10 Mar

A-level results nothing to celebrate

The Minister of Education recently revealed, in a response to an Assembly Written Question by Paul Butler, the number and percentage of schools leavers in the Neighbourhood Renewal Areas who achieved 3 or more A Levels from 2006/07 to 2008/09. The statistics are stark highlighting the achievement gap between Protestant and Catholic socially disadvantaged communities.  For example: 46.5% of school leavers in 2008/09 from Andersonstown achieved 3 or more A Levels and only 16.6% from Inner East Belfast. Or 44.4% from Coalisland and 13.2% from Coleraine East. This once again points to the need for radical reform of our education system to a more shared and fairer system.  (more…)

1 Mar

More time needed to get the right CSI strategy

It now looks like publication of the Executive’s anti-sectarianism strategy will be delayed until after May’s Assembly election.  A draft Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration (CSI) was put out to public consultation last summer.  That discussion document was itself the product of two years bickering between political parties, in particular Sinn Féin and the DUP. (more…)

25 Feb

The myth of Eurabia, in Northern Ireland

In the ethnic mix of many modern and open cities, the Parisian neighbourhood of Belleville reflects a cosmopolitanism of shared spaces and the everyday need to just get on with the demands of life — working, school, shopping. (more…)

21 Feb

Promoting a Culture of Trust

There has been the usual buzz of activity in the office this past week – in spite of half-term break and winter bugs! – one aspect being preparations to launch the next round of Promoting a Culture of Trust (PACT)  funding.  The process has thrown up an opportunity to look at some of the PACT projects over the last eleven years; projects linking schools of different management types, usually in the same geographical area, to explore differences and similarities and to celebrate diversity. (more…)

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