Integrated AlumNI launch Ten Asks.

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and the Integrated AlumNI recently launched a joint message prior to the Northern Ireland Assembly Election on 05 May ‘Educate children together in the same classrooms, learning side by side, every day’ at Parliament Buildings.

Tina Merron, Chief Executive of IEF, said “A long-term plan is needed with a road map over the next 20 years to normalise the education system in Northern Ireland. This plan needs to set targets to measure progress that will ensure Integrated Education is available to all pupils who want it. We are calling upon the all new MLAs to support children learning together side by side and ensure this is top of their priorities.”

Michael Lynch, Chair of Integrated AlumNI, said “The last 12 months has seen substantial progress in making Integrated Education available to all pupils. This can be illustrated by the passing of the Integrated Education Bill, the Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill, four new Integrated schools opening in September 2021 and the setting up of the Independent Review of Education. We hope the new MLAs continue to build on this momentum as they take up their new roles.”

The ten key asks from the IEF and Integrated AlumNI of the new Assembly are:

1. An increase in the number of young people from diverse backgrounds educated together in the same classrooms, learning side by side, every day.

2. A single body for the administration of education that is accountable to the Department of Education and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

3. Area planning shaped by the community and reflects parental choice and community needs. This will ensure Integrated Education is given due consideration in the area planning process.

4. A presumption is established on overarching area planning that all new schools being built should be considered as Integrated.

5. A single model of governance and good practice for all schools.

6. A single teacher education system, where teachers of all faiths and none are educated together.

7. The implementation of the Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill to end religious discrimination in the recruitment and promotion of teachers.

8. The implementation the Department of Education’s Integrated Education Strategy as outlined in the Integrated Education Bill.

9. The provision of ring-fenced funding for the Department of Education for a dedicated team within the Department to match the demand for Integrated Education, in line with the Integrated Education Bill.

10. Cross–departmental working to allow best use of resources and to help develop Shared Housing and Integrated Education.