The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) in Northern Ireland has expressed its delight that Carrickfergus Central Primary School will transform to integrated status from September 2021.
Education Minister, Peter Weir, approved a development proposal for change today (Monday 19th April) following an overwhelming 86% of parents voted in favour of the integrated move.
Carrickfergus Central will now join Acorn Integrated Primary School and Ulidia Integrated College in a growing network of integrated schools in the Carrick area, reflecting strong parental demand for more integrated education. The IEF, working closely with the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, have been pleased to support the school on its journey to integration.
Tina Merron, Chief Executive of IEF, commented on the news:
“The IEF welcomes the decision that Carrickfergus Central Primary School has been approved to transform to integrated status. The school has been working towards this for a number of years and the whole school community have been involved throughout the process. Parents were also able to avail of an innovative website www.integratemyschool.com to confidentially register their support.
“The vote at Carrickfergus Central echoes the evidence from successive opinion polls showing growing support for integrated education throughout Northern Ireland. We are pleased that the Minister has acknowledged and fulfilled his statutory duty to ‘encourage and facilitate’ integrated education in reaching this decision.”
Nuala Hall, Principal of Carrickfergus Central Primary School, added:
“We are delighted with the Minister’s decision. We can now continue to build on our already inclusive ethos and our commitment to welcoming pupils from all backgrounds. Children are at the heart of the school and the school has been at the heart of the local community for the past 68 years. We look forward to providing a quality, inclusive education for the children of this area for the next 68 years and beyond.”
Ian Baxter, Governor of Carrickfergus Central Primary School, said:
“I am delighted that Carrickfergus Central Primary School has had a positive decision on the Development Proposal for transition to Controlled Integrated status. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to ensure this success, in particular all the school staff, parents, governors and colleagues within the Integrated Education Fund and Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education. I would also like to thank everyone who supported the Transformation process.”
The IEF’s Integrate My School Campaign has contributed to a surge in interest in integrated schooling in Northern Ireland and has attracted the support of thousands of parents with Carrickfergus Central being just one of eight schools where parental ballots have been held in support of the formal integration move, with the results ranging from 71% to 100%.
Among the other schools which have undergone the process are Glengormley High School; Bangor Central Nursery School; Brefne Nursery School in Belfast; Harding Memorial Primary School in Belfast, St Mary’s High School in Brollagh, Fermanagh; and two small rural Catholic Maintained primaries, Ballyhackett near Coleraine and Seaview in Glenarm.
While DUP Education Minister, Peter Weir, recently rejected the development proposal from St Mary’s High School in Brollagh, he has however approved the move at Seaview Primary School, who will be transforming to integrated status in September 2021.