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Queen's University receives prize from Her Majesty for shared education work

It is the seventh time the Belfast university has received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize (stock photo)
It is the seventh time the Belfast university has received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize (stock photo)
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Queen's University is being honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for its work on shared education at a special ceremony at St James’ Palace in London this evening.

Shared education provides economic, social and educational benefits to children, schools and society by cross-denominational school collaboration.

It is the seventh time the Belfast university has received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which are part of the national honours system and recognise outstanding achievement by universities and colleges in the United Kingdom.

The award will be officially presented to Queen’s University at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February.

Beginning as a pilot programme with just 12 schools in 2007, shared education has grown to more than 700 schools and over 60,000 pupils are now involved in regular, shared classes with schools from different denominations.

Through the shared education model of cross-sectoral school collaboration, it has become a core pillar of education policy and practice in Northern Ireland and has been adopted by educators and policy makers in other divided societies across the world.

Welcoming the announcement, the Vice-Chancellor Professor of Queen’s University Ian Greer, said: “To receive a national honour such as the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the university’s work on shared education is a privilege and one which affirms the world leading work that takes place here.

“It is an outstanding achievement, with all submissions subject to a rigorous assessment as part of a highly competitive process.

“It is testament to the innovation and excellence of our staff that this is the seventh time the university has received this honour.”

Professor Joanne Hughes, Director of the Centre for Shared Education at Queen’s, added: “The Centre for Shared Education was established in May 2012 to promote shared education as a mechanism for the delivery of reconciliation and educational benefits to all children.

“This mission is delivered through research, programme delivery and education and training. The impact of this work is being felt not only in Northern Ireland but across the world.

“We are delighted that the work on shared education has been recognised by her Majesty the Queen with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.”

Professor Tony Gallagher, from the Centre for Shared Education, stated that the university is now internationally recognised for its shared education programme and the positive impact it is having in post-conflict societies.

“This award is a tribute to the many hundreds of teachers and thousands of pupils who have helped make shared education work,” he continued.

“Not only is it transforming the education sector in Northern Ireland but we are working with academics and educators to adapt the model to other divided cities and countries like Jerusalem, Beirut, Los Angles, Kosovo and North Macedonia.”

Shared education has received support from Atlantic Philanthropies, the International Fund for Ireland and The Executive Office of the Northern Ireland Executive.

For details on the university’s other Queen’s Anniversary Prizes visit www.qub.ac.uk/about/Awards-and-accreditations/Queen's-Anniversary-Prizes/

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