‘Good Relations Indicators highlight demand for integrated education’ – Alliance

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Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Politics

Alliance Party South Down spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke has said that the Good Relations Indicators update released has shown that there is a demand for greater mixing of people from different traditions.

87% of people believe that better good relations will only come about through more mixing. 70% of people were in support of mixed schooling, yet only 6.8% of school places are at integrated schools.

Speaking to Newry Times, Clarke said the statistics ‘clearly show’ that the demand is there for integrating education.

“Not enough is being done to meet this demand, which is why we have published our blueprint for a shared future, “For Everyone”. The Executive should make it easier for schools to transform to integrated status and if any new school is being built, it should be integrated bar exceptional circumstances.

“I absolutely believe in the right of parental choice, but those parents who wish for their child to be educated in an integrated environment are not being catered for,” he continued.

“We have set a target of 20% of pupils to be taught in integrated schools by 2020. If the Executive changed the rules and regulations around transformation tomorrow then this target would be easily met. This would go towards transforming Northern Ireland into a society for everyone.

He added, “Too many children are growing up without knowingly meeting somebody from another tradition. If we do not do something about this, then divisions will continue for another generation and we will lose out on potential jobs and investment as businesses will be put off from coming here due the segregation in our society.”


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