New guide for schools considering integrated status move
The bodies responsible for integrated education in Northern Ireland have welcomed the issuing of new operational guidance for schools considering transformation to integrated status.
There are currently 65 integrated schools, 25 of which transformed from other sectors.
The latest to make the move were Killyleagh Primary School and Loughries Primary School, both in Co Down, in September 2016.
Transformation is the name given to the legal process whereby a school becomes integrated.
The new operational guidance announced by the Department of Education provides advice on what is meant by the process; how to plan for it; the legal and administrative requirements, and the help that is available as schools explore the option of transformation.
The Department of Education said: "We have produced this guidance document to help school communities consider the benefits of transformation, decide whether it is the right option for their school, and overcome any barriers they may feel exist."
Integrated Education Fund (IEF) chief executive Tina Merron said: "Some of the fastest-growing schools in Northern Ireland are transformed integrated schools.
"The IEF and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) offer additional support and practical help to schools exploring the possibility of transformation."
NICIE chief executive Roisin Marshall added: "Whilst schools that already have a mix in their population may be particularly interested in transformation, any school wanting to be more actively welcoming to the minority community could well see this as a fantastic opportunity."