Belfast Telegraph

Inquiry into shared and integrated education across Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew

Stormont's Education Committee has launched an inquiry into shared and integrated schooling across Northern Ireland.

The inquiry will examine how shared and integrated Education are currently delivered across Northern Ireland.

The committee chair Mervyn Storey said it was "keen to hear from pupils, parents ans local schools".

"Around two thirds of schools currently indicate that they participate in shared education programmes of various kinds," the DUP man said.

"The Executive’s Programme for Government includes important commitments to increase this and facilitate greater sharing of facilities by schools.

"The committee also recognises Integrated Education as an important part of the educational options available to schools, parents and pupils.

"In order to assist in the formulation of good policy, the committee wants to appreciate the context for both Shared and Integrated Education and understand the way forward.

"Members are particularly eager to receive submissions from school councils across the educational spectrum and will be undertaking special engagement events to facilitate this."

It comes just 24 hours after Education Minister John O'Dowd announced agreement had finally been reached on a single education board from Northern Ireland.

The Executive gave the green light for a long-awaited solution to replace the existing five boards.

But the new single board is Education Minister's 'plan B' after failing to get backing for the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) that has been shelved after eight years.

The announcement comes after the Education Minister warned his colleagues time was running out for them to sign off on a single education board to replace the current boards which are due to dissolve early next year.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph earlier this week, he warned Northern Ireland would not have the proper administration in place until there was agreement from his fellow ministers in the Executive.

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