Statement from the IEF By Peter Osborne, Chair.
The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) welcomes today’s publication of the Independent Review of Education in Northern Ireland – ‘Investing In A Better Future’. We look forward to studying the full report in detail before coming to a considered view.
The Report states that “all learners at all stages should have the opportunity to learn alongside individuals from other communities and backgrounds in the same classroom.” This is something the IEF welcomes, after all that is the very essence of Integrated Education.
We are encouraged that the Independent Review supports increasing the number of Integrated schools by stating: “We believe that Integrated Education has made a significant and highly positive contribution to Northern Irish education and to broader society. We would wish to see it expand.” Additionally, “As soon as reasonably practicable, Integrated schooling or jointly managed community schools should be an option for all that wish it.”
Moreover, the IEF is also encouraged by the Review recommending reform of the area planning process, with the suggestion of an Area Planning Commission and recognising the need to establish a single Department for the entire education journey.
The IEF has long called for all schools in Northern Ireland to take positive steps to ensure a greater mix of religious background in their pupil population and, therefore, is also encouraged that the Review Team believes, “that the ethos and workings of the school(s) are genuinely welcoming to all.”