Ideas and resources for staying at home.

We really are living in unprecedented times, and as someone pointed out recently (and if you are reading this do let us know who you are and we will happily credit you!) we are living through an exam question! NICIE has parents/guardians, aunts and uncles within the organisation and connections with teachers and schools all over Northern Ireland, and can appreciate the new challenges faced by many. We can only applaud all of you for the amazing work you have done and continue to do to ensure children aren’t left behind. 

There has been great work across the education sector in providing support, lessons and materials for pupils and brilliant ideas, activities and challenges shared across social media from across the world. And there are organisations everywhere sharing online resources and ideas to keep children of all ages occupied. 

With that in mind we are going to share some that we have found, some that have been shared with us and hope there are creative minds and helpful organisations out there who will continue to share across social media and elsewhere. If you want to send us ideas to post here drop an email to admin@nicie.org.uk, or tag us on twitter @niciebelfast and Facebook @niciebelfast and we will do our best to share your posts and ideas. And do check out the social media and website of the schools you may be connected with as many are doing the same. So, in no particular order or categorisation, here are some we have found or have been shared with us. 

ARK resources for History and Politics.

ARK have made a plethora of resources available online, including the CAIN archive. These may prove useful for some young people, teachers and parents – especially (but not exclusively) those engaged with issues of politics and history:
https://www.ark.ac.uk/ARK/

Clifton House and Belfast Charitable Society.

Clifton House is connected with so much local history, and while thy are closed to the public they are updating their website with facts and information. An interesting site for all lovers of history: http://belfastcharitablesociety.com/category/news/

HelpKidzLearn.

A resource to help parents/guardians with learning at home. There are free trials of the resources: https://www.helpkidzlearn.com/updates/school-closure.html

YouthOnline.

A great resource from the Education Authority Creative Arts & Digital Innovation team that will “bring you a wide range of ideas and activities that are designed to help you learn new skills, connect with others, look after yourself and have some fun”: https://www.youthonline.org.uk/

GrammerCheck.

7 Secrets of advanced English writing: https://www.grammarcheck.net/advanced-english-writing/

British Association for Early Childhood Education.

This association has released their last 4 years of journals for free in April. Might be helpful for teachers out there: https://www.early-education.org.uk/early-education-journal

Stay at home story time.

NICE Patron Oliver Jeffers is reading some of his books and talking about them on his website: https://www.oliverjeffers.com/books#/abookaday/

(There are other authors doing the same – please share with us as you find them!)

Paperboy by Tony Macauley.

Author Tony Macauley has been reading his award winning book over on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tony.macaulay

We know this is not an exhaustive list, and will update as we find other interesting websites. Social media is full of the wonderful work some schools, teachers and parents are doing as well. We should all champion them, share their ideas and support each other through this. Remember, no one has the right answer for the situation we find ourselves in and its okay to reach out and ask for help. And its okay to offer it to your friends, family and neighbours (from a distance). 

Stay safe and keep washing your hands!

Coronavirus – previous updates

Previous updates from the Department of Education and related bodies.

Update from 27th March 2020

You can read the most recent release from the Minister for Education, Peter Weir MLA, via the Department of Education here as well as updated FAQs for schools that are opening for children of key/critical workers. 

 


Update from 23rd March 2020

The Education Authority website continues to provide guidance in one place at the link below, including information on “key workers” and updates from the Department of Education:

https://www.eani.org.uk/school-management/health-safety/coronavirus-covid-19


Update from the 20th March 2020

Further to the announcement of school closures from end of the school day on the 20th March (made on the 18th March – see our update below) the Minister of Education released a detailed statement on the 19th. You can read the information here:

https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/letter-minister-education-education-sector


Update from the 19th March 2020

With the announcement by the First Minister Arlene Foster that schools will be closed from the end of this week (last day 20th March 2020) we will continue to update information for all schools as we receive it.

The announcement was covered in the press and you can read the BBC report here.

There is a clear message on the closures on the Education Authority website (from the Department of Education): https://www.eani.org.uk/parents/school-closures 

Sara Long and Gerry Campbell from the EA also issued this letter to all principals, before the closures were announced. While it doesn’t reference the school closures it does refer to the Department of Education issuing updated guidance.

We at NICIE appreciate that the guidance from the Department of Education and elsewhere has changed, and may not be as updated as everyone would like but we will do our best to update this page and our social media channels as and when more information is made available.

In the interim, please continue to refer to guidance on the Department of Education website which will be updated by them: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/

The Education Authority continues to hold detailed information as well, including links to other statutory bodies: https://www.eani.org.uk/ 


Update from the 16th March 2020

With the current situation ever changing we are sharing the advice from the Department of Education regarding COVID-19.

All schools should have received a letter from the Education Minister Peter Weir on the 16th March along with “Guidance to Educational Settings in Northern Ireland”. Please note that this will change as the situation changes, and is issued by the Department of Education and not NICIE. The document provides advice and guidance on a range of issues associated with the ongoing pandemic, including travel related to schools (trips abroad), advice on actions to be taken if staff or pupils contract COVID-19 and limiting the spread of the virus.

Full details can be found online as well here https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/education-minister-issues-covid-19-guidance-educational-settings

In regards to all the advice and guidance, the Department of Education has been clear that it will  “…continue to follow the expert medical and scientific advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Public Health Agency and the UK Government and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).”

The Education Authority has provided guidance on absence here: https://www.eani.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-03/GUIDANCE%20ON%20ABSENCE%20RELATING%20TO%20CORONAVIRUS%20-%20DELAY%20PHASE%20-%20FINAL.pdf and general advice and guidance here: https://www.eani.org.uk/school-management/health-safety/coronavirus-covid-19 

You can also find up to date guidance from the Public Health Agency at https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus, advice on travel from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

COVID-19 Advice and Guidance

COVID -19 advice and guidance from the Department of Education.

***Update on 3rd April 2020***

The minister for Education has today sent out a letter regarding schools staying open for vulnerable children and those of key workers. You can read the letter here.

Further to the 1st April update, the Department of Education has provided further details on “Clustering”. They have provided the following:

“As an initial step the Department would be grateful if schools interested in a cluster arrangement or those already involved in a cluster arrangement could send confirmation by email to C19clusters@education-ni.gov.uk by 12 noon 3 April 2020.”

There will be further communication soon on the “clustering” including links to an Expression of Interest form and further guidance.

***Updated on 1st April 2020***

The Minister for Education and Department of Education have released guidance to schools on “clustering”. This is to ensure there “are sustainable arrangements and sufficient places for vulnerable children and the children of key workers during the Covid-19 crisis”. You can read the full details behind this on the Department of Education website here and the guidance for schools here.

You can also find information on schools that are open to support vulnerable children and those of key workers, as of the 30th March 2020, at the Department of Education website as well at this link.

We will update this page as and when we receive information from the Department of Education, but please note the “updated” date at the top of the page. Any communication from the Department of Education on the ongoing situation should be consulted in the first instance.

In regards to training events through NICIE, conferences etc, we will update the relevant pages on our website and post notification via social media as well as notify attendees via email and/or phone where possible. If you are unsure about a course or meeting please contact us.

At the moment we can confirm that the APTIS Spring Conference 2020 has been postponed as per the information here.

Day 2 and 3 of the Anti-Bias training, scheduled for the 18th and 19th March 2020 has also been postponed.

We will also update this list when we have more information.


Update from 30th March 2020

Minister for Education, Peter Weir MLA, has today sent out a letter to all principals

Minister Weir also put out a call for support in schools that are staying open to accommodate the children of key workers on the evening of the 27th March. This is important to support both the teaching and non-teaching staff in those schools who are staying open. You can read his full letter here. The Minister and Department of Education have also provided updated guidance on this call here.

And if you are able to help support our wonderful school staff you can find an application form here.

We will update this page as and when we receive information from the Department of Education, but please note the “updated” date at the top of the page. Any communication from the Department of Education on the ongoing situation should be consulted in the first instance.

In regards to training events through NICIE, conferences etc, we will update the relevant pages on our website and post notification via social media as well as notify attendees via email and/or phone where possible. If you are unsure about a course or meeting please contact us.

At the moment we can confirm that the APTIS Spring Conference 2020 has been postponed as per the information here.

Day 2 and 3 of the Anti-Bias training, scheduled for the 18th and 19th March 2020 has also been postponed.

We will also update this list when we have more information.

***Please also note that previous updates, including links to letters from the Minister for Education, information on from the Department of Education and information from he education authority can be found at this page***

Parents vote “Yes” for Integrated Education at Glengormley High School

Parents vote “Yes” for Integrated Education at Glengormley High School

Glengormley High School is celebrating the fantastic outcome of their recent parental ballot which has resulted in a resounding “Yes” from parents for the school to begin the journey of working towards achieving integrated status. 

Principal Ricky Massey is thrilled with the result and thanked parents for their support and engagement in the process.  Commenting on the next steps, he said, ‘The Board of Governors, leadership and staff are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive outcome from our parental ballot and a very strong message of ‘Yes’ for integration. 

‘Over the past two years the school has put some remarkable changes in place. Together with staff, the support of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), the Integrated Fund (IEF) and the Education Authority (EA), we aim to drive improvements even further.   The future is looking very promising for our school and the surrounding community as we prepare for educating all pupils together where they can learn, play and grow as one.

‘I would like to express my sincere thanks to our parents for their part in supporting us to plan for the direction of travel for Glengormley High and furthering the development of our school improvement journey.  My staff and I will continue to work hard to further strengthen our school and build on the great results that we have all achieved to date.  We have a diverse school community and this is a natural step for us to take. Working closely with our staff and partners, we will now begin the process of developing our Case for Change and Transformation Action Plan for putting forward to the Minister for approval.’   

Carl Frampton MBE visited the school last week to show his support for the move towards becoming integrated.  As a past pupil and patron of NICIE he expressed his absolute delight with the ballot result, “Integrated Education is something I have talked about for a long time, I believe it is the way forward for kids here. In some ways, Northern Ireland has moved ahead and in others it has stood still, that’s why I’m so passionate about supporting the development of Integrated Education in any way I can.”

You can read more on that visit here

For additional information on this great news please also see this press release

Parents vote “Yes” for Integrated Education at Glengormley High School

12th March 2020

Parents vote “Yes” for Integrated Education at Glengormley High School

Glengormley High School is celebrating the fantastic outcome of their recent parental ballot which has resulted in a resounding “Yes” from parents for the school to begin the journey of working towards achieving integrated status. 

Principal Ricky Massey is thrilled with the result and thanked parents for their support and engagement in the process.  Commenting on the next steps, he said, ‘The Board of Governors, leadership and staff are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive outcome from our parental ballot and a very strong message of ‘Yes’ for integration. 

‘Over the past two years the school has put some remarkable changes in place. Together with staff, the support of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), the Integrated Fund (IEF) and the Education Authority (EA), we aim to drive improvements even further.   The future is looking very promising for our school and the surrounding community as we prepare for educating all pupils together where they can learn, play and grow as one.

‘I would like to express my sincere thanks to our parents for their part in supporting us to plan for the direction of travel for Glengormley High and furthering the development of our school improvement journey.  My staff and I will continue to work hard to further strengthen our school and build on the great results that we have all achieved to date.  We have a diverse school community and this is a natural step for us to take. Working closely with our staff and partners, we will now begin the process of developing our Case for Change and Transformation Action Plan for putting forward to the Minister for approval.’

Carl Frampton MBE visited the school last week to show his support for the move towards becoming integrated.  As a past pupil and patron of NICIE he expressed his absolute delight with the ballot result, “Integrated Education is something I have talked about for a long time, I believe it is the way forward for kids here. In some ways, Northern Ireland has moved ahead and in others it has stood still, that’s why I’m so passionate about supporting the development of Integrated Education in any way I can.”

ENDS

For further information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact Denise Morgan, Senior Development Officer at NICIE at (028) 9097 2910 or via email to dmorgan@nicie.org.uk

Notes to the Editor

  1. In Northern Ireland, around 93% of children attend schools which are either exclusively or predominantly Catholic or Protestant. The first integrated school, Lagan College, opened in 1981 with 28 pupils. There are currently 65 integrated schools in Northern Ireland, 20 second level colleges and 45 integrated primaries, altogether educating almost 24,000 pupils.

 

  1. Integrated Education is the biggest, most sustainable cross-community project in Northern Ireland. It offers opportunities for building peace and reconciliation through the education of Protestants, Catholics, young people from other beliefs, cultures and communities to learn together on a daily basis in one school.

 

  1. Integrated schools are co-educational, accept children from all levels of ability and social backgrounds and practice a child-centred approach to teaching methods. Integrated Education:
  • encourages young people to recognise what they share in common as well as understanding and respecting differences;
  • Self-confidence and independence is developed as a priority;
  • Develops open-minded attitudes among pupils as well as the confidence and ability to question, observe, listen and make informed decisions while learning with, from and about one another; and
  • Recognises the value of parents – parental involvement is actively encouraged.

 

  1. The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) is a non-departmental public body that develops, supports and promotes integrated education in Northern Ireland. The underpinning principle of integrated education is that by bringing together Catholic, Protestant and children of other faith and cultural backgrounds in a shared environment, they can learn to understand, respect and appreciate difference. Integrated schools are also co-educational, accept children of all levels of ability and social background and practice a child-centred approach via their teaching methods.  There are 65 integrated schools educating almost 24,000 pupils.  For more information please visit nicie.org  

 

  1. The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) financially support integrated schools and schools that wish to transform to integrated status. They set up an online platform for parents to register their interest in their child’s school becoming integrated integratemyschool.com.  For more information contact www.ief.org.uk

 

  1. Glengormley High School is a controlled post-primary school. The Principal is Mr Ricky Massey.   

 

  1. Glengormley High School currently held a parental ballot which offered parents the opportunity to vote on whether or not they would like the school to transform to become an integrated school.

 

  1. Transformation is the legal process in which a non-integrated school becomes integrated. The process can be started in two ways:
  • by the Board of Governors of the school; or
  • by a written request supported by at least 20% of parents to the Board of Governors.

 

In either case, a vote of the parents (conducted through secret ballot) is required. The ballot of parents is the opportunity for parents to vote on whether they want the school to transform.  For the result to be considered at least 50 percent of parents must vote. If there is a turnout of less than 50 percent, then a second ballot will automatically take place.  If 51 percent or more of those who have voted, vote in favour of Transformation, then a Development Proposal for Transformation must be submitted to the Department of Education (DE) through the Education Authority (EA). The DE will make the final decision regarding the transformation proposal.  If it is approved, then the school must work towards meeting the conditions set out by DE for effective transformation to controlled integrated status.