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New integrated schools bring Ulster total to 62

17-01-2008

16/01/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Belfast Telegraph

Two new integrated schools have been officially opened in Moira and Ballynahinch.

There are now 62 integrated schools in Northern Ireland educating more than 19,000 pupils - however, there are still not enough places to satisfy parental demand.

The latest figures show that over 750 children had to be turned away from integrated schools across the province at the start of this academic year due to a shortage of places.

Former World Featherweight Champion and winner of Hell's Kitchen 2007, Barry McGuigan, officially opened Rowandale Integrated Primary in Moira yesterday.

The boxing hero is a long standing supporter of integrated education and said: "It has always been my belief that integrated education is an essential part of a shared future."

The new United States Consul General to Northern Ireland, Susan Elliott, was due to officially open the new facilities at Drumlins Integrated Primary in Ballynahinch this morning.

The school's principal Janice Marshall said: "It is a tremendous honour to welcome the US Consul General to our school.

"We're particularly thrilled that she has taken time out of her busy schedule to formally open our new facilities, which will make a real difference to our children's education and help meet the needs of our pupils for many years to come."

Ms Elliott said: "I have been told that the opening of every integrated school brings incredible stories of courage, dedication and commitment and the United States salutes you for your collective efforts which are helping Northern Ireland move toward a pluralist society and a shared future."

Drumlins IP opened in September 2004 with 12 P1 pupils and now has over 60 children attending the school.

Michael Wardlow, chief executive officer of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, said: "Over the past five years, thousands of pupils have been turned away from integrated schools due to over-subscription.

"This year alone, despite the context of rationalisation elsewhere, 40% of the integrated schools found themselves in the situation of having to turn pupils away.

"The integrated choice is a valid one and should be made available to those who wish to pursue it."

 

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