28 Jan

Integrated schools give a warm welcome to international supporters

Two Belfast integrated schools were delighted to get the opportunity to show some visiting VIPS how their support has helped the school welcome newcomers to Northern Ireland.

Senior representatives of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) saw how Forge Integrated Primary school and Malone Integrated College are benefitting from a grants funded by the OSF and administered by the IEF.

Hugh McLean (Programme Director) Kate Linkins (Programme co-ordinator) , Nazia Hussain (Project Director) and Luke Shore (Project officer) travelled from their London office to see activities and initiatives developed with their help. (more…)

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23 Jan

Integrated education on show to Labour MPs as leader Ed Miliband visits Hazelwood IC

Pupils at Hazelwood Integrated College showed how the school is opening minds when they made the most of the opportunity to talk to Ed Miliband MP, leader of the Labour Party on 22 January.

Mr Miliband and Ivan Lewis MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, were welcomed to the College by Principal Kathleen O’Hare and were also greeted by Baroness May Blood MBE (IEF Campaign Chair) and Tina Merron, the IEF Chief Executive as well as by staff, governors and local DUP MP Nigel Dodds. (more…)

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19 Jan

No cuts to schools’ budgets as Stormont Executive agrees spending plan

The financial pressure on schools has eased a little after the Northern Ireland Executive found an extra £150m for its 2015-16 budget. The biggest single allocation from this additional funding goes to education.

The Executive moved swiftly to agree a budget following last month’s Stormont House Agreement, with Finance Minister Simon Hamilton’s plan winning majority approval last Friday.

He said the extra money for the Department of Education reflected a commitment at Stormont to a high quality education system, and is given in light of the consultation on the draft education budget at the end of 2014. Contributions to this consultation showed widespread concern that the quality of education in the classroom was under threat. (more…)

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9 Jan

Stormont House Agreement acknowledges importance of integrated education

We in the Integrated Education Fund are pleased to see that Integrated Education has been identified once again as an investment in peace and a contributor to reconciliation. The Stormont House Agreement, drawn up just before Christmas after weeks of discussion, sets out actions on some key issues facing the Executive including matters of peace and reconciliation and acknowledges the need to bring pupils together.

The Agreement includes a capital investment of £500m in shared and integrated education, to be delivered over ten years. This is to be welcomed, though it is has not been explained how this will be apportioned out or what criteria will be used to allocate the funding. It is stated that individual projects must be agreed between the Executive and the Westminster Government. However it appears to be good news for the majority of people in Northern Ireland who want to see children learning and growing alongside peers of all traditions and backgrounds. (more…)

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6 Jan

Have your say on shared education

Education Minister John O’Dowd has opened a consultation on the proposed Shared Education Policy and the Shared Education Bill. The Programme for Government for 2011 to 2015 makes a commitment to increase the number of schools sharing facilities and to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to participate in shared education projects.

The proposed policy, “Sharing Works” builds on the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Advancing Shared Education, which reported in 2013. The policy covers areas such as defining, encouraging and facilitating shared education, funding and sustaining shared education into the future and effective monitoring and evaluation of shared education activities. (more…)

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