Poll of East Belfast parents confirms support for integrated education

During January 2021, independent polling company Lucid Talk completed a micro-poll on education among parents in East Belfast. Responses were received from a representative sample of over 200 parents living in the area with at least one child under the age of 12. The results, which show substantial support for integrated education, were launched at an online event hosted by Lucid Talk and the IEF on Thursday 25 March 2021. The event was attended by people from a range of backgrounds and organisations, including parents, political representatives and community organisations.

The micro-poll results confirm that a majority of the parents (82.3%) would like a school for their children which is openly welcoming to pupils from all sections of the community and that they would also be supportive of their local school becoming integrated (76.47%).

Poll of East Belfast parents confirms support for integrated education While parents felt that “Good educational standards” is the most important factor when choosing a school (100%), a school “reflecting a particular faith background” was viewed as the least important factor (11.8%). In addition, the two top factors identified in terms of ‘saving money’ in the education system were “Cross-community mergers of small and/or under-subscribed schools” and “Reducing administration costs at the Education Authority and/or Department of Education”. The vast majority were also in favour of “a joined-up approach to future planning for education and housing to help improve community relations in our society”.

The poll also found that 64.29% of parents of pre-primary school aged children in the East Belfast area are concerned that they may not be able to access a place in a school of their choice.

The presentation was followed by a Q&A session where the audience had a chance to put questions to the IEF and to Bill White, Managing Director of LucidTalk, and to discuss next steps regarding these findings.

A range of questions were answered during the Q&A, including what the barriers are to more integrated provision in the area (despite strong parental support), how integrated schools differ from other school types in ethos and practice; if the process of becoming integrated is straightforward; how integrated schools compare to other schools regarding academic performance; what area did the micro-poll cover; and was the Lucid Talk panel representative of local demographics, such as ethnic and socioeconomic background.

Due to 76.47% of parents in the area supporting their child’s school becoming integrated, the IEF will circulate the micro-poll results to all local nursery and primary schools to raise awareness of parental support for integration. For more details on this, or to find out how your school can transform to integrated status, please contact jill@ief.org.uk.

LucidTalk is a professionally-accredited research company based in Belfast, and operating throughout the UK and Ireland. It was commissioned by the Integrated Education Fund to carry out a micro-poll in the East Belfast area due to evidence of local interest in integrated education.

You can see full details of the poll here.

To register support for your child’s school to become integrated, visit: www.integratemyschool.com.