28 Oct

Integrated Arts with the Carson Awards.

Integrated education pupils shine at the Carson Awards.

 

Pupils from across Northern Ireland won prizes for their creative endeavours  in this year’s Carson Awards, an annual showcase set up by the late comedian and entertainer Frank Carson and his son Tony, to support and salute creativity in integrated schools.

 

The ceremony, held in Lagan College, Belfast also saw the awarding of several Carson Prizes by Tony Carson, an entrepreneur and champion of integrated education.

The Carson Awards were started by Frank and Tony Carson in 2008 and are delivered through the Integrated Education Fund (IEF). There are two categories, the Carson Bursaries which fund arts related projects by post-primary pupils, and the Carson Prize, which is open to all pupils at integrated schools. Young artists submit work in a variety of mediums under the theme, ‘what integrated education means to me’.

Tony Carson said: “It’s great to be here in person, especially after last year’s event was postponed due to the restrictions surrounding the pandemic. The entries keep growing in quality every year, and are a tribute to the creativity shining through some of the challenges schools and pupils have had to overcome over the past 18 months.

Creativity and the arts are even more important now than they ever were, and it’s vital to nurture and recognise the next generation of artists – you’ll never know when they’ll be on a stage, in a gallery or on a screen near you!”

 

Joining Tony Carson at the Showcase was actor and comedian Dan Gordon, who starred in the one man show Frank Carson – Rebel without a Pause, and Baroness May Blood, Campaign Chair of the Integrated Education Fund.

 

Entry is now open for the 2021/22 Carson awards; please contact gemma@ief.org.uk for further details and applications.

 

 

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26 Oct

IEF Welcomes the Support of Teacher’s Union Chief in abolishing Teacher’s Exception

The Executive is facing fresh pressure to address inequalities in the teaching profession by repealing fair employment laws which continue to discriminate on religious grounds.

 

Legislation currently allows for an exemption in relation to equality of opportunity and fair participation in employment for members of the Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said there was a widely held belief that no teacher should be subject to the legislation.

“Discrimination is damaging to children’s education and to the wellbeing and careers of teachers,” he said, speaking on the eve of the Union’s annual conference.

The Integrated Education Fund welcomes any move to bring to an end the continued exemption of schools from the Fair Employment and Treatment Order.

As it stands, schools have a legal right to discriminate when recruiting to teaching positions and are exempt from monitoring over 17,000 teaching staff in the same way as other professions.

The IEF has campaigned for an end to the Teacher Exception since 2014, when the policy became an integral part of its alternative manifesto. We have long recognised that this is a massive step in a much needed process of deeper and wider education reform.

A 2018 survey of over 1,000 teachers showed that only 2% of teachers employed in Catholic Maintained (CCMS) primaries had attended a Controlled primary school in NI, and that only 7% of those in a Controlled primary had attended a CCMS primary.

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28 Sep

Independent Review of Education – panel announced.

Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen has announced the independent panel which will undertake the review of education.
The five panel members are:  Chairperson Dr Keir Bloomer, Vice-Chairperson Sir Gerry Loughran, Marie Lindsay, Robin McLaughlin and Isabel Nisbet.
Michelle McIlveen said: “I am very pleased to announce the appointment of the Independent Panel who will take forward this important review of our education system.
“The NI Executive is in agreement that the education system, whilst having areas of excellence, faces many significant challenges. A non-political, non-sectoral and wholly independent review is an essential starting point for longer term reform, modernisation and transformation.
“This review is a wide-ranging and challenging assignment. I am confident that the panel has the breadth of expertise and experience to set out a vision for what a high quality, innovative and inclusive education system looks like in Northern Ireland in the 21st century.
“I encourage everyone to support the panel and wish them every success in their task.”
The Integrated Education Fund has called for a full and independent review of the education system from the outset, and welcomes this announcement. We look forward to engaging with the panel and providing whatever assistance they may require.

 

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27 Sep

Integration – Through the Eyes of Young People, online now!

Our very own short film, Integration – Through the Eyes of Young People, is online now, on the Queens Film Theatre Player and YouTube. The film was released as part of Good Relations Week, and was funded by the Community Relations Council.

Current pupils and alumni featured in the film attended, alongside Baroness May Blood and broadcaster Gerry Kelly, who chaired a panel following the screening.

We would like to thank the QFT for hosting the event and Youth Voice NI for contributing to the debate.

The film can be accessed online at the QFT Player here.

It is also available on our YouTube channel.

 

 

 

 

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17 Sep

IEF at the Movies – premier at QFT, Tuesday 21st September

We’re thrilled to present Integrated Education – Through the Eyes of Young People this Tuesday 21st September as part of Good Relations Week. 

Funded by a grant secured by the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) from the Community Relations Council Media Programme, Integrated Education – Through the Eyes of Young People explores integrated education through the lived experiences of past and current pupils in integrated schools.

 

Directed by leading independent filmmaker Michael McBroom and produced by Paul Collins (IEF), the film will be premiered at QFT and will be followed by a panel discussion on the nature of integrated education. The film and discussion will explore the nature of good relations through an integrated schooling system. The discussion will be chaired by broadcaster Gerry Kelly and will focus on the issues raised by the film.

A limited amount of tickets for the premier are now available from the QFT website here.

In addition the film will debut on our Facebook page at the same time.

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3 Sep

4 schools join the integrated family.

A new term means a fresh start for four newly integrated schools across Northern Ireland. 

Integrated schools in Northern Ireland will see their biggest increase in over a decade as Brefne Nursery School, Belfast, Carrickfergus Central Primary School, Harding Memorial Primary School, Belfast, and Seaview Primary School, Glenarm, all transform to Controlled Integrated Status at the start of the new school year. 

Recent surveys carried out by LucidTalk and the joint QUB/UU ARK project show continued public support for integrated education, with 71% of people in Northern Ireland believing that integrated education should be the norm, while 69% would want their children to attend a mixed-religion school.

Almost any school in Northern Ireland can begin the process of transforming to integrated status but no school transforms without majority support from parents, the first step in a process that culminates in approval from the Education Minister.

Schools are supported in their transformation journey by the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and the Integrated Education Fund (IEF), who also provide financial support to help schools explore the process and work with its local school community.  Integrated education continues to be the fastest growing form of education in Northern Ireland, with around 7.5% of all children now attending an integrated school.

Roisin Marshall, Chief Executive of NICIE said;

“Four schools joining the integrated family this September is fantastic news, the most at any one time in over a decade. Each one of these transformations is the result of months, sometimes years, of hard work and effort by dedicated parents, staff and governors. This commitment has paid off, with the four schools embracing the diverse religious and cultural community they serve, and securing a brighter future for generations of pupils to come.

This is what the integrated movement has been about since Lagan College opened 40 years ago this September – parent power bringing a very real change to their children’s education. We are proud to support these school communities through the process of transformation.”

Tina Merron, Chief Executive of the IEF added;

“We were absolutely delighted with the Minister’s decision to approve these four schools for integrated status and we look forward to supporting them on their integration journey. The IEF has been raising awareness of transformation through our ‘Integrate My School’ campaign and it is encouraging to see it being embraced so positively by parents and schools.  The IEF and NICIE are working with more schools than ever before who desire formal integrated status and who see the added value that quality inclusive education brings for their children.”

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