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A Further £3.6m Funding For Sharing Education Programme

Published on:  25 Oct 2010

Post-primary schools throughout Northern Ireland are benefiting from a further £3.6m funding for the cross-community Sharing Education Programme (SEP). Following the success of a three-year pilot programme, which was launched in 2007, the increased funding will allow a further 58 schools and over 4,000 pupils to benefit from similar projects for the next three years.

Funded by the International Fund for Ireland and The Atlantic Philanthropies and administered by Queen’s University, SEP offers students the chance to share enhanced educational and development opportunities, while at the same time building positive relationships with those from different backgrounds and cultures.

Tony Gallagher, Professor of Education and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast, said: “Since 2007 SEP has been supporting schools in the development of new models of collaboration. Research and development work has demonstrated that by embedding cross-sectoral collaboration within our curriculum, we can see not only economic benefits but societal and educational benefits as well.”

The SEP pilot programme impacted on 60 schools and over 4,000 pupils over the course of the three years through shared curricular and extra-curricular activities. These partnerships have provided a wealth of best and next practice know-how for schools to build on.

Speaking on behalf of the Programme’s funders, Denis Rooney CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “Taking the first step toward collaboration can be the biggest challenge. The scale of this Programme combined with the success of SEP in getting these relationships off the ground is truly impressive. Both the International Fund for Ireland and The Atlantic Philanthropies consider shared education to be integral to advancing peace building and reconciliation.”

The 12 partnerships benefiting from the new funding will focus on a range of curricular subjects. These include STEM subjects, art, modern language, drama, citizenship and enhanced 6th form qualifications. One post-primary partnership is delivering a Robotics Challenge; another pair of schools is able to offer its pupils business and technological certifications through the partnership.

Many of the projects also include partnerships between post-primary and primary schools as well as including Special Needs education.

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