Education Minister, Peter Weir, has attended the launch of a shared education event with Bangor Academy, St Columbanus and Bangor Grammar.
The Delivering Social Change Shared Education Signature Programme was established through the NI Executive’s Delivering Social Change Framework and received initial funding from the Delivering Social Change Fund.
Speaking at the event in Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College, the Minister said: “I am delighted to be here today to help launch this shared project and to acknowledge the work of the Shared Education partnership. Over recent years many schools have engaged in shared education activities. Such activities provide young people, from different community backgrounds, the opportunity to learn together and indeed to socialise together.
“In addition to the social benefits, children and young people participating in shared education also benefit from an increase in self-confidence, self-awareness and self-reflection.”
The Shared Education Act which received Royal Assent in May provides a statutory definition of shared education – it is the education together of those from different religious beliefs and socio-economic backgrounds, and which is secured by the working together and co-operation of two or more relevant providers.
Continuing the Minister said: “It is clear that participation enables children and young people to develop a greater sense of their own identity and a capacity to articulate their views and opinions with better understanding. It is encouraging to see the range of representatives from all three schools here today, Principals, teachers, non-teaching staff, Boards of governors, parents and pupils. I take this as a reflection of the importance and value the schools, as a partnership, view Shared Education.”
The Minister concluded by congratulating the Principals of the three schools for their progressive approach to education. He said: “Through the partnership, hundreds of pupils will be able to undertake regular and sustained shared learning opportunities with the offer of shared classes, a joint student council and leadership training. I also understand that continuous professional development has been planned for staff, supporting them in the skills required to deliver in this new collaborative way.
“This is an exciting time for education providers and students in the Bangor area and I wish everyone continued success for the future.”
Notes to editors:
Notes to editors:
1. The Act places three new duties on the Department, which will ensure that sharing is embedded within our core values going in to the future. The department is now required to:–
encourage, facilitate and promote shared education;
consider shared education when developing, adopting, implementing or revising policies, strategies and plans and designing and delivering services; and
lay a report before the Assembly on the operation of the Act within two years.
2. While the Act provides the legal framework for shared education; “Sharing Works – a policy for Shared Education” developed by DE provides a description of what shared education looks like and how it will be delivered, underpinning and supporting the Act.
3. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.
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