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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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…)

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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…)

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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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6 Mar

Westminster Abbey memorial for Nelson Mandela stirred the soul

A blog by Ronan McCay, Campaign Fundraiser for the IEF

It was almost as cold inside Westminster Abbey as it was outside; the wintriest weather on what was supposed to be the first Monday of Spring. That mattered not, though, as I was privileged to be there for the memorial service celebrating the Nelson Mandela’ life and work. This was going to be an occasion to stir the soul – and it did not disappoint.

I was there on behalf of the Integrated Education Fund, invited by Dromore-born and raised Kathi Scott, the UK Executive Director of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and one of the IEF’s most passionate supporters. Education mattered hugely to President Mandela – he famously said it is the most powerful weapon at the disposal of those who want to change the world. At this event in his honour, it meant a great deal to me to be representing a campaign for positive change in education in Northern Ireland. (more…)

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