Wednesday, 21 March 2018
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Autumn 2016


This September has seen two additions to the growing family of integrated schools in Northern Ireland. I want to welcome Loughries and Killyleagh Integrated Primary Schools, who have begun the term with a public commitment to enrolling and nurturing pupils of all faiths and none, of all traditions and backgrounds.

These schools are responding to demand from local parents for a type of education which brings children to learn, play and grow together. The two primaries were not founded as integrated schools but are developing their ethos through an official process which the Department of Education calls “transformation”.

Over recent years many surveys have shown that the majority of parents would welcome their school taking this step, although only a minority of parents know this is a possibility. Twenty-five schools in Northern Ireland show it can be done. A school from any sector, except Special schools or a school based in a hospital, can apply to transform to integrated status as long as it is not officially proposing to close.
It is a process which has to be rooted in the will of parents – and parents play a very important role as the school moves towards integration.

The journey to integration can begin with the principal and governors. Or the parents themselves can ask to start the process. If enough parents (equal to 20 per cent of the school enrolment) sign a request to the board of governors, then the governors have to act on it and invite all the parents involved in the school to vote on becoming integrated. If the majority of parents voting want this to happen, the Education Minister then decides whether to give the go-ahead.

Many families are very loyal to their local school and most schools already offer a good education. Many parents also want something more for their families. They want their good school to become the best school it can be. They want to add value to their children’s education in a way which will contribute to building better relationships across Northern Ireland, for a better future.

The majority of schools here – about 90 per cent – enrol pupils overwhelmingly from one side or the other of the denominational divide. They may not actively seek to exclude pupils by faith or background, but this segregation in our society needs to be addressed.
We know from many surveys and academic research projects, over several years, that the majority here in Northern Ireland want to see integration as the main model of the education system.
Taking this as our cue, the IEF continually campaigns for changes to the education system which would benefit not only the current generation of pupils but also impact on wider society and future generations. At the moment, the public purse supports a variety of sectors, all with empty desks and each with its own administrative costs. This underpins a system which does little to challenge traditional divisions in Northern Ireland. I want to see positive change.

There is hope. I take encouragement from schools like Loughries and Killyleagh Integrated Primary Schools, developing in response to voices raised by parents. And an increase this term in places at Portadown and Cliftonville Integrated Primaries and Strangford Integrated College means more access to integrated education in those areas.

I am also encouraged by the voices raised at home and abroad echoing the call for reform. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly urged our government to end segregation through schooling. Earlier this year, US President Obama commented that, “One of the most encouraging things in Northern Ireland is children starting to go to school together.” This reinforced the message he brought three years ago to Belfast, before visiting Enniskillen Integrated Primary School on his way to the G8 summit.

More recently, in Northern Ireland, an independent panel considering the issue of paramilitary groups recommended stepping up the development of integrated education. We have also seen pledges to work towards integrating our schools appear in the majority of manifestos in the run-up to the NI Assembly election this year.
The clamour for integration is music to my ears and must surely be heard by leaders at Stormont.


After a very successful first year as an integrated school, Mallusk Integrated Primary is all set for another busy year. We are celebrating that we have now doubled in size and look forward to welcoming prospective pupils and their families at our open day on Saturday November 19, 1pm to 3pm.
Our school is proud of its caring and supportive ethos, which is set out in our mission statement: “We nurture our children in a secure, friendly, caring community where everyone is valued for their important contribution. We are staff, parents and children working in positive partnership.

“We believe if children are happy they will achieve. We encourage busy minds and busy hands, aiming to engage, inspire, challenge and support our children. We show respect for ourselves and each other and value all our cultures and beliefs equally.
With open hearts and open minds, we enjoy learning and achieving together.”


Oakgrove Integrated College, a co-educational, non–denominational centre of excellence and achievement, is celebrating 24 years of providing quality education. We are proud of the highest academic standards achieved by our students, which have seen our Sixth Form students leave us to continue their studies in Oxford, Cambridge and a range of nationally and internationally recognised universities. Oakgrove students have been repeatedly recognised as having achieved top scores across a range of subjects.

As well as benefiting from a quality academic education, our students have the opportunity to take part in our well-developed and wide ranging leadership programmes, which equip them with the skills needed to make the most of their abilities and to continue to achieve success long after they have left Oakgrove. These programmes form part of our “cutting edge” Pastoral Care provision.

We draw pupils from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, and provide them with a quality education which promotes and celebrates equal expression of those diverse traditions. Oakgrove promotes self worth and self-esteem of all individuals within the school community. We foster an atmosphere of understanding, respect and appreciation of difference. Our success is reflected in both our academic results and our extra curricular achievements.

Congratulations to Lagan College's Year 14 students who have achieved the best A-Level results to date with 91 per cent achieving 3 A-Levels at A* to E grade, and 68 per cent of students achieving 3 A-Levels at A* to C grade.
The Year 14 students were a wonderful team of young people and a delight to teach. We have no doubt that they will share our integrated message across the globe and will go on to great career paths and we wish them every success.
At GCSE Level, our Year 12 students achieved an overall pass rate of 99 per cent, with 60 per cent achieving 5-11 A* to C grades at GCSE. Impressive results by many of our young people included an incredible 11 A* grades for Frederic Mathieu and 7 A* grades and 3 A grades for Emma Carlisle.
We wish all of our students well with their future pathways and learning.

Millennium is proud to be an integrated school and to work consistently towards developing a community who value our integrated ethos. We firmly believe that children being together every day in the same classroom, developing friendships, and exploring themes which focus on the importance of diversity in the very widest sense, contributes to our school motto of ‘A Shared School for a Shared Future’.
We want our children to value individuality, to embrace and enjoy difference, to be the very best that they can be and to be creative thinkers. In developing these very important skills and attitudes they will be empowered throughout their lives to enjoy what the world has to offer and to contribute to society.
As part of preparing our children for this rapidly changing digital world, we use ICT to enhance the learning and teaching and already hold two prestigious awards and are presently being assessed for a third!
Pictured: On Saturday June 11 at Ballyholland GAC, Millennium Integrated Primary School made history by becoming the first integrated school to win the Cumann na mBunscol 9 a side County Down title. They came out on top in a keenly contested final against Carnacaville P.S. Congratulations to coach/P3 teacher Mr Brendan Donnelly and the team.

It’s a very special year for Corran Integrated Primary School in Larne – we are celebrating our 25th anniversary! An important focus of the silver jubilee year will be making a start on the new permanent school building and the staff and pupils hope to move into their new home during the 2017/2018 school year. The site for the new school provides a fabulous location overlooking the sea to one side and the Antrim Plateau to the other. “Corran” means crescent shaped and the curved design of the fabulous new building reflects this perfectly.
Staff, pupils and parents alike can’t wait to make the move into the new building and are looking forward to many more years of child-centred, enriching, integrated education in Larne.
Prospective parents are very welcome to come and visit the school to meet the principal, staff and children and to experience our integrated ethos in action.

Braidside Integrated Primary School in Ballymena was founded in 1989 by a group of farsighted parents who wanted their children to grow up and be educated together. The school has grown from small numbers in 1989 to maintain an enrolment of over 300 pupils across the Primary School and Nursery class. Following the retirement of previous Principal Mr Robert Scott in June 2016, the school’s new Acting Principal Ms Julie McAuley will look to continue to build a vibrant and enthusiastic school community.
The school is all-ability and looks to work in partnership with parents, with a focus on the child. We look to match needs and help children develop to their full potential within a warm and welcoming integrated environment.
Braidside was awarded the Excellence in Integrated Education Award from the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education in 2011.
We are now progressing towards a new permanent building on Fry’s Road and full plans have been submitted to Mid and East Antrim Council for planning permission. An exciting time lies ahead!

Are you looking for a school that:
•Treats every student as an individual with unique talents and potential?
•Has high expectations of every student?
•Enables students to succeed in public examinations?
•Provides a high quality learning experience?
•Offers a broad and balanced curriculum?
•Promotes equality and respect for all?
•Cares for and nurtures every student in partnership with parents/carers?

Priory Integrated College, Holywood welcomes boys and girls from all traditions, cultures and abilities. Together, we aim to empower every student to reach their full potential, in a nurturing, caring environment which upholds respect and excellence for all.

We are the first post primary school in Northern Ireland to receive the iTeach Champion School Award for innovation in the use of iPad technology to enhance learning and achievement.

Like to know more? Put our open night in your diary – Thursday January 12, 2017 from 6.30pm.

Hazelwood Integrated Primary School was the first integrated primary and nursery school to open in Northern Ireland. We are about to embark on our next 30 years of working with parents and children of all faiths and none to provide an education that values academic performance and also nurtures social and personal development. We nurture and develop children of all abilities and all social backgrounds so they learn how to deal with differences together.
The core objective of our school is to create citizens of the future by teaching communication skills which develop mutual respect, acceptance and equality. In addition our forest school provides outdoor learning for our children and those in other primary schools. Integration offers our society great opportunities and our children are supported to become young citizens in the Northern Ireland of the future.

Groarty Integrated Primary School has a unique status, as the only integrated primary school on the West Bank of Derry/Londonderry. Enrolment at the school has increased by around one third in more than two years. “We have been getting the message out in the community about our inclusive, nurturing approach and our ability to meet the needs of all learners. Once families come and see what we are about, invariably they want to enrol their children!” states Mr Nick Tomlinson, Principal.
The welcoming ethos of Groarty is clearly a strength, as is the focus on appropriately differentiated learning for all children. “From our most able learners to those requiring a high level of support, we enable all pupils to achieve to the best of their ability.” Mr Tomlinson added. He is also very proud of the inclusive nature of the school – “We welcome families from all cultural backgrounds. Celebrating diversity is at the heart of our ethos.”

Pupils, parents, staff and governors of Oakgrove Integrated Primary School are looking forward to celebrating 25 years of integrated education in Derry-Londonderry.

The journey to integrated education started at a summer barbecue in August 1990, when a group of parents discussed their dream to offer the next generation of children integration not segregation. They wanted their children to play, learn and grow together with children from different religions, faiths, backgrounds and abilities.

In June 1999 Oakgrove Primary moved into its current building and the Nursery Unit was added two years later. The Nursery operates a dual day catering for 52 part time children each year.

Current Principal, Mrs Ashley Donaghey explains that “The mission statement of the school is Celebrating Diversity – Learning Together for Life. The whole school community is involved in educating Oakgrove’s pupils to become active learners who are imaginative, inquisitive, innovative and creative. The nature of society within N. Ireland is divided, so it is paramount that young children have the opportunity to integrate, to learn the skills of conflict resolution, to celebrate what makes us different and embrace mutual understanding.

“Thanks to the dedication and commitment of Oakgrove’s pupils, parents, staff and governors in promoting the principles of integrated education, our pupils have an exciting future ahead within integrated education in Derry-Londonderry. Happy 25th Birthday Oakgrove IPSN.”

Our motto ‘Learning Together’ sets out our vision for the school. All pupils, regardless of gender, religion or ability come together to learn and grow. Our enthusiastic team provides an exciting curriculum that allows each child to develop. The holistic development of each child is our priority as we aim to develop creative young thinkers with an enthusiastic approach to learning.

We provide a safe, caring and disciplined environment where pupils develop self-esteem and feel valued. Our small class sizes allow teachers to spend more one-to-one time with pupils and allow pupils to be more engaged in the learning process. We develop through the curriculum children who enjoy learning and who can reach their full potential. We help each child to develop respect, tolerance and empathy and to celebrate difference. We believe in a strong and positive partnership between home, school and the wider community in order to raise standards and develop pride in our school.

Contact us on Tel: 028 2888 5272 or visit

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