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Communication to schools

Comments on feedback received on the Integrated Education Bill

CSSC reiterates its support for children and young people being educated together and stresses that Council’s concern is not with the intent of the Bill but with its content. As is the case with many issues there is not one perspective that reflects the context for all controlled schools.   

Council is mindful of the unique position of controlled integrated schools, valuing and respecting their explicit integrated status.  It is important to emphasise that Council’s position in respect of the Integrated Education Bill is to seek equality for children and young people, regardless of the school they attend.  

Prioritisation

Feedback “This bill does not prioritise one sector above any other.”

It is correct to say that the Bill does not include the words priority or prioritise, neither does it refer to any other school sector. However the implications of giving one sector additional layers of support that aren’t available to others creates inequality and in effect is prioritisation.

Amendments

Feedback “This Bill has already been significantly amended.”

It is correct that over 70 amendments to the Bill have already been discussed in the Assembly. However whilst these amendments mitigate and clarify some areas of concern they do not go far enough.

Funding

Feedback “Your school’s funding will not be affected by this Bill.”

The Bill does not state that funding will decrease in schools. However the consequences, unintended or otherwise, of one school having demand met and other schools not, along with commitments being made to expand some schools, are that funding will increase to the growing schools and decrease to the others.

Equality

Feedback “This Bill is about levelling the playing field.”

  • Under the Education Reform Order 1989[1] DE must ‘encourage and facilitate the development of integrated education’. This duty extends to all other education Non Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs). There is no equivalent duty for the wider controlled sector.
  • There is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) (NICIE) promoting integrated education.  There is no specific equivalent for the wider controlled sector which is represented by a voluntary body (CSSC).
  • Under the Fresh Start Agreement a significant amount of funding has been allocated to capital projects in integrated schools.
  • NICIE is one of the partner bodies in the area planning process, with representation at all levels.

Demand for integrated education

Feedback “There is significant unmet demand for integrated education.”

Analysis of EA school admissions data 2021

A simple analysis of the most recent school admissions data from the Education Authority (EA) shows that in 2021:

  • 9% of children in Northern Ireland in 2021 selecting primary and post-primary schools were unsuccessful in being accepted by their first preference school.
    • 11% of those who selected a Grant Maintained Integrated or Controlled Integrated school (GMI/CI) as their first preference were unsuccessful in being accepted by their first preference school.
    • The comparison figure is 9% in all other schools.
  • In primary schools and post-primary schools separately:
    • Primary – 2% of children in Northern Ireland selecting primary schools were unsuccessful in being accepted by their first preference school.
      • 4% of those who selected a GMI / CI school as their first preference were unsuccessful in being accepted by their first preference school.
      • The comparison figure is 2% for all other primary schools.
    • Post Primary – 16% of children in Northern Ireland selecting post-primary schools were unsuccessful in being accepted by their first preference school.
      • 16% of children who selected a GMI / CI school as their first preference were unsuccessful in being accepted by their first preference school.
      • The comparison figure is 15% for all other post-primary schools.
      • 26% of children who selected a grammar school as their first preference were unsuccessful in being accepted by their first preference school.

This data is available on the EA website here.

CSSC aims to be open and transparent in our analysis of data. If you have any questions about how we collate and calculate our data please get in touch.