Leading integrated education campaigner Baroness May Blood paid a special visit to Knockbreda Primary School last week to give her full support to the school and the parents who voted in support of it transforming to integrated status.
Education Minister Caitríona Ruane turned down a development proposal for the south Belfast school to acquire integrated status in April this year because of falling enrollments in the area.
Baroness Blood, campaign chair of the Integrated Education Fund, said: “The overwhelming majority of parents at Knockbreda have voted twice to support their school's transformation to integrated status where children from Protestant and Catholic backgrounds, as well as those of other faiths and none, can learn with, from and about each other.
“I hope parents, governors and staff will not be deterred from continuing their quest because of the Education Minister's decision. At some stage the democratic choice of parents must be recognised.”
The school's principal, Pamela McKenna, said: “It's a great honour for us to welcome Baroness Blood to our school, and we ap
preciate the continued support from the integrated movement.
“All at Knockbreda were devastated when the Minister for Education turned down our second application to transform the school to integrated status. Knockbreda continues to promote an integrated ethos, welcoming pupils from all backgrounds.
“Numbers in the school are rising and indicate an increasing mix of religious backgrounds. Integration has not gone away and the school may in the future submit another bid to formally recognise the excellent work being carried out on a daily basis.”