Integrated education expansion plan ingrained ‘ action plan with no action’

A Department of Education strategy to grow intertwined education has been called” an action plan with no action”.

The review came from an organisation representing former pupils from integrated seminaries.

The department has a new legal obligation to give further support to intertwined education.

That has been the case since Stormont suggested in favour of a new law in one of their last acts before the assembly was dissolved in March 2022.

It was grounded on bill brought by Alliance Party assembly member Kellie Armstrong.

The law means the department has to grow the number of integrated academy places and the number of children being educated in them.

The department said it was committed to meeting its statutory duties under the education act.

Crawler’s pace’
There had been fierce debate over the new law, which was criticised by some seminaries bodies and the four main churches.

They were concerned that it would” elevate integrated seminaries” above other types of academy.

But others backed the law, including the star of Northern Ireland’s oldest intertwined academy Lagan College.

Only 70 of further than 1,000 seminaries in Northern Ireland are formally integrated.

Adam McGibbon from Integrated AlumNI, a charity representing former integrated academy pupils, said there was a” crawler’s pace approach” to growing intertwined education.

” This is in stark discrepancy to the support for the expansion of intertwined education participated by world leaders on their visits to Northern Ireland in the once two weeks,” he said.

” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suggested that intertwined education’ should be the norm, not the exception’, but this paper-thin strategy ensures that for numerous Northern Ireland parents and kiddies, they still will not indeed have the choice of an intertwined academy.”

The total backing for intertwined seminaries in 2022- 23 was£ 111m, about 8 of the total seminaries budget of£1.383 bn.

Mr McGibbon was responding to a strategy published by the department

The Integrated Education Act requires it to produce such a strategy or action plan to show how it would grow intertwined education.

The strategy said, for case, that between April 2022 and March 2023 the department had created an fresh 95 places for pupils in intertwined seminaries through a process known as temporary variation.

It sets out 15 conduct that the Department of Education will take over, including assessing demand for intertwined education, publishing data on that demand and streamlined information and guidance for parents.

But the strategy doesn’t set targets for the growth of pupil or academy figures or specify how important plutocrat the department will spend on growing intertwined education.

” A budget allocation has been linked to support perpetration of this original strategy. As the perpetration of the strategy develops, a fuller and more detailed assessment of budget conditions will be demanded,” the strategy said.

In a statement a prophet for the Department of Education said it was committed to meeting its statutory duties under the Integrated Education Act.

” The Integrated Education Strategy provides a vision for all involved in the sector to produce a vibrant and supported network of sustainable intertwined seminaries furnishing high- quality integrated education to children and youthful people,” they continued.






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