faded away and we now need urgent action from the government departments to bring work to the market as quickly as possible.

This does not mean that I want to see a frenzy of development without thought to the future landscape, both physical and social. The schools estate, and by extension the education system, is a case in point. (more…)

31 Mar

Simple maths: the costs of division

A blog by Ben Collins, Regional Director, Wales and Northern Ireland, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

In today’s globalised economy, Northern Ireland cannot afford to be seen as a divided society. As long as Northern Ireland is seen as comprising two separate communities, we will have a problem. This is not to say that a diverse culture is a problem, but there are ways to cherish, nurture and respect different cultures and traditions whilst facing the world united.

I believe that creating a shared society is a crucial element of developing prosperity. Prosperity is not just economic; it encompasses community welfare and personal well-being. But the entrenched structures of division impact economic and social development and hold us back from thriving as a society. (more…)

18 Mar

Integration left out in the cold

A blog piece by Baroness May Blood, Campaign Chair of the Integrated Education Fund.

I am glad that the OFMDFM is planning to continue issuing an annual report using the Good Relations Indicators.  The title may not mean much to the general public but their use is important, monitoring the steps we take to normalise society in Northern Ireland.  It’s also important to know that the “indicators” used are going to change. (more…)

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