How integrated are Northern Ireland's schools?

How integrated are Northern Ireland's schools?

Organisation: The Detail (www.thedetail.tv) (Ireland)

Publication Date: 06/08/2014

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Description

My project investigated the religious make up of Northern Ireland’s schools and was inspired by our First Minister describing our education system as “a benign form of apartheid”. I requested the most recent data relating to the religion of pupils at each school and compared this with data for the 1998 year, which is when the historic Good Friday Agreement peace deal was signed in Northern Ireland. I wanted to see what – if anything – had changed since then. No detailed examination of this issue had taken place before. As a former education correspondent at the Belfast Telegraph, this project combines my expertise in education reporting with my data journalism skills. My key finding was that Northern Ireland’s schools remain deeply divided – despite there being a statutory duty on the Department of Education to encourage and facilitate integrated education. Almost half of our schoolchildren are being taught in schools where 95% or more of the pupils are of the same religion, 180 schools have no Protestant pupils on their rolls and another 111 schools teach no Catholic children.

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