Big Small Stories

The Big Small Stories Project, funded by the National Lottery via the Heritage Lottery Fund and implemented by the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) ran from Autumn 2016 for two years.

The Big Small Stories Project has captured, recorded and archived the memories and experiences of the people behind the foundation and development of integrated schools across Northern Ireland.

The project has engaged with all 65 integrated schools and their communities across NI and produced the following:

  • A digital archive, with over 3100 items tracing the development and growth of Integrated Education in NI, which will be digitally archived by the NI Public Records Office.

In the meantime, this archive can be accessed by emailing

  • A set of 3 films and accompanying learning resources which can be used by groups of people of all ages to learn about the incredible stories of the founders of integrated schools. One is a 20 minute drama performed by students of integrated schools, another is a 20 minute documentary drama and the third is a 90 second animation.

These can be downloaded from here.

  • A book ‘There Were No Desks – A collection of Oral Histories about Integrated Education in Northern Ireland’ This 200 page glossy book is being distributed free of charge and can be downloaded here.

Collectively, these resources trace the origins of Integrated Education to the collective vision of small groups of parents all over NI who had passion and a sense of community and came together to open an integrated school where they lived. The story began with the ‘All Children Together’ group in the 1970s, which became the first group of parents to open an integrated school, Lagan College, in 1981. For the first 3 years, they received no government funding, relying on charitable foundations and their own fundraising. They didn’t realise it at the time, but they started something big!

These resources are an important contribution to our social and educational heritage and outline the significant impact that Integrated Education has had on peace-building and reconciliation in NI.

A final report and evaluation of the Big Small Stories Project can be found here.