Many surveys and research projects in the past have come up with statistics showing that a majority of people would like to see more integrated schools. We are now facing some tough decisions on education, as in all areas of public spending; we have already put forward the sound financial arguments for integration, but we want to know how the current economic and political context shapes people’s attitudes, and whether the public debate on integrated education has built more support for the movement.
Through the Integrated Education Fund’s work on cross-community projects involving all types of schools, we are aware that many people are happily sharing facilities, experiences and activities with others from all religions and backgrounds. To underline the grass-roots commitment to diversity we have commissioned an opinion poll. The survey, carried out by ipsos MORI, will seek the views of a representative sample of adults of all ages from all around Northern Ireland, and will address issues such as where savings could be made in the education system, how comfortable people feel with religious or political symbols in schools and whether single-faith schools should receive state funding.
The research is scheduled for the end of January and we will have a full report and analysis of the figures in early March. This will form a central part of our campaigning and advocacy work as Northern Ireland builds up to the Assembly and Council elections in May. Watch out for the headlines when the results come in!
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