Schools across Northern Ireland will be taking part in a series of events to mark the first ever Shared Education week.
Today the number of schools involved in sharing continues to grow with over 60,000 pupils from 600 schools currently taking part in a range of different projects.
Shared Education week runs from 8 to 12 October and offers a series of events to celebrate shared education and share best practice.
Speaking ahead of the launch today, Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Education said: “The benefits of children from different backgrounds being educated together cannot be overstated.
“That is why I am delighted with the recent figures that show an 86% rise over the last two years in the number of schools involved in shared education.
“I have had the pleasure of seeing some Shared Education work at first hand and have heard of the many successes as well as the challenges faced. What is striking are the personal relationships built between teachers from different sectors, something which feedback indicates has not gone unnoticed by pupils.
“It is the personal relationships that provide a role model for pupils and help to create an environment for sharing.”
The Department of Education has a statutory duty to encourage and facilitate the development of both integrated and Shared Education. Both have key roles in contributing to a more tolerant and shared society here.
Concluding, Mr Baker said: “Over the next couple of days, my Department is hosting conferences in Cookstown and Belfast in celebration of the success of shared education and to provide practical insight into delivery of high-quality shared education through a series of workshops.
“It is great that so many partnerships are willing to share their experiences in an effort to help others. It is this spirit of sharing and collaboration that has enabled Shared Education to advance and I commend all involved and look forward to the events this week.”
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