9 Jul

Sir Keir Starmer and Louise Haigh visit Forge Integrated Primary

Forge Integrated Primary School had a very special visit this morning as Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer and Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Louise Haigh joined Baroness May Blood, Richard Lemon (IEF Chair), Eamon Quinn (NICIE Vice Chair), pupils and staff at their summer scheme.



He praised the work of staff, pupils and parents, saying:

“The teachers, parents and children of Forge Integrated Primary School are helping build the shared future the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement imagined.

We owe it to the younger generations to deliver the promise of peace.”


Baroness May Blood added:

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Sir Keir Starmer and Louise Haigh to Forge Integrated Primary School, one of the first ever integrated primary schools to open in Northern Ireland. Forge is an example of the growing demand for integrated schooling, with enrolments practically doubling in the past seven years. There is real sense of momentum building for greater integration within the community. This year alone four schools have been approved to become integrated as a result of a democratic ballot of their parents. This includes the transformation of the first ever Catholic school and the first ever Nursery school. This is a result of the hard work of many people within the community – parents, schools and supporters. It is my great hope that one day government will finally start to plan for the development of more integrated education.”


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1 Jul

Survey boost for integrated education.

The latest Northern Ireland Life and Times survey is now available, with thanks to all at ARK. This social policy hub publishes the survey every year, with a unique insight to a wide variety of topics across the social spectrum.
We noted with interest that there’s been a significant increase in support for mixed schools, with just under 70% of respondents expressing a preference, compared to 61% in the previous year.
You can access the entire survey at https://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/

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29 Jun

President Higgins’ Praise for IEF.

President Higgins and his wife Sabina welcomed Baroness Blood and  Mr. Paul Caskey of the Integrated Education Fund to Áras an Uachtaráim to discuss not only the Baroness’ work on this issue, but also her contribution to peace and full participation in society for children and parents.

The President and Sabina, lifelong supporters of integrated education, took the opportunity to pay tribute to the work of the Integrated Education Fund and to Baroness Blood in particular, as well as discussing plans to move forward in cooperation.

Speaking after the meeting, the President said:

“The work of the Integrated Education Fund, which supports communities and schools who are working to create a shared future based on integrated education for their children, is of the greatest importance in its potential contributions as to how we might realise a peaceful and fulfilling future for all of the children on the island of Ireland.

We remain convinced that the ethos of practical equality that informs the Integrated Education and Educate Together movements is pivotal for our common future. It is one of the most important factors in enabling our children to become independent minded, yet socially informed and responsible, democratic citizens; citizens who are encouraged and enabled to envision the means to a better and fairer society, a shared society where there is room and appreciation for the views, skills and identities of all.”

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16 Jun

IEF’s Paul Caskey honoured in Queen’s Birthday List

We were thrilled to hear that our Head of Campaign, Paul Caskey, was awarded an OBE for services to education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list on Friday 11th June.

Paul has been with the Integrated Education Fund for over 20 years, developing the fundraising development campaign to help increase the growth of integrated schools in Northern Ireland.

Paul said:

“I am simply overwhelmed by  the kind and generous comments. Thank you all so much. The honour is for the parents, schools and supporters of the Integrated Education Fund and also the wonderful colleagues and people I have had the privilege of working alongside for the past 20 years. Onwards and upwards!”

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11 Jun

Brefne becomes first standalone Nursery School to Transformation to Integrated Status

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) in Northern Ireland has welcomed the announcement that Brefne Nursery School in north Belfast will become the first standalone nursery school to transform to integrated status here. The transformation will complete in September 2021, making the school the fourth to be approved to transform to integrated status in four months. The move represents the largest growth in integrated education through the school transformation process in over three decades.  (more…)

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