Shared Education

Purpose of Shared Education

The purpose of shared education is to -

(a) deliver educational benefits to children and young persons;
(b) promote the efficient and effective use of resources;
(c) promote equality of opportunity;
(d) promote good relations; and
(e) promote respect for identity, diversity and community cohesion.

Shared education means the education together of -

(a) those of different religious belief, including reasonable numbers of both Protestant and Roman Catholic children or young persons; and
(b) those who are experiencing socio-economic deprivation and those who are not, which is secured by the working together and co-operation of two or more relevant providers.

A “relevant provider” means a person providing education at a grant-aided school, or services of any kind (including youth services) which provide educational benefit to children or young persons.

Shared Education Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

The purpose of the Act is to make legislative provision in relation to Shared Education.  As well as providing a definition of the core minimum requirements of Shared Education, the Act places a duty on the Department of Education and the Education Authority to encourage, facilitate and promote Shared Education.  The Act also provides a power to relevant arms length bodies to encourage and facilitate Shared Education.

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

Shared Education Policy

“Sharing Works – A Policy for Shared Education” sets out the background and development of Shared Education.  The policy provides a practical description of how Shared Education works in practice and encourages education settings to go beyond the minimum core definition to address the needs of all groups as set out in Section 75 of the 1998 NI Act

The Policy can be viewed via the following link:

Shared Education Self Evaluation Frameworks

Schools are at different starting points along a continuum in respect of Shared Education. For some, they are beginning their journey while others are embedding high quality Shared Education experiences for their pupils.  Drawing on good practice, the Education & Training Inspectorate has developed Frameworks for Collaboration that should be used to self-assess the extent and quality of Shared Education provision.  The frameworks can further assist the development of action plans to facilitate the development and embedding of Shared Education in relevant educational settings.

The frameworks can be viewed via the following links:

Youth Framework will be uploaded in due course.

Delivering Social Change Shared Education Signature Project (DSC SESP)

The Delivering Social Change (DSC) framework was established by the Executive to tackle poverty and social exclusion and aims to deliver a sustained reduction in poverty and associated issues across all ages and improve children and young people’s health, well-being and life opportunities. 

The DSC SESP aim is to improve the educational and reconciliation outcomes through school working collaboratively by further developing and embedding Shared Education in schools that are already engaged in delivery of Shared Education.  Funding of up to £25m is being made available to eligible schools up to June 2019.  Support is also provided through the Education Authority’s team of Shared Education Development Officers who provide advice and guidance to schools on self evaluation, initial application stage through to delivery.

Further details are available through the following link:

A programme of Professional Learning is also available to ensure practitioners have the necessary knowledge and skills to delivery high quality Shared Education experiences for children and young people.

Peace IV Shared Education Initiative

The Peace IV Programme is providing funding of up to €35.3m, comprising €30m from the European Union and €5.3m government funding, to encourage the development and delivery within education settings that have no prior experience of Shared Education.  The Programme will operate in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.  The Department is working closely with the Irish Department of Education & Skills and the Special EU Programmes Body to appoint delivery partner(s).  It is expected that delivery will commence early in 2017.  Further detail will be made available in due course.

Pending delivery, details on the Peace IV Shared Education Programme are available through the following link:

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