What is Transformation?
Transformation is the term used to describe the process of changing an existing school’s status to integrated status. It occurs as a result of a parental wish to see their school become integrated.
Transformation is a legal process which means that the schools can be recognised officially as an integrated school, which bases its principles on those underpinning the concept of integrated education.
Integration Works – Transforming your School Guidance
As part of the Department of Education’s (DE) statutory duty to encourage and facilitate integrated education, the Department has produced the operational guidance, “Integration Works: Transforming Your School”, to support schools that wish to consider Transformation.
The guidance is primarily intended for use by Boards of Governors of schools and school Principals either considering or in the process of transformation. It explains what is meant by integrated education and transformation, identifies key issues which are likely to arise and how they might be addressed, outlines the legal and administrative processes and requirements and provide details of the various sources of advice and assistance available.
More information is available on the DE website here
How does it work?
The process can be started in two ways:
- by the Board of Governors of the school; or …
- by a written request from at least 20% of parents to the Board of Governors
In either case, a vote of the parents (operated through secret ballot) is required.
If the vote is “Yes”, a proposal is submitted to the Education Authority and the Department of Education for consideration.
The Minister of Education will then decide on the proposal approximately three months after submission. If the school is approved, it must work towards meeting the conditions set out by the Department of Education for effective integration.
If the vote is “No”, the school retains its original status.
Schools hoping to transform must show that at least 10% of their first year’s enrolment can be taken from their area’s minority community (either Protestant or Roman Catholic). Over the next 10 years, the Department of Education expects the Integrated School to increase this figure to 30%.
Since 1995, government has promoted transformation as a cost effective route to integration, and we feel it is an excellent way to meet the enormous parental demand. However, it’s important to recognise that transformation is a challenging process. Change may be slow and gradual, particularly if a school wants to include members of its school community in decision-making and planning for the future. Despite these challenges, in time, the benefits of a successful transformation can be seen across the whole school community as well as the community beyond the school gates.