Pupils from Moy Regional Primary School and St John’s Primary

Over 59,000 pupils benefit from shared education

Over 59,000 pupils from across Northern Ireland have been involved in shared education partnerships through the Shared Education Signature Project and Peace IV funds (1).

Indeed, almost two-thirds of schools (2) from across all phases of education were involved in shared education partnerships in 2017/18.

These partnerships have enabled schools to build relationships, access resources to enhance education and promote equality of opportunity.

The benefits of shared education, from the perspective of school principals, are the subject of a new report from the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC)

CSSC’s report presents a range of case studies based on interviews with ten controlled school principals.

Barry Mullholland, Chief Executive of CSSC, said:

“The report provides a snapshot of shared education practice across the controlled sector and the partnerships that exist. It showcases the actions some schools have taken to develop shared education projects, as well as exploring the benefits, challenges and pitfalls.”

“Shared education projects deliver educational benefits to children, enable schools to access and share resources and support pupils and school staff to build relationships and engage with those from different backgrounds and cultures. Shared education adds to the educational experiences schools offer”.

Shared education emerged as an instrument to encourage and support pupils from different backgrounds and sectors to engage with one another in the 1980s. Over three decades, steps have been taken to progress shared education, culminating in the Shared Education Act in 2016.

The Act placed a statutory duty on the Department of Education and the Education Authority to encourage, facilitate and promote shared education. Other arm’s length bodies, including sectoral bodies such as CSSC, have a power to encourage and facilitate shared education.

The report with accompanying briefing paper and videos can be downloaded from our publications page.

(1) DE (2018) Advancing shared education – report to the Northern Ireland Assembly, available at https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/education/Shared%20Education%20-%20Report%20to%20Assembly%20May%202018_2.pdf, p29.

(2) DE (2018) School Omnibus Survey 2018, available at: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/education/School%20Omnibus%20Survey%20Report%202018.pdf, p7.