Groarty Integrated Primary School transformed to become integrated in 2005 and through the dedication of its Board of Governors and staff has contributed well to peace and reconciliation within its community since then. NICIE is disappointed that the Minister has approved the proposal to discontinue integrated primary provision at Groarty Integrated PS as it will remove the potential of 63 integrated places from the city of Derry /Londonderry. This seems to be inconsistent with the duty to encourage and facilitate the growth of Integrated Education which DE holds and has delegated to EA. Area Planning has been set up to plan for creative, innovative and sustainable educational provision. On this occasion, NICIE believes that an opportunity has been missed to demonstrate a creative solution for this area.
In the summer of 2018, NICIE carried out a short exercise over just 2 days, nearly 200 people filled out expression of interest forms for integrated primary provision on the Cityside. NICIE is aware that outline planning permission for 3500 houses has been granted by Derry and Strabane District Council in 2018 and this includes a site for a 14-class base school on the H2 site. Surveying parents using a micropoll or Community Conversation may be useful in ensuring that Area Planning is providing the type of educational provision which the community desires for the H2 site.
NICIE is concerned that options for the sustainable development of Integrated Education involving Groarty such as the shared campus with Gaelscoil na Daróige have not been given adequate consideration. The timing of this proposed closure means that Groarty would play no further part in the development of sustainable educational provision on the H2 site. This would seem particularly unfair given the fact that Groarty had achieved their highest level of admissions for September 2019 before the proposed closure was announced and may in fact have increased this number in future years given the high level of Expressions of Interest forms for years 2020 to 2022.
There are two very successful integrated schools in the Waterside, Oakgrove Integrated Primary and Oakgrove Integrated College. Integrated education continues to grow all over Northern Ireland with an increase of 1600 places over the last three years through the existing schools and three successful transformations of schools to controlled integrated status. In the last two years, parents have voted for the transformation of eight schools children’s existing schools to seek integrated status. NICIE will continue to respond to parental demand for integrated provision in any area.
Glengormley Integrated Primary School have just raised £2250 for NSPCC through a virtual colour run over the last week!
Their amazing staff and principal sent on the below:
“As part of remote learning, children are participating in PE challenges. Our school community Colour Run had been cancelled but in the spirit of this children were asked to try to run / walk or cycle a distance of 5KM over a two week period. They were asked to wear something bright as we would have
during our original planned running event. Instead of raising money for school funds, money would be raised for the NSPCC who needed donations to help support children at home during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Our children, families and staff showed overwhelming engagement with the task and the school total was counted as 1354.89KM. The amount raised for the NSPCC on the last day of the run was £2250.
1 child took on the NSPCC Run 30 challenge alongside the school run, other children ran / walked and scooted in fancy dress, others took their younger siblings through the woods and by the sea on their daily exercise. Staff promoted the event and encouraged children, keeping a log of their distances throughout the two week period.
We are thrilled with the children’s response to the challenge and the good citizens they are growing to be.”
Ricky Massey, Principal and Alix Jackson, Senior Teacher at Glengormley HS joined Denise Morgan from NICIE to record an online lecture for students at the University of San Diego. The university staff, Professor Lea Hubbard and Dean Linda Dews would normally be in Belfast at this time every year with their students. The studies involved in their course is based on examining education systems in post-conflict environments. The university has been working with NICIE over the past six years and on this occasion the work has involved creating a bank of online lectures for sharing with students.
During the lecture, Ricky, Alix and Denise shared knowledge and experience of learning, teaching and educational experiences in Northern Ireland more generally in addition to hearing more about the transformation process and the journey towards seeking integrated status for Glengormley High School.
Speaking about the experience of connecting with the University during this period of lockdown in both NI and the US, Ricky Massey Principal of Glengormley High School said, “It was great to be able to engage with students in San Diego to share our experiences of working with NICIE, exploring integrated education and the transformation that we’re currently working on with our school community.
Professor Lea Hubbard and Dean Linda Dews from the University of San Diego highlighted how much they appreciated liaising with NICIE and Glengormley High School. Commenting on this Lea said “I am particularly thankful to Denise from NICIE for setting up the opportunity for engagement with staff from Glengormley High School as this has been such a rich experience for our students. Having visited schools in Northern Ireland over the past few years, it’s very exciting for us to hear more about how schools engage with NICIE in the transformation process to become integrated as well as learning more about the education system in Northern Ireland. We look forward eagerly to visiting NICIE and schools next year.”
Next week, Denise Morgan from NICIE will be joining the professors at the University to deliver a live online lecture and Q&A session on Integrated Education for the 25 students participating in this element of their studies.