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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16 Dec

NICIE launches fight back against budget cuts

What cuts are proposed for NICIE?

The DE draft budget proposes to reduce NICIE’s modest budget of £665,000 by £100,000 to £565,000. This represents a reduction of 15% almost twice the average across the education world. This proposed cut is disproportionate and punitive and will severely impact upon and undermine the work of NICIE.

What does NICIE do?

– Challenges the segregated system of education we have in Northern Ireland
– Supports schools who wish to become integrated through transformation or ethos change
– Supports parents who want an integrated education for their children
– Supports the 62 integrated schools which exist
– Supports the development of the integrated model of education
– Works for an expansion of integrated education to meet parental demand

 Why the cuts cannot be accepted?

– We continue to educate our children separately. 93 percent of our children are educated in single identity schools
– Our society continues to be fractured; we need to promote mutual understanding and cohesion. Our schools provide a space in which to do this
– Our economy is in crisis with budgets to schools being cut. A reimagining of our system would release funds to provide a quality education and play its part in shaping the citizens of a peaceful, prosperous tomorrow
– There is an increased public debate around education with public support for integrated education standing consistently at 80%

How can you help?

  •  – Respond to budgetconsultation@deni.gov.uk
  •  – Record your support for Integrated Education and your recognition of the work of NICIE
  •  – Register your protest at the proposed cuts to NICIE
  •  – Remind DE of their statutory obligation to support Integrated Education, provided by both Article 64 Education Reform Order (1989) and written into the Belfast Agreement
  •  – Remind DE of the recent Judicial Review which reminded DE they must be alive to their duty to encourage and facilitate Integrated Education and should guard against actions which might impeded this support. Cutting NICIE’s budget will seriously impede the expansion of Integrated Education
  •  – Keep the debate on a ‘fit for future’ education system alive
  •  – Support this campaign via Twitter using #protectintegratededucationNICIE
  •  – Visit the NICIE website for more information www.nicie.org




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9 Dec

Professor says investment in shared education is a waste of money

A senior academic is questioning the costs and benefits of the Government’s Shared Education policy and argues that the project fails to tackle community divisions.

Professor Alan Smith, who is Chair of the UNESCO centre at the University of Ulster, has examined the Department of Education’s business plan for its £25m roll-out of sharing between schools and describes the policy as possibly “an expensive diversion in the current economic climate, which invests in separate schooling rather than tackling what is a de facto segregated system.” (more…)

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13 Nov

A rallying call from the House of Lords

Baroness May Blood has called for the full implementation of the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement and says she wants real action in support of parents and schools seeking an integrated choice for their children.

Responding to a recent call from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools for an abandonment of the Stormont Executive’s statutory duty to encourage the development of integrated education, the Baroness said this would be a rejection of an international agreement, ratified by voters in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


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