Looking towards a shared campus - Moy Regional Primary School
Mrs Jennifer Little, Principal
Moy Regional Primary and St John’s Primary School are two of the first schools in Northern Ireland to be identified as part of the T:BUC shared education campuses programme.
The schools have a long history of sharing. For over 25 years they have collaborated on a number of shared education projects including EMU, CRED and currently the Shared Education Signature Project.
Embedding shared learning
The schools are now in their fourth year of the Signature Project and have increased the number of pupils involved each year. Shared classes are based on curricular topics, including ‘the world around us’ and ‘personal development and mutual understanding’. Unlike previous funding programmes the Signature Project allowed teachers in the schools to both plan and deliver the project for pupils, helping embed shared classes in school life. Outside the Signature Project, the schools run a joint after-school club together and collaborate as much as possible, for example hosting PSNI safety talks for pupils and running joint summer schools together. Sharing between the schools developed gradually over time but has become so engrained in the life of the schools that the next step is a shared campus.
A vision for a shared campus
In 2006 the Bain report was published by the Department of Education (DE). One of its recommendations was the need to explore improving sharing and collaboration amongst schools. The Board of Governors and Principals from Moy Primary and St John’s began to discuss the prospect of a shared campus. Mrs Little commented that the first phase in this development was in 2010 when Moy’s cross community playgroup relocated to the Moy Primary site. The playgroup retained its own identity but its relocation benefited the primary school which saw an increase in enrolment as a result. Plans for the shared campus encompass Moy Primary, St John’s Primary and Moy Area Playgroup. In 2012, the schools publicised their plan for a shared campus to parents and the community. A business case has been submitted to DE and upon its approval a site can be purchased and plans put into motion. The schools have already begun working together to prepare for the new campus. The principals are developing shared policies and action plans. Aspects of existing provision have also been aligned in preparation, such as streamlining school starting and finishing times, as well as holidays.
Shared education and community investment
Mrs Little discussed the support of the community for the schools’ plans and the benefits for the local area, saying “the shared site will not only further enhance community relations, it will provide a range of educational and recreational facilities which will benefit the whole community, including a library, which does not currently exist in the Moy.” On the shared site, schools will share an entrance, playground and dining area. However each school will maintain its own identity and ethos. “Sharing between our schools has developed gradually over time” said Mrs Little, “On the new site there will be greater opportunities for relationship building between pupils and school staff in an environment which enhances, maintains and develops the respective cultural identities and ethos of both schools.” Sharing is embedded in the practice of both Moy Primary and St John’s and has developed steadily with support from the community. A shared campus is the next step and will further enhance the schools’ relationship, benefiting pupils, families and the wider community.