The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) says there is a “high level of support” for the bid to transform Mallusk Primary School to controlled integrated status.
The organisation, which promotes integrated education across the province, believes that the change of status is key to “revitalising” primary education within the area.
NICIE argues that due to “significant demographic change” in recent decades, Mallusk would be best served by an ‘integrated’ school rather than a ‘controlled’ school.
A survey of parents of pre-school and early years primary children, carried out for NICIE in various parts of Newtownabbey earlier this year, reveals strong support (76 per cent) for an integrated school in the area.
Of the more than 500 respondents, 38 per cent said they would send their child to a new integrated school, while a further 37 per cent said they might consider it.
Asked if smaller schools were to close and be replaced by a larger school, what would be their preferred replacement, 84 per cent said integrated would be their first or second choice.
Noreen Campbell, CEO of NICIE, said: “NICIE fully supports the proposal to transform Mallusk Primary School to become integrated. This is an area with a diverse population of young families who seek a school that will recognise and celebrate the full range of diversity: Protestant, Catholic, those of different faiths and of none. The families in this area spoke very clearly when surveyed - they wish to see their children educated together.
“NICIE applauds the efforts of the parents, staff and governors who are working so hard to provide an excellent integrated education for Mallusk and the wider area. We are confident, given the energy and commitment of those working for this proposal and the high levels of support they are receiving, that the proposal to have an integrated school in Mallusk will be approved.”
That decision will be taken by Education Minister John O’Dowd, and NICIE is urging people to send letters supporting the change of status to the Department of Education.
Mallusk Primary School is currently seeking expressions of interest for September 2015 and beyond. For more information call the school on 028 9034 2038 or NICIE on 028 9097 2910.