Why choose an Integrated Primary School and what makes our school different?
As an integrated school we educate children from both protestant and catholic traditions, as well as those of other faiths and none, in an inclusive, welcoming and aspiring environment. We differ from other schools in Northern Ireland by ensuring that children from diverse backgrounds are educated together every day in the same classrooms. Our school motto ‘Harmony Through Understanding’ underpins what we aspire to in our school. We believe that becoming aware of our own and others’ cultural heritage, traditions and celebrations is fundamental to our understanding and respect for difference and diversity within our society.
The 4 core principles of Integrated Education represent the cornerstones of our integrated ethos. We are fully committed to these principles and work hard to ensure that every child in our school has the opportunity to live, learn and grow together in order to help make societal changes in our divided society.
Through our Admissions Criteria we aim to enrol approximately equal numbers of Catholic and Protestant children, as well as children from other religious and cultural backgrounds.
We aim to have a religiously balanced school population (pupils, staff and Governors) which respects different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Staff attend regular training/workshops to further enhance and develop the promotion of the integrated learning experience for every pupil.
We provide a fully child-centred education which meets the needs of individuals and supports their holistic development .
2. FAITH & VALUES
Our integrated ethos underpins all aspects of our school. It aspires to create an environment where those of all faiths and none are respected, acknowledged and accepted as valued members of the school community. Pupils and staff feel secure in demonstrating aspects of their identity regardless of social or cultural background, ability, race, gender or sexual orientation and we explore difference and diversity through many initiatives-
- Our shared sports programme includes Gaelic, soccer, cricket, cross country, netball and rugby as well as Irish dancing lessons.
- We attend assemblies to celebrate Remembrance and St Patrick’s Day. We deal sensitively with issues regarding local and global events, including days which are recognised as being more significant to any one group within the school community or which may be considered contentious.
- We deliver class assemblies which explore diverse themes
- We participate in a wide range of workshops e.g Polish dancing and African drumming
- We go on exciting trips e.g. St Patrick’s Centre and Belfast bus tour
- We learn about different world religions
- We learn about the ideas, beliefs and practices of the major world religions and humanist philosophies
- We visit significant places of worship for a range of faiths and beliefs
- Our school facilitates specific provision for Catholic pupils whose parents wish them to undergo sacramental preparation.
- We encourage religious and community leaders to visit and participate in school activities
3. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
The support and commitment of parents is a fundamental element of Integrated Education and we endeavour to encourage parents to be fully involved in the life of our school. Our open door policy and rigorous communication with parents enables an effective partnership that benefits the whole school community. Some initiatives have included
- PTA events e.g. Christmas Fayre, Summer Fete, children’s art exhibitions, discos etc.
- First Aid Project
- Entrepreneur Scheme
- Traffic Project
- After school clubs
- Gardening Club
- Focus groups for curriculum subjects and exploring new policies
Our integrated school delivers the curriculum on an all-ability and inclusive basis to all of its pupils. It respects the uniqueness of every pupil and acknowledges his/her entitlement to personal, social, intellectual and spiritual development in the attainment of individual potential. We actively engage with organisations within the local, national and global community and work to appreciate the interdependence between society and the natural environment it inhabits. Some initiatives have included-
- Shared Education Programme with St. Mary’s PS, Newcastle
- Shared P7/Year 8 choir with Shimna College
- Global Awareness Project
- Eco School Project
- Mourne Heritage Trust Programme
- Bike-It Award
- NSPCC Project
- PDMU activities
- Teacher Professional Learning links with teachers from St Mary’s PS, Newcastle
- Sporting events
- Gardening Club for parents/grandparents
We encourage our pupils to engage with the use of non-violent means of conflict resolution
- Assertive Discipline Policy
- Worry Boxes in all classrooms
- Anti-Bullying week/ display boards
- NSPCC Project
- Home-School Communication Books
- Internet Safety initiatives
- SEN provision
- Child-friendly communications
We strongly believe that it is within the integrated sector that we can provide our children with the educational experience to empower them to make positive changes within our shared society which remains divided. The sector continues to grow and flourish, helping to make a difference for our future generations. We hope you can be part of our vision.
Integration in Action Gallery
The above gallery shows just a few of the ways in which we foster an interest in the diverse cultures and identities that can be found in Northern Ireland and further afield. From left to right the photographs show a P7 visit to Belfast, a Chinese New Year celebration event at school, P7s at the Peace Wall in Belfast, a visit to the Indian Community Centre, a school assembly on Integration, Remembrance Day & St. Patrick’s Day assemblies at Shimna Integrated College (which our whole school attends) and some of our P4s enjoying a Shared Education workshop at Murlough Beach with children from St. Mary’s PS.