Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's state schools 'diverse and inclusive'

Department of Education figures show that 63.4% of those attending controlled schools last year were Protestant, 10% were Catholic and 26.5% were either of other faiths or had no recorded religious background (stock photo)
Department of Education figures show that 63.4% of those attending controlled schools last year were Protestant, 10% were Catholic and 26.5% were either of other faiths or had no recorded religious background (stock photo)

By Rebecca Black

New figures show that the largest education sector in Northern Ireland is open to all, it has been claimed.

Historically, Protestant and Catholic children in the region have attended different schools - with most of the former attending controlled schools and most of the latter attending Catholic maintained schools.

Barry Mulholland, who leads the Controlled Schools Support Council, was speaking as the body released a report containing new figures indicating the religious background of the children that attend those schools. The controlled sector has 49.2% of schools including nursery, primary, secondary, grammar and special settings. These also include 27 controlled integrated schools and two Irish-medium schools.

Department of Education figures relating to the 2018 academic year have been compiled in a new report by the Controlled Schools Support Council.

They show that 63.4% of those attending controlled schools last year were Protestant, 10% were Catholic and 26.5% were either of other faiths or had no recorded religious background.

Mr Mulholland said the figures show the "diversity and inclusivity of controlled schools, which are open to all faiths and none".

"Controlled schools provide education to over 143,000 children and young people to enable them to learn, develop and grow together, within the ethos of non-denominational Christian values and principles," he said.

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