What is Shared Education?

Details on the advancement of shared education in Northern Ireland, including information on the public consultation.

Advancing Shared Education

Shared Education means the organisation and delivery of education so that it:

  • meets the needs of, and provides for the education together of learners from all Section 75 categories and socio-economic status
  • involves schools and other education providers of differing ownership, sectoral identity and ethos, management type or governance arrangements
  • delivers educational benefits to learners, promotes the efficient and effective use of resources, and promotes equality of opportunity, good relations, equality of identity, respect for diversity and community cohesion

Ministerial advisory group

On 19 July 2012 the Minister of Education established a Ministerial Advisory Group on advancing shared education.

The Group was independent of the Department of Education.

The Advisory Group was based at Queen's University of Belfast's School of Education.  It was chaired by Professor Paul Connolly (QUB) and the other members were: Dawn Purvis and PJ O’Grady.

The  Minister made a statement to the Assembly about Advancing Shared Education, on 22nd October 2013.

Shared Education policy

Sharing Works – A Policy for Shared Education has been developed reflecting the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Group, and provides a description of shared education.  The Policy, which was subject to a public consultation, can be viewed via the following link:

Shared Education Act

The Shared Education Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 received Royal Assent on 9 May 2016.

The purpose of the Act is to make legislative provision in relation to shared education.  It provides a definition of Shared Education and confers a duty on the Department of Education to encourage, facilitate and promote Shared Education and a power on relevant arms length bodies to encourage and facilitate Shared Education.

The Act as introduced and the accompanying Explanatory and Financial Memorandum can be viewed using the following link:

NI Assembly - Shared Education Act

Public consultation on Shared Education policy and bill

A summary of comments received as a result of the public consultation has been compiled together with the Department’s responses.   A copy of the consultation response document(s) can be accessed below.

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