In integrated schools, children of all backgrounds learn side by side in the same classrooms every day.
Since the first school opened in the 1980s, integrated education has demonstrated that it can:
This is backed up by research which suggests that the extended contact provided by integrated schools can create the conditions for generating mutual respect and understanding, fostering cross-community friendships, reducing prejudicial attitudes and promoting a sense of security in religious, racial or ethnically diverse environments.
There are also 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. 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 schools are very rooted in a child-centred approach to education, but in fact that’s what I’ve always liked about this place – any problems are sorted out swiftly, with the involvement of the parents. That attitude fits in so well with the principles of integration, the whole process went very smoothly.”
Suzanne Lewis (Parent, Crumlin IPS)