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Minister receives independent report on shared education

Education Minister, John ODowd, has taken receipt of the report of the independent Ministerial Advisory Group on shared education.
Monday, 22 April 2013

In July 2012 the Minister announced the establishment of the Group to engage with key stakeholders and provide advice on how the Programme for Government commitments on shared education could be fulfilled. Professor Paul Connolly was appointed Chair of the Advisory Group and he was assisted by Dawn Purvis and PJ O’Grady.

Commenting following publication of the report, the Minister said: “Education has a vital role to play in developing the type of shared society that we aspire to. The Programme for Government commits to advancing shared education, specifically to ensure that by 2015 all children have the opportunity to participate in shared education programmes and to substantially increase the number of schools sharing facilities.

“Greater sharing and co-operation between schools and across sectors is key to delivering access to the curriculum on the basis of equality. We already have many examples of schools sharing facilities and collaborating with each other on a range of areas. However, I expect to see much more of this going into the future.

“The publication of today’s report is a very important step in progressing this important piece of work and I would like to thank Paul Connolly, Dawn Purvis and PJ O’Grady for their hard work.

“I will wish to consider the findings of the report in detail before making decisions on the way ahead.”

In conclusion the Minister said: “I am committed to providing all children with an opportunity to experience shared education which I believe has the potential to deliver real educational benefits, to ensure best use of resources and to further community cohesion.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Shared Education refers to the organisation and delivery of education to meet the needs of learners of differing community background, race, ethnicity, political opinion and socio-economic status involving schools and other education providers of differing ownership, sectoral identity and ethos, management type or governance arrangements.
  2. In undertaking their work, the Ministerial Advisory Group received 111 written submissions, conducted 25 face-to-face meetings with a range of stakeholders and made visits to a number of current shared education projects in the north of Ireland.
  3. Alongside this, the Group has undertaken a review of research evidence that exists both locally, nationally and internationally.
  4. The report can be accessed on the Group’s website.
  5. The Department of Education has launched a new ‘Education Works’ advertising campaign. The campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect website for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.
  6. View photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection.
  7. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.