CSSC research shows complexity and diversity of controlled education

The Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC) launched its baseline assessment of the controlled schools sector in Northern Ireland on Monday 18 September. Controlled schools are non-denominational and firmly set within an ethos embedded in Christian values. They are open to pupils of all faiths or none, and account for 558 or 48% of all schools in Northern Ireland. As CSSC’s research demonstrates, the controlled education sector is complex and diverse. It is also the only education sector to comprise a … Read more

The unsung Assembly achievement of shared education is not the enemy of integration.

As we contemplate the political wreck that is currently the Assembly, we might look around for crumbs of comfort.  Although this has not been officially confirmed, I’m assured that the alarm sounded here and in the Irish News that the spend of only £3 million of a £500 million ten year fund pledged by Westminster under Fresh Start doesn’t mean lack of commitment. It is due to “normal” delay in capital start –ups and will be carried over to next … Read more

94% of integrated education budget unspent due to ‘single minded’ failure to create a cohesive policy?

Earlier this week the Irish News reported that the Department of Education underspent a £50m budget by a staggering £47m. Under the Fresh Start agreement, the money is part of an alleged £500m of new capital funding to support shared and integrated education over 10 years. In its first year, Education Minister Peter Weir has allocated just £3m. As a former primary pupil, mother of a nursery child and PTA member of Hazelwood Integrated Primary in Belfast I was horrified. To … Read more

A Lagan College birthday: The story of integrated education in Northern Ireland

A Lagan College birthday: The story of integrated education in Northern Ireland
by Allan LEONARD for Northern Ireland Foundation
11 November 2016

Just past the reception desk is a small, black-and-white photography of the simple and utilitarian building that housed the first enrolment of students at Lagan College in 1981; today, celebrating its 35th birthday, the impressive expanse is testimony to the successful development of not only this school, but of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

Read moreA Lagan College birthday: The story of integrated education in Northern Ireland

Allan LEONARD is a peacebuilder. I do this through my personal and professional vocations, with learning, exploring, and reporting. My specialism is the politics of Northern Ireland, whose people and land I love and where I have made my home. I believe in the power of the arts for conflict transformation, through vision, sound, and performance. I work for a shared society and a #sharedfuture Views expressed here may not represent those of current or previous employers or associations.

Integrating education would give the SDLP purpose and set the target for others to follow

So much comment about tactics and process!   If they are to capitalise on a public mood for change, the SDLP like all the parties will have to concentrate on what they stand for beyond the old definitions. Reforming the education system to promote social integration and a diverse identity would be one big bold and creative approach to “making Northern Ireland work” And it’s actually in their manifesto. The SDLP appear to acknowledge that preserving  the elements of the traditional … Read more

“New leader Colum Eastwood has taken pains to say he wants Northern Ireland to work….”

Newton Emerson, with a great comment on an issue raised rather pointed by President Obama [a man now liberated from the burdens of power, and uncommonly free with his views on many thing] which appears to have eluded several other commenters. [Though not our Pete! – Ed] : Integrated education was the example he praised of progress towards a Northern Ireland identity, though many nationalists see that as precisely integration’s problem. Some of this fear is misplaced ignorance. A common … Read more

President Obama jumps the Sinn Féin shark…

One of the benefits of being a US President in your final year in office, as well as getting to decide who can and can’t come to your party, is the freedom to say what you really think – even if President Obama continues to appear to be mis-briefed on shared, as opposed to integrated, education here…  ANYhoo… As the BBC report notes, US President Barack Obama was speaking in London to an audience of young people when he responded to … Read more

Time to embrace true integrated education?

Dave Thompson has been a teacher in Forge Integrated Primary School for over 18 years.  Here are two facts about myself. I firmly believe in the importance of Integrated education. I also like irony; I frequently have a wry smile on my face. Sometimes these facts merge. For example, when local opinion polls show overwhelming support for Integrated education, yet, even when an Integrated option is available, most people don’t choose Integrated schools first. This is a little unfair, I … Read more

Despite a [slightly] increased Catholic population, parents are walking away from segregated ed…

So, is this the real problem underlying the CCMS’s recent broadside against integrated education… In 1981, there were 28 pupils in integrated education. By 2000/2001, that figure had rocketed to 13,847. A decade later, integrated schools were home to 20,535 pupils. In the 2013/2014 school year, there were 21,206 pupils in integrated schools. That means, between the turn of the millennium and June this year, integrated education increased its pupil numbers by 53%. In comparison: In 2000/2001, the Catholic maintained … Read more

Learning Together: NI21 Party Conference

Learning Together: Maximising Common Education NI21 Party Conference by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 16 November 2013 At the NI21 inaugural party conference at the Europa Hotel, I chaired a fringe meeting to explore how shared and integrated education could be increased in Northern Ireland, and what potential role NI21 could have here. The panellists were: Mark Baker (Programme Manager, QUB Centre for Shared Education) Noreen Campbell (Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education) Kathleen Gormley (Principal, Hazelwood … Read more

President Obama in trouble at home for his remarks on the desirability of Catholic schools?

A few people in Northern Ireland took notice of President Obama’s apparent dig at segregated education. But in the US quite a number on the right took it personally. As noted at the time here on Slugger, it may have been assumed by the President there were measures afoot to promote integrated schooling by the Catholic Education Minister, John O’Dowd. In fact the announcement of ten shared campuses last month may look to the untrained eye like a cross party … Read more

First Minister preaching integration whilst the road map burns?

Former UCU-NF candidate for East Londonderry Leslie McAuley, now with the Tories had some interesting remarks on Peter Robinson’s TEDx presentation yesterday.. “Integrated schools, which are actually out there providing shared education, are consistently being denied the funds and new buildings they need to satisfy demand from parents. The sector is not being given a sufficient voice in the bodies which run education. Neither integrated schools not grammars will have significant influence in the single Education and Skills Authority. Most … Read more

70% of parents want some form of integrated education> what’s the problem John?

One of things Micheal Martin picked up on in his interview with Conor Bradford yesterday morning was the rather emphatic result of Lucid Talk’s poll in favour of integrated eduction: In the latest Lucid Talk poll those in favour of children of all denominations sharing the same classroom stands at a massive 70%. Tellingly, this figure represents almost identical proportions of Catholics and Protestants. On any other issue this would be accepted as the will of the people and politicians … Read more

Robinson: “shared education is the way forward”

I was fortunate enough to catch the end of an event in Newcastle last night when children from thirteen maintained, controlled and integrated primary schools ‘graduated’ from the Shared Languages, Shared Cultures programme, run by the town’s Shimna Integrated College. The programme, supported by Queen’s University’s Sharing Education Programme (hats off to Prof Tony Gallagher) and funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and businessman Gerard O’Hare, recently picked up the TES Outstanding Community Partnership Award.  The TES judges’ commented: “The main hope for … Read more

One School of Thought Campaign launch open letter calling for Integrated Education

The One School of Thought Campaign has sent an open letter to our MLAs calling on them to reform education here. The group is pro integration: they call on the Education Minister to: To establish a Commission in this Assembly term. This Commission should be charged with: • Bringing forward recommendations to resolve all the outstanding issues in education; • Ensuring that these recommendations shape a system fit for the 21st Century in which all children learn and are taught … Read more

Can the DUP advance the cause of mixed schooling like this?

So the DUP ” will not rest” until a single schools system is created, says Mervyn Storey  He suggested four issues would require agreement: Governance — a single body representing all to encourage collaboration in planning; Policy — achieving genuine consensus rather than “whim or ideology”; Structures — meeting needs in a cost-effective way, and Choice — protecting the concept of parental choice “within an agreed framework”. The big question is – Is the DUP in any position to achieve … Read more

A plan for parental choice – the route to transformation

  “This is typical Peter Robinson,” said Ms Ritchie. “On the one hand he says the most visionary thing ever said by a DUP politician about our divided society, and then he spoils it with an old-fashioned political sideswipe at Catholic schools. “He is still right that we should aim for a future where our children are increasingly educated together – but blaming Catholics for the division is shameful and totally the wrong place to start.”   OK, so there’s … Read more

Is Peter’s sudden move towards integrated education the game changer?

Peter Robinson’s belief in integrated education comes out of the blue. I believe that future generations will scarcely believe that such division and separation was so common for so long. The reality is that our education system is a benign form of apartheid, which is fundamentally damaging to our society I have to point out that the real savings in terms of education will not be gained by simply creating a single educational administrative body but by creating a single … Read more