21 Jan

Newry Event, Friday 27th January

Integrated Education Fund are running an online information evening for anyone in the Newry area with an interest in Integrated Education.

 

The IEF is a charity that supports and promotes Integrated Education. Only 7% of children in NI attend an Integrated school, while polling consistently shows over 70% of people in Northern Ireland think it should be the norm.

 

The IEF would like to invite parents of Nursery, Primary and Post-Primary age pupils to join us on 27 January at 7:30pm to discuss their thoughts on how we can support more integrated provision in the area.

 

During this meeting staff from the Integrated Education Fund will share information about Integrated education and how the Transformation process can work for a school. There will also be time for parents to share their thoughts, ask any questions and discuss some practical next steps.

 

If you would like to attend, please register here: https://forms.gle/Ff6PCzafPpN9mTu7A

For further information please email alice@ief.org.uk.

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5 Jan

Welcoming Bangor Central Nursery School to the Integrated family!

The Integrated Education Fund is thrilled to be starting off 2022 in style, as Bangor Central Nursery School was approved for the move to Integrated status this coming September! 

With applications for pre-school places closing at the end of the month, this will be the first opportunity for parents in Bangor to apply for a place in an Integrated nursery.

 

The Education Minister Michelle McIlveen has approved a development proposal that will enable Bangor Central Nursery School to Transform to Integrated status, effective from the start of the next school year.

Parents voted overwhelmingly in support of the significant change in a ballot in 2018, with 97% in favour of the move, beginning the process of Transformation under the previous principal Mrs Millie Williams.

The decision comes at a key time for Bangor Central Nursery School, with the deadline to apply for nursery places falling on the 28th of January, 2022. For the first time parents in the Bangor area will be able to apply for a local Integrated nursery.

Tina Merron, Chief Executive of the Integrated Education Fund welcomed the move:

“The successful Transformation of Bangor Central Nursery school is fantastic news for the parents, teachers and governors who have worked so hard to get this process across the finishing line.

Demand for places in Integrated schools is higher than ever and it’s important to be able to give this choice to parents at all levels. It’s been a great year for Transformations and we look forward to working with more schools and parents to enable an Integrated place for any child that wants one. ”

Roisin Marshall, Chief Executive of NICIE said:

“This is a big achievement for Bangor Central Nursery School as they become only the second freestanding Integrated Nursery School. We offer warm congratulations to the whole school community who worked on this proposal as well as dealing with the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alongside Bangor Central Integrated Primary School, there is now more choice for parents in the Bangor area who want their children to have an Integrated Education across nursery and primary school.”

Pamela Algie, principal of Bangor Central Nursery School:

“Bangor Central Nursery School has always been an inclusive school where all communities, cultures and backgrounds are welcomed and celebrated. The natural next step for the school was to seek to formally integrate through the Transformation process”

“In everything we do as a school, we put the children and families first. As an Integrated Nursery School we are formalising our ethos that everyone in the community is valued in our school and that learning together in an inclusive environment, even from this young age, is what is best for the children in our care.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Jan

Bangor Central Nursery joins the Integrated Family!

The Education Minister Michelle McIlveen has approved a development proposal that will enable Bangor Central Nursery School to Transform to Integrated status, effective from the start of the next school year.

Parents voted overwhelmingly in support of the significant change in a ballot in 2018, with 97% in favour of the move, beginning the process of Transformation under the previous principal Mrs Millie Williams.

The decision comes at a key time for Bangor Central Nursery School, with the deadline to apply for nursery places falling on the 28th of January, 2022. For the first time parents in the Bangor area will be able to apply for a local Integrated nursery. 

 

Tina Merron, Chief Executive of the Integrated Education Fund welcomed the move:

“The successful Transformation of Bangor Central Nursery school is fantastic news for the parents, teachers and governors who have worked so hard to get this process across the finishing line.

Demand for places in Integrated schools is higher than ever and it’s important to be able to give this choice to parents at all levels. It’s been a great year for Transformations and we look forward to working with more schools and parents to enable an Integrated place for any child that wants one. ”

Roisin Marshall, Chief Executive of NICIE said:

“This is a big achievement for Bangor Central Nursery School as they become only the second freestanding Integrated Nursery School. We offer warm congratulations to the whole school community who worked on this proposal as well as dealing with the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alongside Bangor Central Integrated Primary School, there is now more choice for parents in the Bangor area who want their children to have an Integrated Education across nursery and primary school.”

Pamela Algie, principal of Bangor Central Nursery School:

“Bangor Central Nursery School has always been an inclusive school where all communities, cultures and backgrounds are welcomed and celebrated. The natural next step for the school was to seek to formally integrate through the Transformation process”

“In everything we do as a school, we put the children and families first. As an Integrated Nursery School we are formalising our ethos that everyone in the community is valued in our school and that learning together in an inclusive environment, even from this young age, is what is best for the children in our care.”

 

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23 Dec

Looking to the future – it’s only just begun.

Happy Christmas from all at the IEF!

 

2021 draws to an end, and we can all finally look back on a year that’s brought more than its fair share of both challenges and celebrations. First of all, we’d like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and New Year. Your support for the Integrated movement is invaluable and appreciated more than you know!

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in all its permutations has proven to be the biggest challenge for educators, children and parents everywhere – we applaud each and every one of you for your hard work and resilience over the past 18 months.

That’s not to say it’s been all bad news. Four new schools joined the integrated family in 2021, with Harding Memorial, Central, Seaview Primary Schools joining Brefne Nursery in all winning approval from the Education Minister to transform to integrated status.

September also saw Lagan College mark its 40th anniversary, with schools across the country joining in to mark the birth of integration. From a single Scout hut in 1981 to the massively oversubscribed modern campus in 2021, Lagan shows us that from small acorns mighty oaks grow.

We were also thrilled to be able to hold two years’ worth of Carson Awards there, back in October!

Polls continued to show a high and sustained support for Integrated Education from the Northern Irish public, with a countrywide Attitudinal Poll showing 71% of respondents in favour of integration being the norm going forward.

The Integrated Education Bill continues its way through Stormont, with the IEF amongst the stakeholders presenting to the education committee. The long awaited Independent Review of Education in Northern Ireland is finally under way, with the panel confirmed. Our message is clear – the current system is unsustainable and root and branch reform is the only way forward. We will continue to engage at all levels to keep integration at the forefront of educational discourse.

Within the past month two further schools have also held positive parental ballots in favour of moving to integrated status, namely Straid Primary School and St Anne’s Primary School and we look forward to working with them throughout the year.

We are also eagerly awaiting approval for two more schools awaiting a Ministerial decision, Glengormley High and Bangor Central Nursery.

With your continued support and encouragement we know we can make 2022 another successful year and together we can build a better future for all our children and young people.

 

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17 Dec

The Independent Review of Education now open for your views and comments.

The Independent Review of Education have launched a survey for stakeholders, giving those in the wider education system and the general public the opportunity to have their say on this vital process.
A letter was released last week:
“You may be aware that the Independent Review of Education commenced in October 2021. Further information on the Review, including its terms of reference and panel biographies, can be accessed at the Independent Review of Education website at
Whilst the work is at an early stage we are keen to engage with stakeholders and the wider public to gather views on the key issues linked to the Review. We are conscious that everyone may have an interest in this work. To that end we are launching a public consultation in the form of a survey for all those who wish to express their views on the current education system. This will help us in our thinking on what good education in Northern Ireland should look like and in identifying the priorities for our future work.
This survey is a first step at capturing views. During our work we hope to meet with those directly involved in all aspects of education; visit schools, colleges and other educational settings; and receive evidence from a range of people.”
We at the IEF have long called for root and branch reform of the local education system. Please take the time to examine the website and let your feelings be known.

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13 Dec

New Paper – Education across the island of Ireland: comparing systems and outcomes

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) has welcomed the publication of the latest briefing paper from the Ulster University UNESCO Centre that looks at Education across the island of Ireland: comparing systems and outcomes.

Stephen Roulston School of Education, UNESCO Centre Ulster University says;

There are certainly serious failings within the education system of Northern Ireland (NI) and structural issues that should be addressed, albeit with no little difficulty. However, while they may be less challenging than those in NI, Ireland too has its issues with education. There is a need for both jurisdictions to learn from other systems and to move towards systems of education which meet the needs of all, and not just a privileged few.

NI has, until recently, looked east to follow closely the shifting educational policies emanating from Westminster, but there may be much to learn from looking south as well. There is a pressure not to diverge too far from Great Britain (GB) which might disadvantage NI students in applying for GB universities. Depending on the political party which holds the Minister of Education brief, the idea of divergence from GB and some adoption of educational policies which have worked successfully in Ireland may also be more or less sympathetically considered.

A lot, however, comes back to the community divisions in NI’s education system and the dogged retention in NI, thus far, of an 11+ system despite the accumulating evidence which suggests that it contributes to generating inequalities across the system. Arguably, that may be the biggest structural barrier to making positive change to education in NI.

Should political developments result in NI’s and Ireland’s two education systems becoming more closely aligned again, considerable work would be required as education structures on both sides of the border have evolved significantly in the century since partition. There are disparities in school structures, in teacher pay, in school governance and in assessment, for example.

There are certainly advantages to be gained in each education structure adopting successful approaches used in the other, but the perceived threat to some communities in NI in doing that may militate against the potential benefits that might accrue in a closer alignment.”

Commenting on the paper, IEF Chief Executive, Tina Merron said;

“This study is an important examination of the different approaches to education in Northern Ireland and Ireland. The IEF supports any review of education that will bring young people and schools together and provide a better education system.

There is an urgent need for the review of education within Northern Ireland at all levels including area planning, school goverance, the multi administrative bodies and school choices offered to parents.  This paper is timely as it will feed into the review of education been undertaken by the Independent Review of Education.”

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) has welcomed the publication of the latest briefing paper from the Ulster University UNESCO Centre that looks at Shared Education and Integrated Education in the Northern Ireland education system.

Transforming Education Briefing Paper 14 Education across the island of Ireland: comparing systems and outcomes will be distributed to politicians and influencers on Tuesday 14th December and can be accessed on line at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/research and at www.ief/org.uk

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