The integrated education movement in Northern Ireland is an attempt to bring together children, parents and teachers from both Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions: the aim being to provide a balanced education, while allowing the opportunity to understand and respect all cultural and religious backgrounds. The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), a voluntary organisation, promotes, develops and supports integrated education in Northern Ireland.
Integrated Education Fund
The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) is a financial foundation for the development and growth of integrated education in Northern Ireland in response to parental demand. The IEF seeks to bridge the financial gap between starting integrated schools and securing full government funding and support.
It was established in 1992 with money from EU Structural Funds, the Department of Education NI, the Nuffield Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, as a financial foundation for the development and growth of Integrated Education. The Fund financially supports the establishment of new schools, the growth of existing schools and those schools seeking to become integrated through the transformation process. Funding is generally seed corn and projects are ‘pump primed’ with the objective of eventually securing full government funding and support.
Education in Northern Ireland is highly religiously segregated, with 95% of pupils attending either a maintained (Catholic) school or a controlled school (mostly Protestant, but open to all faiths and none), both funded by the state by varying amounts. Teaching a balanced view of some subjects (especially history) is difficult in these conditions. The churches in Northern Ireland have not been involved in the development of integrated schools. The schools have been established by the voluntary efforts of parents.
There are currently 65 integrated schools comprising 20 second-level colleges, and 45 primary schools. In addition, there are 19 integrated nursery schools, most of which are linked to primary schools.[when?]
Initially, such schools met with considerable opposition from certain local politicians who were angry at an alleged favouritism in funding being shown to them by the Government.
Integrated schools are sometimes criticised as being "middle-class" or accused of "social engineering"
Monsignor Denis Faul criticised integrated education, insisting that Catholic parents were required by canon law to send their children to Catholic schools and also claimed the schools were a "dirty political trick" inspired by the British Government.
- List of integrated schools in Northern Ireland
- Education in Northern Ireland
- Segregation in Northern Ireland
- Educate Together
- Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education
- Integrated Education Fund
- Lord Baker of Dorking, Daily Hansard, 18 July 2006 : Column 1189 www.parliament.uk, retrieved 22 July 2007
- ""Churches and Christian Ethos in Integrated Schools", Macaulay,T 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- A difficult subject, John Lloyd, Financial Times, 20 April 2007, retrieved 22 December 2009
- Monsignor Denis Faul, Independent, 22 June 2006
- Monsignor Denis Faul, obituaries, The Daily Telegraph, 22 June 2006
- A man of God who feared none in defence of all, Maurice Hayes, Irish Independent, 25 June 2006
- "Free Presbyterian church slams shared education" The Newsletter 11 January 2014