Staff and pupils from three local schools – Hazelwood Integrated College, Glengormley Integrated Primary and Hazelwood Integrated Primary – visited Stormont recently to celebrate Integrated Education Week.

The event, hosted by Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn, saw children and young people from schools and colleges across Northern Ireland join together is song, dance and drama to highlight how integrated education can help shape a better future by opening horizons, dissolving barriers and building bridges.

Speaking at the event, Noreen Campbell, CEO of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), said: “NICIE has long argued that for societal reasons we can no longer afford to educate our children separately. Those involved in and with experience of the integrated movement understand the importance of our schools modelling the type of shared and peaceful society we want our children to live in. This societal case has been the motivating factor behind the integrated movement.

“Now the economic case for integration is equally strong. How can we afford to maintain duplication at the cost of the quality of education for all? Education reform is now an economic necessity as well as a societal one.”
Renewing NICIE’s call for an independent commission on education, Ms Campbell added: “Such a step would remove education from politics; such a commission would be empowered to research and devise an education system in tune with and able to support our shared future. The Patten Commission succeeded in framing a new police service; let’s do the same for our schools. Our children deserve no less.”