celebrating diversity of controlled schools

Celebrating diversity in controlled schools as admissions open for 2022

This is an important time for parents with children of nursery and primary school age as admissions open for the 2022 academic year.

The controlled sector is the largest education sector accounting for 49% of all Northern Ireland’s schools, including 64 nursery schools, 383 primary schools and 69 post primary schools. Controlled schools are open to all faiths and none which brings a rich diversity and inclusive ethos.

Botanic Primary School is just one example of a diverse controlled school. Paul Bell, Principal, comments,

“Botanic Primary School is a multi-cultural school that traditionally accepts children from all communities. The diversity present within the school is reflected in our ‘International School Award’ from the British Council and our recent School of Sanctuary Award. We welcome this diversity and believe that it adds to the positive ethos of our school.”

Culmore Primary School makes a promise to every child through the school ethos. Clare McMenamin Principal, said,

“We will strive to respect the experiences, knowledge and cultural diversity that every child brings to school. At Culmore we celebrate all faiths and are actively involved in a shared education partnership. This programme has enabled the school to enrich the learning experiences of each child in their care by giving them the opportunity to learn alongside children from other backgrounds.”

In controlled schools, inclusivity is demonstrated in a strong school ethos. Gillian Dunlop, Principal, Largymore Primary School commented,

“Largymore is proud of its tradition of mutual respect and inclusion, welcoming children of all faiths and denominations. We enjoy a positive, warm, friendly ethos which is strengthened by committed and enthusiastic staff and Governors who work in partnership with very supportive parents.”

Lisneal College has worked with St. Mary’s College and St. Cecilia’s College to create a strong shared education partnership. Michael Allen, Principal, added,

“Lisneal College actively promotes inclusion in every aspect of school life and encourages respect, tolerance and the celebration of diversity in all relationships across school. The shared education partnership between Lisneal College, St. Cecilia’s College and St. Mary’s College, Londonderry has embraced cultural differences. The three schools have worked diligently in creating a shared education programme for pupils to overcome cultural divisions.”

Heather Murray, Principal, Millington Primary School stated, 

“At Millington, we celebrate the diverse cultures that are found within our student and staff population and in our wider community. In our school alone, 30% of our pupils represent an amazing 24 countries and speak 17 different languages! Our students can develop an understanding of the perspectives of children from different backgrounds and learn to function in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment, therefore preparing them for the diverse world in which we live.” 

Controlled schools have a positive shared ethos which contributes significantly to the success of the sector, offering quality education, excellent pastoral care and a commitment to the wellbeing of every child.

Here are some videos produced by the schools highlighting their diversity:

Watch Botanic Primary School video

Watch Culmore Primary School video

Watch Lisneal College video 


11 January 2022

Botanic Primary School

Lisneal College