Integration Works for Schools

Many schools across the region are exploring the process of Transformation to become an integrated school.

Together with the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education  (NICIE), the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) can help support parents and schools throughout this journey.

Integrated education will enable your child to have a wider range of friendships with children from different backgrounds and develop more positive social attitudes. It will also provide them with a wider range of educational, social and cultural experiences.

Staff and principals who have gone through the transformation process report many positive benefits such as giving pupils opportunities to broaden their perspectives and to prepare for a more culturally diverse world.

Integrated education helps break down barriers, develop more positive social attitudes among young people, as well as nurturing and improving community relations. It also has intellectual benefits provided by learning environments where assumptions are challenged, problems without obvious solutions are tackled and opposing viewpoints and interpretations of events are considered. 

Research has shown that a majority of parents want their school to become integrated. The good news is that nearly every school can do this because Transformation is supported by the Department of Education (DE) and government policy in Northern Ireland.

The DE also indicates that “no school that has transformed has ever chosen to revert back to non-integrated status" and that “official recognition as an integrated school might be a natural next step for some schools and part of an ongoing process of evolution.” (DE, 2017)

By being a school for the whole community, integrated status seeks to add value and enhance a child’s educational experience. It is not about taking anything away.

Schools only transform to integrated status with parental approval and parental involvement.

The Department of Education (DE) concludes that 

“[i]ntegrated education can also offer a potential solution to maintaining local educational provision in communities where divided structures are no longer affordable or sustainable.”

(DE, 2017)

There are four core principles underpinning integrated education:


Children of all traditions and backgrounds, of all faiths and none, learn with and from each other – not just about each other


The school seeks to reflect the diversity of the wider community in its staff, pupils and Board of Governors


Parents are encouraged and enabled to get more involved in the school


Equality and respect are paramount and help to build self-respect and self-esteem