Harding Memorial Primary School in the Cregagh area of east Belfast has taken a major step towards becoming the first integrated school in the area. Parents have voted overwhelmingly to take the school on the path to becoming officially integrated, through the process termed “transformation”.
The school’s principal and board wanted to ballot parents after they found evident interest in integration among the school community. The vote (run by the Electoral Reform Services between 04 and 25 June 2019) showed 87% support for integration in the responses.
Roisin Marshall, CEO of Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), said she was delighted by the vote but not surprised:
“We know there is an appetite for integrated education among parents in Northern Ireland and this ballot underlines that in no uncertain terms. We look forward to supporting Harding as the school community explores the process of transformation and works together to further develop and strengthen its welcoming and inclusive ethos. This process of transformation will help meet consistent parental demand for integrated education.”
Tina Merron, CEO of the Integrated Education Fund, added:
“Congratulations to everyone at Harding Memorial Primary School. The next steps on the school’s journey will be enriching and exciting. Parents have been consulted and made their preference clear, echoing the evidence from successive opinion polls over many years. Alongside growth in existing integrated schools and other potential transformations, formal integration at Harding Memorial represents continuing growth in integrated education.”
The two organisations will support Harding Memorial PS as it progresses towards submitting a Development Proposal to become integrated to the Department of Education.
Parents around NI can express their support for their own school to become officially integrated on the Integrate My School platform: www.integratemyschool.com
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