‘Need for more integrated education in South Belfast,’ says Alliance
18 November 2004
ALLIANCE representative Geraldine Rice is supporting a fresh campaign for more secondary integrated education in South Belfast.
This could provide a natural feeder for pupils at Forge and Millennium Integrated Primary Schools, and would address the constant oversubscription at Lagan College.
A parents’ group has written to existing schools in the area, inviting them to consider transforming to integrated status.
Councillor Rice said: “I would encourage existing schools to transform.
“Presently, there is no Government-supported strategic approach to integrated education. Indeed, officials have taken decisions that have actually hindered the creation of integrated schools.
“Every child in Northern Ireland has a right to attend an integrated school, and not to be forced into a segregated education system.”
Laganbank spokesperson Allan Leonard added: “Segregating young children is just wrong, plain and simple.
“Integration is not about merging people into a singular, bland blob. Integration is about sharing and respecting our various cultures and traditions.
“Education is about developing children so that they can make their own choices, within the confines of tolerance, fairness and respect for diversity.
“While many schools teach these values, they are core principles for integrated schools and are put into practice in the classroom, staff room and playing field on a day-to-day basis. It’s this actual experience, by the pupil, teacher and parent, that makes diversity a reality and not just a nice-sounding theory.”