21 Jan

Our politicians need to be business-like

A blog post by Tony Carson, businessman and supporter of the Integrated Education Fund.

I was born and began school life in Belfast, though the family moved on as my father Frank’s career took off beyond Northern Ireland. I took a degree in business before moving into the food services sector and later gradually diversifying my activities. I have always maintained an interest in social issues – actively supporting integrated education, for example, whilst keeping a distance from politics. But my frustration with the Stormont parties is mounting. I want to see Northern Ireland flourish; and I realise that we need a genuinely business-like approach to politics and government.

I have frequently set out the economic arguments for a system of integrated schools in NI –rationalisation in the face of budget cuts and over-supply, of places and the improvement to the NI “brand” if we present a cohesive, progressive aspect to the international business community.

But beyond this, applying business sense to the way the Executive and Assembly work would bring dividends for everyone. (more…)

14 Dec

Integrated education will help free us from poison of sectarianism

A blog by Trevor Lunn. Trevor is Alliance MLA for Lagan Valley, having served the constituency in the role since 2007. He is the party’s education spokesperson.

When visiting Northern Ireland in recent years, US President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush both made a point of visiting integrated primary schools.

It was a ringing endorsement of the integrated sector and a chance to showcase on the global stage the benefits and growing popularity of integrated education. This form of education is the best option to help create a shared future for our society and it is vital more is done to help promote it. (more…)

1 Dec

Mission control: we need schools to unite in their vision for the future

Each school in Northern Ireland has its mission statement – and it’s the duty of the board of governors to see that the school reflects and adheres to it. To be clear: each school has its own, individual mission statement.

Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?

Presumably those which mention specifically “academic excellence”, “the Dominican tradition” or “Catholics and Protestants together” give a clue that you are dealing with a particular ethos or admission policy. But isn’t it the role – and therefore the mission – of each and every one of our schools in NI to educate, nurture and develop our children? “Our” children meaning the younger members of the community rather than of any particular family. How can every school be on a different mission? (more…)

19 Nov

Shared Education Bill? – Could do better!!!

This Bill deserves extensive scrutiny. The issue of shared education is important – too important for us to miss an opportunity to help build an Act which works to benefit young people and the wider community. The Committee’s consultation on the bill opened the way for citizens to raise concerns and contribute to the future of sharing and integration in Northern Ireland’s schools.

The Bill itself looks slight: purely a bid to give shared education a legal definition, list a start date for the EA to assume a statutory duty in relation to shared education, and give other education bodies a power to encourage and facilitate the practice. (more…)

6 Nov

Speech by Hilary Copeland, NI Integrated Education Alumni Association – IEF House of Lords dinner, Monday 2 November 2015

It’s been quite a significant year for me and my relationship with integrated education. Since October 2014 I have been involved with the Northern Ireland group of the Integrated Education Alumni Association, attending meetings and organising events, as well as getting in touch with past pupils 

Recently I’ve also been able to reconnect with my old school, New-Bridge Integrated College. They approached me in June to work on their celebrations ahead of the 20th anniversary of the college in September. Throughout the summer I researched and collected archive photos and press clippings from my school’s history, organising displays and exhibitions for the anniversary week last month. (more…)

20 Oct

Peace; by Year 10 students from Drumragh Integrated College

When I think of peace I think of sunsets, smiling people, meadows, inspirational quotes. I think of news reports of wars come to an end in faraway countries and people that have made headlines across the world for standing up for what they believe in.

But maybe, peace isn’t just stunning photos taken at the right moment or world leaders reaching an agreement. Maybe peace is the smaller things, the things closer to home, the little things we do each day. Random acts of kindness; helping out a friend in need, opening doors for people, these little things that make others smile, slowly making our world better. (more…)

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