A new term means a fresh start for four newly integrated schools across Northern Ireland.
Integrated schools in Northern Ireland will see their biggest increase in over a decade as Brefne Nursery School, Belfast, Carrickfergus Central Primary School, Harding Memorial Primary School, Belfast, and Seaview Primary School, Glenarm, all transform to Controlled Integrated Status at the start of the new school year.
Recent surveys carried out by LucidTalk and the joint QUB/UU ARK project show continued public support for integrated education, with 71% of people in Northern Ireland believing that integrated education should be the norm, while 69% would want their children to attend a mixed-religion school.
Almost any school in Northern Ireland can begin the process of transforming to integrated status but no school transforms without majority support from parents, the first step in a process that culminates in approval from the Education Minister.
Schools are supported in their transformation journey by the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and the Integrated Education Fund (IEF), who also provide financial support to help schools explore the process and work with its local school community. Integrated education continues to be the fastest growing form of education in Northern Ireland, with around 7.5% of all children now attending an integrated school.
Roisin Marshall, Chief Executive of NICIE said;
“Four schools joining the integrated family this September is fantastic news, the most at any one time in over a decade. Each one of these transformations is the result of months, sometimes years, of hard work and effort by dedicated parents, staff and governors. This commitment has paid off, with the four schools embracing the diverse religious and cultural community they serve, and securing a brighter future for generations of pupils to come.
This is what the integrated movement has been about since Lagan College opened 40 years ago this September – parent power bringing a very real change to their children’s education. We are proud to support these school communities through the process of transformation.”
Tina Merron, Chief Executive of the IEF added;
“We were absolutely delighted with the Minister’s decision to approve these four schools for integrated status and we look forward to supporting them on their integration journey. The IEF has been raising awareness of transformation through our ‘Integrate My School’ campaign and it is encouraging to see it being embraced so positively by parents and schools. The IEF and NICIE are working with more schools than ever before who desire formal integrated status and who see the added value that quality inclusive education brings for their children.”
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