Alliance welcomes report into integraded education

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Sunday, February 24th, 2013
Alliance Party South Down spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke has welcomed the report by the University of Ulster into integrated education. The report, which was commissioned by the Integrated Education Fund, has reviewed integrated education policy since 1999. It criticised the lack of support for integrated education in the Executive. Speaking to Newry Times, Clarke said, “Alliance have been campaigning for more integrated education for a long period of time. We recognise the economic, social and educational benefits of having more children educated in an integrated ethos setting. “We also recognise the problems we are causing for our society by not increasing this sector. A recent report on good relations indicators showed that there was a 70% support amongst the public for mixed schools. It also showed that 87% of the public believed that better good relations can only be achieved through more mixing.” Clarke continued, “There is clearly a demand for integrated education, with many integrated schools being the most oversubscribed in Northern Ireland, but the supply is not being provided by the Executive.” “When we wrote our shared future document, “For Everyone”, we made shared and integrated education one of the four main themes, with an aim of 20% of children being in an integrated school by 2020. “Too many children are growing up without knowingly coming into contact with people from different traditions. We cannot allow this to continue, which is why the delivery of a shared future must begin with our children and young people.” He added, “Now is the time for the other parties to outline their policy on integrated education and how they will work with us to deliver a stronger integrated education sector.”
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