A consultation on the proposed Shared Education Policy and the accompanying Shared Education Bill launched by Education Minister John O’Dowd MLA has been welcomed by the Fermanagh Trust.
The proposed policy, ‘Sharing Works’ builds on the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Advancing Shared Education. The policy covers areas such as defining, encouraging, promoting, facilitating, funding and sustaining shared education into the future as well as effective monitoring and evaluation of shared activities.
The policy provides a framework to ensure shared education is embedded throughout the system and that a high quality, shared learning experience is delivered for every child. The draft Shared Education Bill would support the policy with a statutory definition for shared education providing powers to encourage and facilitate the development.
Commenting on the consultation Minister O’Dowd said “There has been considerable public interest in shared education and I am pleased to launch this consultation on a proposed Shared Education Policy and Bill. Building on our existing educational structures, shared education offers the opportunity to create a more cohesive education system in which children and young people from different community and socio-economic backgrounds can be educated together.”
Lauri McCusker, Director of the Fermanagh Trust which have administered the Fermanagh Shared Education Programme since 2009 said “The proposed policy and the introduction of a standalone Shared Education Bill is a very positive development. The Fermanagh Trust will be responding to the consultation and we welcome the opportunity to contribute. The exemplary work that has taken place across Fermanagh’s schools in pioneering shared education, which has drawn praise and admiration from all sections of the community, has contributed significantly to putting shared education high on the political agenda. No doubt our schools’ insight and experience will be a welcome source as the Minister seeks the views of interested parties to help form this Shared Education Bill.”
Submissions to the consultation are invited up until 6th March via a response booklet. The booklet and the details of the policy and draft bill can be found on the Department of Education’s website.