Our Message On Community Relations Goes To Politicians

The Integrated Education fund submitted its response to the public consultation document on community relations work in schools (CRED). The core issue is that young people need to be learning with each other rather than about each other’s differences as is suggested in the consultation document.

We would also wish to see greater value given to the wealth of experience and practice that has been developed by schools, youth and community groups and civic society in supporting young people to work through issues of segregation and separation.  There has been a massive amount of work at grassroots level, often charitably funded and run voluntarily, to promote a shared society, and it would be disgraceful if this experience and skill were sidelined or even lost.
As we said in our response to the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration proposals, we want to see a legal duty  on all schools in receipt of public money to be ‘inclusive shared spaces’ and be visibly working towards being open to children from all political, religious and cultural backgrounds.  The department should provide support to schools wishing to collaborate and to explore mergers, amalgamations and integration across different management types.
Our current economic context will either fuel sectarianism, as groups and institutions compete for diminishing resources, or will provide a catalyst to reorganise how we deliver services and grow our communities. We can either choose to become equally impoverished but separate or share our resources, assets and wealth to improve outcomes for all.