Northern Ireland: Four schools transform to integrated status

Around 7.5% of all children in Northern Ireland now attend an integrated school.

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Four schools in Northern Ireland have changed their status to integrated as they open for the new term.

Around 7.5% of all children in Northern Ireland now attend an integrated school.

Integrated schools aim to enrol approximately equal numbers of Catholic and Protestant children, as well as children from other religious and cultural backgrounds.

Seaview in Glenarm, is the first Catholic school to make the move, after former Education Minister Peter Weir approved the change of status earlier this year.

It was subsequently congratulated in a video message earlier this year by Hollywood actor Liam Neeson, a supporter of integrated education.

Baroness May Blood, campaign chair of the Integrated Education Fund, was at the school on Wednesday as it reopened under the new name of Seaview Integrated Primary School.

Brefne Nursery School, Belfast, Carrickfergus Central Primary School, Harding Memorial Primary School, Belfast, and Seaview Primary School, Glenarm, represent the biggest number that have switched to integrated status at one time in more than a decade.

Roisin Marshall, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, said: “Four schools joining the integrated family this September is 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.”

Tina Merron, chief executive of the Integrated Education Fund, 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.