Children from different traditions learning and playing together at the same school, helping to build a society where there is respect and celebration, not fear, of religious and cultural diversity.
The IEF shares the vision, held by the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland, of a united community and a shared future. Many believe that more integration and mixing between communities are essential to building a better and more reconciled society.
66% of people believe Integrated Education should be the main model of education – where children from Protestant, Catholic, other faith backgrounds and none, are educated together in the same school and where the symbols, ethos and traditions of the entire community are valued and respected.
The IEF sees the development of more Integrated Education in a reformed education system as an essential ingredient of this future –a system which also ensures that young people, including newcomer pupils, LGBTQ pupils, and pupils with additional needs, feel confident and welcome in the school environment. The IEF wants an education system which fully prepares its young people to contribute positively to a modern democracy and be successful citizens in an increasingly complex global society.
The aspiration of parents for more integration must be acted upon. To achieve this there needs to be meaningful reform of the way education is planned, managed and delivered. There have been too many well intentioned projects, tweaks and minor adjustments which do not sufficiently impact on the core nature of Northern Ireland’s archaic, segregated system of schools.
Integration works for everybody. The education system needs to change.