Carl Frampton has given his backing to a proposal for a new post-primary integrated school in Mid Down.
The former world boxing champion, who is an ambassador for the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), said he is fully supporting a submission from a parental steering group to the Education Authority to establish a new integrated post primary school.
“I am a strong supporter of integrated education in Northern Ireland and I believe that children from all backgrounds and religions should have the opportunity to learn together from a young age,” the north Belfast fighter said.
“My own integrated education came through boxing from a young age, which gave me a solid foundation and enabled me to meet and build friendships with people from other religious backgrounds that I might not have been fortunate of making until I left school.
“And whilst integrated education has progressed in recent years, there is still a lot of work that needs done to address the lack of provision across Northern Ireland.
“I am pleased to support the proposal for the new Mid Down Integrated College and we need more projects like this around the province to grow and develop integrated education and help our children build a society together that is more tolerant, respectful and understanding.”
If successful, the development proposal will see the formation of a new integrated post primary school in the Mid Down area that will incorporate all of Blackwater Integrated College pupils and staff on the new site.
The new college will have integrated sixth form provision, which is currently lacking in the geographical area, with 200 new places and a total capacity of 600 pupils.
Frances Lowry, co-chair of the Parental Steering Group, added: “We are delighted that Carl Frampton has given his support to our campaign for a new integrated post-primary school in the Mid Down area.
“When you speak to Carl, his passion for integrated education is obvious, and as a parent of two young children currently in it, he knows the extensive benefits it provides.
“Integrated schools are co-educational, accept children from all levels of ability and social backgrounds and practise a child-centred approach to teaching methods.
“There has been a continued increase in demand for integrated education across Northern Ireland in recent years and in the 2019/2020 academic year, more than 25% of pupils who had placed an integrated post primary school as their first choice could not be accommodated.
“We are appealing to parents in the Mid Down area to support our proposal for the new school by completing an expression of interest form on the NICIE website.”