Get the latest news from around our partnerships

COVID 19 Update

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it is vital that we continue to follow best practice guidelines, especially physical distancing and practice good hand-washing hygiene. Most of all we can come together to support each other by staying home and staying safe.

If you have a specific query regarding your partnership, please contact your Development Officer for guidance.

We are currently working with our funders to approve a mechanism for signing off on this year’s shared activity and we will send out further information about this in due course.

Please remember we are here to help and support you however we can in relation to your school charting a way through this extremely difficult and challenging time.


Teacher Professional Learning Underway

The 2020 TPL courses commenced on January 13th with ‘Delivering Effective Collaboration and Sharing in Primary Schools’.  The first of a series of modules which will be rolled out in different venues until the end of the school year was delivered in Letterkenny by Stranmillis College.

The second programme held was on ‘Understanding and managing diversity within the shared classroom’ run by Queens University Belfast QUB was very thought provoking.

Meanwhile ‘Supporting Shared Education through online Collaboration’ was delivered by Ulster University in Antrim Board Centre.

Here’s what participants are saying about these courses:

Before the course I would’ve been a bit worried or anxious about teaching diversity to my pupils but the course has given me a good entry point and given me loads of practical ideas for how to start teaching diversity within the shared classroom

I wanted to learn ways to open up discussion on how we are different and the course has given us loads of different ideas and practical things to do with the younger children without even having to explain that you are talking about diversity

 ‘A really well thought out course. Roger and Esther were amazing and great at explaining things. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to getting started with my children’

The course has been very relevant to further my understanding of blended learning. I will also take back to my school knowledge of Office 365 that could benefit other members of staff’

The warmth of welcome, personal interaction and clarity of course content put us at ease from the start..great feedback from Julie and Ashlene who brought us their first-hand experience of blended learning….very useful, informative and looking forward to kids getting started’

Ashgrove PS and St Michael’s PS – Shared Education in action – a report by St Michael’s PS

The frosty start didn't deter any of the P7 pupils who buzzed with excitement as we made our way to the imposing front doors of the Castle.

Ready to greet us were two members of Historic Royal Palaces staff, who told us we were about to meet someone very special.

As the large doors swung open to reveal a grand hallway, we were beckoned in by a tall lady in Victorian dress. Introduced to us as the Housekeeper, we were quickly informed of our position as new servants in the busy household. We examined our surroundings for evidence of wealth in this big "Irish House."

From dressing up to role play, the 45min house tour revealed lots of information about Hillsborough Castle during the Victorian era. From royal portraits to stately chairs, we marvelled at the luxurious items in this stately home.

However, as newly appointed servants we were given lessons in posture, daily grooming (all nails must be clean) and the "rule of discretion" which means that we were never to reveal what went on within the Castle walls!

Everyone got involved in this truly immersive experience...

From the Footman to the Butler, the Lady's Maid and the Scullery Maid, we tried on bonnets and aprons to appreciate the differences in style and clothing today.

Back in the activity room, we consolidated our learning with pre-prepared worksheets and activity sheets before a short walk in the garden.

Everyone enjoyed their trip back in time.

Florence from St Michael's PS loved the dressing up and couldn't wait to tell everyone at home what she had seen today!

Ethan from Ashgrove PS loved "taking part" in all of the interactive activities as well as getting to meet the costumed character.

Cara enjoyed looking "at the beautiful furnishings" while Kate really loved learning about life in Victorian times.


Vice Principal of Ashgrove PS, Mrs Karen Flaherty enthusiastically spoke about the merits of the programme hitting "valuable curriculum links" on the study of Victorians.

"I also thought the costumed character was highly beneficial in teaching the children about history in a fun and interactive way," she concluded.

Shared Education Benefitting both Pupils and Teachers

Hardy Memorial PS and St Patrick's PS Armagh have been sharing classes for almost two years.  Working together to plan and teach together, they've developed excellent relationships providing an extraordinary model for the pupils. 

The children made friends in face to face shared classes and sustained these relationships through online collaboration using G-suite.

For one of the Year groups, they used this blended approach to learning, exploring the World War 2 topic together. They also researched and found out more about cultural dances and learnt dances together during shared PE classes.

They also discussed this issues around online bullying during shared PDMU classes, linking some of the activities to Anti-bullying week.

During a recent On-Line collaboration TPL module, two teachers, Julie McClughan from Hardy Memorial PS, Richhill and Ashlene Smith, St Patrick's PS Armagh shared their learning from the previous online TPL module they attended and the work they did together as a result of the course.

They highlighted both the reconciliation and educational benefits for teachers and children involved, including: enhanced friendships and teamwork skills; learning new ICT skills; increase in confidence of both teachers and children; worthwhile activities done together; (not a ‘bolt on’) the ease of communication with and to each other and no additional costs incurred. 

They also referenced the links to DE’s Learning Leaders Strategy and the clear links they made to the UICT tasks.  The coordinating teachers plan to disseminate and transfer their learning and experiences to other staff members from both schools during shared staff training in May.

Millquarter and Groggan Shared Education Partnership - Building Bridges

Millquarter and Groggan Primary School, are located in rural areas between Toome and Randalstown and are five miles apart. We have been in formal partnership for three years but have established links long before then with both Principals working closely together since their appointments to each school.

Important Information Events

PEACE PLUS is a new EU cross-border programme that will contribute to a more prosperous and stable society in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.

The programme will achieve this by funding activities that promote peace and reconciliation, and contribute to the cross-border economic and territorial development of the region. It will build upon previous PEACE and INTERREG Programmes.

We are seeking your input to help shape the content of this programme.

A series of information events are taking place between December 2019 and February 2020, running from 6pm-8pm, with registration from 5.30pm.

To register, click on one of the below links, which will lead you directly to EventBrite.

The stakeholder engagement process will start on 10 December 2019 and end on 25 February 2020. Full documentation, including a response form, will be made available on on 10 December 2019.

If you would like additional information please email [email protected]


Mon 27 January


Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle

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Thu 30 January


Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena

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Tue 4 February


Armagh City Hotel, Armagh

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Wed 5 February


Belfast City Hall, Belfast

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Thu 6 February


Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk

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Extending Shared Education Activity in Dundalk School's Partnership

St Vincent’s Secondary School and Dundalk Grammar School have been collaborating in Shared Education for close to two years; sharing coding and music classes as well as taking on sign language.  To reach a wider community both within and beyond the two schools, this year they decided to look at more current affairs and topical issues and incorporate the debating clubs in both schools. 

Supported by their teachers and friends, on October 24 two debating teams each composed of pupils from both schools faced each other on a Brexit related topic.  Pat McCormick from Dundalk Institute of Technology and President of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce chaired the debate.  A follow up debate is planned in February on ‘Climate Change’ with the hope to elicit participation from other CASE schools. 


On October 16, Rosemary Dunne of St Mura’s NS, Buncrana, presented at the National Literacy and Numeracy Forum in Farmleigh House on the work she and her partner school St Boden’s NS are doing through Shared Education.

St. Joseph’s Slate St. & Blackmountain PS, Belfast CASE Shared Education Primary 6 workshop

Children in P6 participated in an African Drumming session and a Philosophy taster talk with Mr McAreavey, Head teacher in Holy Cross boys.  The children had great fun making music together on the djembe drums and learning about rhythm.  The feedback from the children was very positive and we look forward to bringing Philosophy into our school in the next academic year.  What is Philosophy for children?  Philosophical development is giving students the opportunity to practice and improve philosophising and the intellectual competencies involved in this, which have wider application in most, if not all subjects and becomes an important part of life-long learning.  Through the Shared Education programme we hope to equip the pupils and teachers involved in these life skills and equip them for future learning and experiences.

Creeslough National School and Cloughfin National School Science Open Days

As part of our shared education programme this year which focussed on STEM, we hosted two special Science open days, one in each school, hosting the children and staff from our partner school.

Last modified: 27 January 2020