Education Minister Michelle McIlveen has launched the Mainstreaming Shared Education Strategy during Good Relations Week 2022.

The strategy sets out the vision and plans for embedding Shared Education throughout the Northern Ireland education system.

Launching the strategy during a visit to a shared education partnership between St Patrick’s and Ballynahinch Primary Schools, Minister McIlveen said: “The benefits of Shared Education are clear. Shared learning experiences contribute to improved educational outcomes, and meaningful engagement between pupils from different backgrounds helps to promote good relations between communities.

“This strategy aims to create the conditions to enable partnership working across religious and socio-economic divides. It also seeks to establish Shared Education as a core feature of educational provision in Northern Ireland that is affordable, sustainable and accessible to all. Extending the reach of Shared Education will help to provide opportunities for all children and young people to benefit from shared learning experiences.”

The Strategy will be implemented in a phased approach through a series of delivery plans, which will involve the setting of strategic priorities, with associated actions to deliver over the short, medium and long term.

The Minister continued: “The Mainstreaming Shared Education Strategy has been co-designed by key educational stakeholders and is informed by expert practitioners. It is clear that it can contribute to changing attitudes, and over time, as part of a wider co-ordinated approach, it can help to create a more prosperous and harmonious society for future generations.

“Launching the strategy during Good Relations Week is an acknowledgement of the importance of Shared Education in promoting better community relations and making Northern Ireland a better place for all.”

A copy of the report is available at: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/mainstreaming-shared-education-strategy

The announcement today follows yesterday’s news reports on new Ulster University research that criticises “Christian-centric” religious education and school structures in Northern Ireland. Read more here: https://ni4kids.com/2022/09/20/christian-focus-of-r-e-in-ni-should-be-scrapped-says-education-study/

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