24 Mar

Glengormley High Goes Integrated!

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

Glengormley High School is the first school to be approved for Transformation this year, and holds the distinction of being the first post-primary school to succeed in the process since Parkhall Integrated College in 2009.

 

 

Ricky Massey, Principal of Glengormley High School, said:

“The Glengormley High School Governors and staff are absolutely delighted with the Minister’s decision today.  We have been on this journey since early 2019 – engaging with pupils, parents, staff and the wider community.

The consultation evidenced a high demand for Integrated Education within our community and thankfully this will now been offered.  Becoming integrated is not about taking anything away from our community, but adding something amazing to it.

I am indebted to the invaluable help of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and the Education Authority (EA) working in conjunction with my staff to get us to this point.  We are so excited about this new chapter in our history which will ensure that our school is intentionally invitational to the whole of our diverse local community.”

Roisin Marshall, CEO of NICIE said:

“Today is an exciting day for Integrated Education and for families and young people in the greater Glengormley area. This is the first post-Primary school that has Transformed to Integrated status in over 10 years and Glengormley High School is a very welcome addition to the existing 20 Integrated colleges.

We look forward to working with Glengormley High School, the IEF and the Education Authority to support them to build their Integrated ethos in a school where children and adults can learn together for a shared society.”

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

“This is a great day for the parents, pupils and the wider school community who have campaigned for a number of years to bring Integrated Education at post-primary level to Glengormley.

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22 Mar

Sion Mills Says Yes to Integration!

Congratulations to the parents, teachers and children of Sion Mills Primary School who voted overwhelmingly to start the next step in the Transformation programme.

 

All parents were eligible to vote in the ballot, with (69%) of parents casting a vote. (98.7%) voted yes to Integrated status in the school, providing a resounding endorsement for their future plans.

 

“Sion Mills Primary School has had a long history of serving all parts of the community in the village and surrounding area, inclusivity has been part of out ethos for over 150 years. The natural next step for the school was to seek to formally integrate through the Transformation process”

 

The next step will be compiling a development proposal, which will be submitted to the Department of Education. The Minister for Education will then make the final decision.

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15 Mar

Integration Works – Registration open for March 30 Schools Event

‘Integration Works’ Schools Event 2022

 

The Integrated Education Fund and the NI Council for Integrated Education is delighted to invite principals, staff, governors and parents from schools across Northern Ireland to our next ‘Integration Works’ event which will provide information about Transformation – the legal process for a school to become integrated.

 

Date:                   Wednesday 30 March 2022

Time:                   9:45am-2:00pm

Location:           Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, Craigavon

 

During the last year we have seen five schools, from across Northern Ireland and from both the Controlled and the Catholic Maintained sectors, transform to integrated status.  In all these schools, the vast majority of parents voted in favour of their school becoming integrated. More schools have recently held successful parental ballots and are now progressing on their journey towards integrated status.

We are aware that many more school communities are considering this option and we hope that you will join us at this event to hear more about the process.

The ‘Integration Works’ event will include input from schools who have recently Transformed to integrated status and the Education Authority.  There will also be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and discuss your local school context with the NI Council for Integrated Education and the Integrated Education Fund.

Most of the schools that have held parental ballots and Transformed to integrated status during the last few years have attended one of our previous ‘Integration Works’ events and found it to be a useful tool in exploring if Transformation is suitable for their school community.

Financial support for sub cover will be available to enable school staff to attend the event, and lunch and refreshments will be provided.  If you have any questions, please contact Andrew Norrie at the IEF, by phone (028 9069 4099) or email (andrew@ief.org.uk).

Places are free but we recommend that you register early by emailing Andrew@ief.org.uk

To download the Integration Works guidance document from the Department of Education website, please click here.

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10 Mar

Success at Stormont for Integrated Education.

Yesterday marked a milestone in the journey towards teaching children together with the Integrated Education Bill passing 49 to 38, with one MLA abstaining.

The Integrated Education Fund welcomes the passing of the Integrated Education Bill. We congratulate Kellie Armstrong, who had the foresight to bring the Bill to Assembly and would like to thank our supporters and stakeholders who took the time to contact their MLAs and Councillors.

The first stage of the Bill was read in June of 2021 and has the distinction of having the longest debate in Stormont history. At every stage the Integrated movement has connected with politicians on all sides to highlight the benefits of educating children together.

From presenting to the Education Committee to engaging with stakeholders and our supporters, the IEF and NICIE has worked hard to support this Bill at all levels. In particular, the work of the Integrated AlumNI has been a credit to the organisation.

This is just another step in the journey towards Integration that started 40 years ago. 4 new schools Transformed at the start of the 2021/22 academic year, with one confirmed and one awaiting final notification for 2022/23. Two more schools held successful ballots to begin the process, with three more ballots due in March alone.

The Integrated Education Bill does not benefit one sector over any other, rather bringing Integrated schools into line with the other sectors. Wanting to advance integrated education is not about detracting from any sector or belittling the achievements of any schools and teachers who work incredibly hard to provide the best education for our children.

Our work continues with the aim of providing an Integrated place for every child who wants one.

The Bill is awaiting Royal Assent and can be read here. 

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10 Mar

IEF Trust Programme – Grant Applications Open Now!

The application period for the round seven of the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) Trust Programme is now open. 

The Trust Programme – Integration in Practice is designed to support integrated schools with embedding the integrated ethos within the structure of the school.

All applications should include school-based and community activities with parent/guardian involvement that demonstrate an integrated ethos, and projects must be completed by no later than 30 June 2023.

Examples of work to be funded include: whole school training for staff, governors and parents; updating school policies; developing school approaches on contentious issues; religious education; assemblies and/or festivals.

Applicants are encouraged to work with other integrated schools close by and joint applications will be accepted eg two integrated primary schools may wish to work together or an integrated primary and post primary school.

Funding of up to £4,000 for an individual school project or up to £6,000 for joint projects are available.  The total amount of funding available for the programme is limited therefore the number of grants that the IEF can award is also restricted.

Projects can begin from 01 September 2022 and must be completed by 30 June 2023. In order to be considered for a Trust Programme grant, applicants should show that the grant will support clear development and/or improvements on issues of integration within the school setting including improving religious balance within the school.

Deadline for applications is Friday, 01 April 2022 at 4pm.

 

 

You can download a Trust Programme application form here.

 

For any further information, please contact the IEF at claire@ief.org.uk or 028 9069 4099

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28 Jan

Independent Review of Education Consultations Now Open.

The IEF would like to invite its friends and supporters to make their views known to the Independent Review of Education.

The initial consultation is now open. We have long maintained that the current system is not fit for purpose and that root and branch reform is essential to bring our children’s education into the 21st century.

 

 

The deadline for this stage is February 4th 2022 and the survey takes approximately 20 minutes.

Please read our suggested talking points and feel free to suggest your own:

Key Changes – what needs to change?

To normalise the education system, to allow young people from different backgrounds to be together in the same classrooms, learning side by side, every day, a long-term plan is needed with a road map over the next ten years which includes set targets to measure progress.

The key changes which need to take place include:

  1. A single body for the administration of education.
  2. Area based planning which is shaped by the community and reflects parental choice, community needs, young people’s views and the desire for a shared future within financial realities.
  3. A single model of governance for all schools.
  4. A single teacher training system, where teachers of all faiths and none are training together.
  5. The extension of fair employment legislation to the appointment and promotion of teachers i.e. the removal of the FETO exception.
  6. A Department of Education Integrated Education Strategy to encourage, facilitate, promote and support the growth of Integrated Education.
  7. Cross–departmental working to ensure best use of resources and to help increase shared housing and integrated education.
  8. Ring fenced funding to support schools in their progress towards Integrated Education.
  9. A presumption established in overarching area-based planning that all new schools should be integrated.
  10. Ring fenced funding by the Department of Education and resources for a dedicated team within the Department of Education to match the growing needs of Integrated Education.

 

You can access the survey here.

 

 

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