9 Jul

‘Separate but equal, and shared’?

An opinion piece by Chris Moffat, a former teacher, education  journalist and rights campaigner and was one of the founders of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education.

Once again the usual marching circus is in full throttle in the papers and blogs. The irony is that commentators have ignored the most relevant news. Minister of Education John O’Dowd’s has launched the Shared Education Campus programme; but he hasn’t addressed the High Court’s recent clarification of the distinction between ‘shared’ and ‘integrated’ education.

As a rights issue this raises some interesting questions. A right to integrated education has been more honoured in the breach for 25 years. Why wasn’t it discussed at St Andrews, or Weston Park? Why haven’t Equality Northern Ireland and the Human Rights Commission raised it at the UN? Why hasn’t the ‘human rights community’ challenged discrimination against integrated education by Department of Education all these years? Why is this not in the Haass Talks? (more…)

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27 Jun

Faith schools? Education must embrace those of all faiths and none

An opinion piece by Baroness May Blood, IEF Campaign Chair

The moral panic surrounding the so-called “Trojan horse” issue relating to some schools in Birmingham shows some disturbing but perhaps not surprising elements of modern society.  The issue has resonances of the Northern Ireland situation.  In the comments and columns which have followed the news, we see evidence of an innate mistrust of the “other” and an increasing cultural fragmentation of communities, underpinned by the state via the education system.

The UK is becoming ever more diverse but it should not become ever more divided.  This is a case where school leaders in Westminster and in local authorities could learn from Northern Ireland – where schools are being developed to combat division. (more…)

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10 Jun

Judicial Review of Drumragh IC case means the growth of integrated education is no longer optional

By David Cooke, lawyer and IEF Trustee

The Good Friday Agreement identifies integrated education as one of the cornerstones in a shared, peaceful future for Northern Ireland but it took a courageous challenge to the Education Minister from Drumragh Integrated College to secure a ruling that integrated education should be recognised at all levels of strategic planning for education in Northern Ireland. (more…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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