4 Mar

Carl Frampton backs Glengormley High School’s fight for Integrated Education status

Carl Frampton backs Glengormley High School's fight for Integrated Education statusA Co Antrim school has asked parents to vote on becoming integrated.

Glengormley High School has started a ballot with parents and guardians given a vote for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Integrated Education.

And with the voting process closing next week, past pupil and Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education patron Carl Frampton , appealed to parents to have their voices heard.

During a trip to the school on Tuesday, Carl told Belfast Live: “I am trying to promote the school’s hope for Integrated Education through this ballot. Hopefully to get it over the line and get the result that we all want.

“A crazy statistic is that only 7% of schools in Northern Ireland are integrated, which is remarkable really when you think about that. And it’s a bit odd and a bit sad too but Integrated Education for me is something that I have talked about for a long time.


27 Feb

Mental health of pupils threatened by online world and exams

Mental health of pupils threatened by online world and examsExtreme pressure to achieve at school and be liked online are the biggest threats to schoolchildren’s mental health, research has found.

The key findings are from a large-scale study commissioned by two executive departments.

It also found increasing levels of anxiety and self-harm, even among younger children.

One interviewee said they worked with an eight-year-old who was discovered looking at websites about self-harm.

The research also said schools had to fund most of the support for pupils with mental health issues from their own budgets.

Principal of Oakgrove Integrated College in Londonderry, Katrina Crilly said: “Schools are now not becoming centres of academia and academic performance; we are a one-stop shop for mental health, social anxiety and it is actually putting a huge stress on our already limited resources”.


19 Feb

Extra £427m for education in Northern Ireland requested

Extra £427m for education in Northern Ireland requestedThe Department of Education (DE) has bid for an extra £427m in funding in the 2020/21 budget.

Pressures have increased across a number of areas, a DE official told MLAs.

By 2022, an extra £716m will be needed compared to this year, according to the DE’s director of finance Gary Fair.

The education budget – which covers schools and youth services – is one of Stormont’s biggest at about £2bn a year.

Mr Fair detailed the need for extra money while giving evidence to Stormont’s education committee.

He said the increase was needed to pay for things like a teachers’ pay settlement, increasing special educational needs (SEN) support costs and essential maintenance work in schools.


18 Feb

A challenge to the separation of schools…

A challenge to the separation of schoolsA closed and boarded-up primary school must be one of the commonest, and saddest, local sights. Crumbling façades. Peeling paintwork. Broken windows. The silent playground that once resounded to excited chatter. Weeds breaking through the tarmac where generations of children played football, rounders and ‘chasies’. Schools aren’t just places of education, they are centres of community and repositories of communal memories, but there is little place for such sentimentality in educational planning. Empty school desks and restrictive budgets mean that savings are imperative.

Duplication is surely the quintessential indicator of luxury – the two-car family, the second home – when money is tight the aspiration shifts to having just one that does the job efficiently. Yet it seems, at times, that even the smallest community requires two schools – one for them and one for us.


18 Feb

Budget: Extra money for education and health

Extra money for education and healthHealth, education and roads in Northern Ireland will benefit from an extra £18m in spending this financial year.

The money has been made available as a result of late spending decisions made by Whitehall departments.

Those spending decisions have an automatic knock-on effect to devolved administrations.

They will also lead to an unexpected reduction in the capital budget, which will be deferred until the new financial year.


14 Feb

‘Are you a Fenian, Miss?’: inside the sectarian classroom

'Are you a Fenian, Miss?': inside the sectarian classroomOpinion: the structure of education in Northern Ireland reflects the deep sectarian divisions in the community

It’s winter in Northern Ireland and the colours on the kerbstones have lost their bright summer hues. The once pristine lamppost flags hang in tatters now, and no one cares to parade down even the most contested wind and rain-battered streets. Outside of the July and August “Marching Season”, it is the separation within education that most obviously defines the demarcation lines of community division.

To the informed observer, the kaleidoscopic spectrum of school uniforms in bus depots at 3.30pm are a code that identifies the community identity of each child. Autumnal greens, yellows, oranges and browns dominate the attire of those who attend Catholic schools, whose blazer badges are resplendent with Celtic crosses and crossed papal keys, underscored with sage words in Irish.


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