Over 65,000 School Children Engaged in Shared Education Project

CASE was featured in the Summer Edition of Your EU.  Read article in full in the news section.

Children laughing in school together

Over 65,000 School Children Engaged in Shared Education Project

It’s been three years since the €28.9m Collaboration and Sharing in Education project (CASE) embarked on a collaborative journey of Shared Education in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of Ireland.

A partnership between the Education Authority in Northern Ireland and Léargas in Ireland, the projects aims to engage 280 schools and 135,000 pupils in shared education by 2022.

The shared education concept is a fundamental element of the PEACE IV Programme, helping bring school children and teachers from different communities and backgrounds across the region together in a shared learning environment.

By November 2017, approximately 2,000 pupils were benefitting from their involvement in CASE, with 19 partnerships having been formed, comprising of 43 schools.

By February 2018, the number of schools involved had risen to over 200 with approximately 11,000 pupils. To date, the project has actively engaged 387 schools – surpassing the original target of 280, and has over 65,000 pupils involved.

The CASE project is based on sustainable curricular-based sharing, and provides opportunities for pupils and staff from schools of different management types to engage in collaborative and meaningful learning experiences. The reconciliation element in shared education is of vital importance to a cohesive society, but the CASE project is also designed to deliver positive educational outcomes.

Another aim of the CASE project is to train 2,000 teachers with the capacity to facilitate shared education. To date, over 1,200 teachers have delivered shared education and approximately 700 have participated in Teacher Professional Learning. In January 2020 the project held dissemination events with teachers, where extremely positive feedback was collected.

  • “It has given my small school an opportunity to engage in professional dialogue.”
  • “I have another shoulder to lean on regarding ideas; strategies; support links; collaboration; and of course, shared education.”
  • “The pupils have gained such a wealth of knowledge via all the different activities they have participated in - this is immeasurable! They have developed social skills, made new friends whom they are now in touch with outside of school. They have fostered mutual respect for one another and embraced each other’s culture.”

As in the lives of so many EU citizens, COVID-19 brought face-to-face activities to an abrupt end. However, like other PEACE IV funded projects, CASE learned new ways of adapting and working to ensure it continued impacting the lives of so many school children. Some examples include: Killygordon and Glencovitt National Schools, Co.Donegal, who worked together to prepare a digital message to send to the local community hospital for staff and patients. It featured poems, poster and songs; and St Oliver’s National School and St Brigid’s Special School, Co. Louth, who began a joint project looking at the frontline staff working in hospitals.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department for Education Northern Ireland and the Department for Education and Skills, Ireland.