The Rural Centre for Shared Education, managed by the Fermanagh Trust welcomes the work of the Education Committee in advancing Shared Education and building on the good practice that has taken place across Fermanagh and elsewhere over the last 6 years. Much of the Committee’s report on the Inquiry into Shared and Integrated Education signals an endorsement of shared education and their significant recommendations state that it should be given further support and encouragement.
The recommendations if implemented will build upon the Ministerial Advisory Group’s work on advancing Shared Education, putting an enhanced onus on the Department of Education and it’s arms length bodies to do much more to take forward school collaboration in a developmental approach.
Bringing forward the report to the Assembly, Chairman of the Committee Peter Weir MLA said “Above all, as has been identified in the report we need to look at where we can incentivise shared education and where we can try to remove the barriers to shared education. If grasped, there is a great opportunity to make real progress and give real advantage to our society and to our children’s education and I believe that shared education can play a very large part in that.”
The Rural Centre for Shared Education in particular welcomes the Committee’s recommendation “that the Department should do more to promote and secure the support of communities for innovative cost effective approaches to sharing in education in rural areas including e.g. federative or shared management arrangements or other solutions including Jointly Managed Church schools or amalgamations, as appropriate.”
Commenting on the Committee’s report, Fermanagh Trust Director Lauri McCusker said “We welcome the recommendations which have received support in the Assembly and hope each are fully implemented. In the meantime it is vitally important that the Minister, officials and the Education Authority address the challenges that currently exist for schools to overcome the current impasse which has seen funding withdrawn.”