24 Mar

Young voters of tomorrow grill politicians at Lagan College

Westminster candidates Máirtín Ó’Muilleoir (SF), Ross Brown (NI Green Party) and Rodney McCune (UUP) were among a team of politicians facing tough questions from an audience of 17- and 18-year old students at the Integrated Education Fund’s “Youth Hustings” at Lagan College on Monday (23 March 2015).

The panel also featured Fearghal McKinney (SDLP) Paula Bradley (DUP) and Chris Lyttle (Alliance). Broadcaster and journalist Jim Fitzpatrick chaired the event and the audience was drawn from Lagan College, Grosvenor Grammar School and Ashfield Girls’ and Boys’ Schools. (more…)

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20 Mar

Westminster austerity measures – major blow to vital public services

The savage cuts imposed on public services in Northern Ireland as a result of the Westminster Government’s austerity measures are set to devastate education provision, teachers attending the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in Northern Ireland were told.

The Conference at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast debated the budget cuts following comments made by Education Minister John O’Dowd that 500 teaching jobs and 1,000 non-teaching jobs could be lost in one year alone.

A motion debated at the Conference says that “education is fundamental to economic prosperity and to social cohesion and that education must be fully protected from further savage cuts’ and calls on the Northern Ireland Assembly to ‘continue to invest in and prioritise education for the future of all who live and work in Northern Ireland.’

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretarysaid: “The savage Westminster driven austerity measures will deal a major blow to vital public services in Northern Ireland, including education.

“If these cuts go ahead they will change the face of educational provision in Northern Ireland for generations to come.

“The high quality provision teachers have sought to deliver will be simply unsustainable if hundreds of jobs continue to be cut.

“Teachers working lives are already blighted by excessive workload, which can only increase if more jobs are lost and those remaining in schools are left to fill the gaps.

“Year on year the demands on teachers and the turbulence and uncertainty increase.

“Teachers’ dedication and commitment is being stretched to the limit.

“It is grossly unreasonable to expect them to continue to do more and more with less and less.

“Teachers deserve more from politicians and employers than declining pay levels, deteriorating conditions of service and job loss.

“A school’s most precious resource is its workforce. Cutting the workforce cuts the heart out of the school.”

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland, said: “Children and young people are entitled to be taught by those who are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals and have working conditions which enable them to focus on teaching and learning.

“The NASUWT will continue to oppose these cuts and the planned redundancies which are a consequence of them.

“Education is vital to the economy. Investment in education is an investment in the future.”



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12 Mar

Education Minister John O’Dowd views work in progress at Maine Integrated Primary School

Pupils staff and governors at Maine Integrated Primary School welcomed Education Minister John O’Dowd on 11 March when he visited to view improvement works worth £728,000.

Maine IPS opened in 2003 and is thriving, with a growing and diverse enrolment. The investment, under the School Enhancement Programme, will provide additional accommodation in modular buildings, creating new classroom and group space, a multi-purpose hall, a room for pupils with special educational needs and school meals facilities.

The Minister made a short tour of the school, chatting to children and enjoying two songs from the school choir which recently participated in the Ballymena Music Festival. (more…)

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5 Mar

A bright future on the horizon for integrated schools

Integrated schools and colleges around Northern Ireland have been using ingenuity and creativity to celebrate International Integrated Education Week. This event highlights Integrated Education and the important role it plays in the educational and peacebuilding landscape in Northern Ireland and beyond. Integrated schools take the opportunity to reflect on their special ethos and celebrate the diversity and unity they represent.

Internationally, the focus was turned on “Integrated and intercultural education in Europe” at a conference in Croatia hosted by the Nansen Dialogue Centre. Paula McIlwaine, representing the IEF and NICIE, joined other speakers from Macedonia, Germany, Norway, Turkey, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. (more…)

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3 Mar

Annual IEF Scarecrow Competition at Garden Show Ireland

Garden Show Ireland will be taking place again in the glorious surroundings of Antrim Castle Gardens from 8 – 10 May 2015. The scarecrows will be displayed in Allianz Scarecrow Wood for all to see during the Garden Show. The Scarecrow Competition is open to all integrated primary schools.

If you are interested in making a scarecrow for this competition and representing your school please contact Gemma at the Integrated Education Fund by Telephone: 028 90330031 or Email: gemma@ief.org.uk for further details and an information pack. (more…)

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26 Feb

Integrated Alumni in London host Economists’ Debate on Education Reform

A high-powered meeting in London has heard that bold new thinking is immediately required if we are to truly fulfil Northern Ireland’s potential. The London group of the Integrated Education Alumni Association organised a public seminar at the Deloitte headquarters on 19 February where educational and economic experts discussed the type of education system Northern Ireland needs to deliver long-term economic stability and prosperity.

The high-profile guests provided expert analysis informed by both their experiences and their expectations. Nearly 100 people, most originally from Northern Ireland, attended the event. Discussions revealed support among the audience for bold steps to reform the education system which would benefit Northern Ireland’s economy and promote social cohesion. (more…)

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