18 Mar

Coronavirus: Unions plead for school closure date

Coronavirus: Unions plead for school closure dateThe five teaching unions have “implored” the first and deputy first minister to set a date for schools to close.

In a joint letter the unions said Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill should “act immediately.”

“We call on you to bring an end to this uncertainty by announcing the date for school closures,” the letter said.

The Education Minister Peter Weir has said Northern Ireland’s schools should remain open for now.

Mr Weir added he would follow “expert clinical advice” in making any decision to close schools.


13 Mar

How I became a Campaign Manager with the Integrated Education Fund

How I became a Campaign Manager with the Integrated Education Fund

Here’s how Jill became a Parental Engagement Campaign Manager with the Integrated Education Fund

Did you go on to further/ higher education, if so what did you study and where?
I completed my B.Ed. in Primary School Education, specialising in Art at Stranmillis University College Belfast. I then decided to go back to study a few years ago, and completed a MSC part-time in Community Youth Work at Ulster University.

How did you get into your area of work?
I have spent years facilitating difficult conversations with a wide range of stakeholders and this, combined with my passion for education and improving the lives of young people, has led me to my current role. Working with families previously also allowed me greater insight into engaging with parents.


10 Mar

Twenty-five post-primary schools to get extra places

Twenty-five post-primary schools to get extra placesTwenty-five post-primary schools are to get extra places for new pupils in 2020.

The Department of Education (DE) has created 443 additional places to cope with an expected increase in demand in some areas.

Twenty schools have also been given 361 extra places in expectation of increased pupil numbers in 2021.

The department had previously warned of pressures on post-primary places in 2020 and 2021.

As a result they had asked principals to apply for temporary increases in their pupil intake for those years.

In 2019, 226 pupils had not got a post-primary place when the initial transfer process concluded in June and there was concern that number could rise this year.

The number of pupils due to transfer in 2020 is 24,017, compared to 21,732 in 2017 – a rise of more than 10%.


9 Mar

First I must honour God: the Catholic RE certificate

the Catholic RE certificateThe return of Stormont gives legislators the opportunity to loosen the grip that religious organisations have on our schools.

As they ponder the need for change they would be well advised to study the briefing paper issued this week on the Catholic Certificate in Religious Education by the UNESCO centre at the University of Ulster which is supported by the Integrated Education Fund and the Community Foundation.

It is the latest in a series of ten papers which rigorously scrutinise NI’s divided education system and have been designed to stimulate an informed debate.

It builds on previous reports on the Fair Employment Tribunal Order (FETO) exception which permits discrimination on religious grounds for employing teachers in schools and the extent of church involvement in education.


4 Mar

Study suggests review of ‘Catholic teachers certificate’

Study suggests review of 'Catholic teachers certificate'The `Catholic teachers certificate’ is “without educational merit or practical justification”, according to a study.

Academics have suggested there may be value in reviewing the Certificate in Religious Education.

The qualification is necessary if a teacher wants to work in a Catholic primary school.

Staff who undertook the course have questioned its requirement.

Their comments are featured in a paper published by the Transforming Education project at Ulster University (UU).

It has been developing briefing papers focussing on policies relevant to integration and separate schooling.

The latest study examined the certificate and its role in sectoral patterns of teacher employment.


4 Mar

Catholic RE certificate “disproportionately affects” women NI teachers

Catholic RE certificate "disproportionately affects" women NI teachersA Religious Education (RE) certificate needed to get a job in Catholic schools “disproportionately affects” the job prospects of women teachers.

This is partly because the vast majority of primary school teachers in Northern Ireland are women.

That is one of the findings of new research from the Unesco Education Centre at Ulster University (UU).

The certificate is necessary to be permanently employed as a teacher in a Catholic nursery or primary school.


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