The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) is the financial foundation for the development and growth of integrated education in Northern Ireland. The Fund and its supporters aim to help make ‘integration not separation the norm’ in Northern Ireland’s schools. The IEF supports parental demand for the continued growth of integrated school places as well as encouraging all schools to provide their pupils with the opportunity to engage meaningfully with children from different cultural and religious backgrounds. In doing so, we help provide children with the chance to be educated together and learn to understand and respect their differences, as well as understand what they hold in common.
Since its establishment in 1992, the IEF has invested over £15 million in integrated education and cross community initiatives in education throughout Northern Ireland.
You can find more about the IEF’s history and activity here.
The school landscape in Northern Ireland
- 91% of Protestant primary children attended controlled (mainly Protestant) schools and 88% of Catholic primary pupils were enrolled in Catholic maintained primaries in the last academic year.
- At the same time, 88% of Catholic post-primary pupils attended Catholic maintained or Catholic managed voluntary schools and 89% of Protestant post-primary children attended controlled schools.
- Total pupil numbers have dropped from 340,940 pupils in 1997/98 to 311,559 in 2011/12.
- Integrated school pupil numbers have increased from 8,154 to 21,170.
According to an investigation by thedetail.tv 180 schools in the academic year 2012-2013 had no Protestant pupils on their rolls and another 111 schools taught no Catholic children.
Integrated education is the popular choice
A survey in 2013 carried out by LucidTalk found that almost 80% of parents would be happy for their school to transform to integrated status. For full poll results click here.
We are seeing a demographic downturn meaning a reduction in pupil numbers for schools of all types in Northern Ireland.
There are more than two and half times as many pupils in integrated schools in 2014 as there were in 1998… even though the overall NI school population has fallen by more than one tenth in that period.The OFMDFM asserts a commitment to a more cohesive society, and the GFA and the Education order of 1989 place a statutory duty on the Executive to encourage the growth of integrated education.
The Together Building a United Community policy document identified segregated schooling as a block to unity:
“The segregation in housing and our education system, physical divisions and invisible lines of separation that exist in both urban and rural settings can all act as barriers to meaningful sharing experiences amongst our children and young people.”
- The IEF is run by a Board of Trustees, currently chaired by Marie Cowan.
- Our Chief Executive is Tina Merron
- Our Campaign Council is chaired by Baroness May Blood
- Our supporters include: Barry McGuigan, Geraldine Hughes, Adrian Dunbar, Liam Neeson,
For a comment from our Chair, Campaign Chair or Chief Executive please contact the IEF press officer:
T: 028 9069 4099
M: 078 4192 7724