What is integrated education?

What is integrated education?

Parkhall Integrated College 55Integrated schools bring together children and adults from Catholic, Protestant and other backgrounds in each school. The schools strive to achieve a religious balance of pupils, teachers and governors and acknowledge and respect the cultural diversity they represent.

Integrated schools educate children in an environment where self-esteem and independence are developed as priorities. Self-respect and respect for others are strongly encouraged. The integrated ethos is nurtured to ensure inclusion of people from different religions, cultures, genders, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.

Integrated education encourages open-minded attitudes among pupils as well as building the confidence and ability to question, observe, listen and make informed decisions.

Integrated education recognises the value of parents and so parental involvement in all aspects of school life is actively encouraged. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in the governance of the school and the Parent’s Council.

History of Integrated Education

Lagan CollegeSince its foundation in 1921, Northern Ireland’s education system has largely consisted of state controlled schools, mainly attended by protestant pupils, and catholic maintained schools, almost exclusively attended by catholics.

Gradually, communities came to lead essentially separate lives. This polarisation was increased by the outbreak of violence in 1969.

The first attempt to break the established mould of education was the formation of the campaigning group All Children Together, established by parents whose vision was one whereby existing schools could 
transform to integrated status.

When no existing schools succeeded in transforming this led directly to the establishment of Lagan College, the first planned integrated school in Northern Ireland, in 1981.

The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) was formed in 1987 as a coordinating body to give advice and guidance to schools and parent groups.

The 1989 education reform order gave the Department of Education statutory responsibility to encourage and facilitate integrated schooling. Whilst immediate recurrent funding could be given to new schools who met stringent enrolment and growth criteria, there was no provision for capital funding until the schools had demonstrated their viability over time.