Wednesday 10th October 2018 : Topic – Integrated Education
Speakers: Mr Anthony Bradley, Principal of Omagh Integrated Primary School and Mr Nigel Frith, Principal of Drumragh Integrated College
Mr Bradley began by tracing the origins of Integrated Education back to Martin Luther King’s famous speech – “I have a dream”. The theme was picked up by the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland in the 1960’s and today some 22,000 children in the Province attend Integrated schools. Currently there 43 Integrated Primary Schools and 20 Secondary schools, representing about 7% of the total. The first integrated school in Northern Ireland was Lagan College which opened in 1981 with 28 pupils. It had to wait another 8 years before the sector was recognised by the Department of Education and granted funding as part of the Education Reform Order of 1989.
Mr Frith introduced himself by telling members he had been born in Africa and in 1981 enrolled in the then New University of Ulster where he met a local lass who would in due course become his wife and later convince him that he should live and work in Northern Ireland. He was appointed Principal of Drumragh College in 2005 having been until them teaching in Comprehensive schools in Peterborough. Today Drumragh has an enrolment of 680 pupils and occupies a campus on the Crevenagh Road which it shares with the Integrated Primary School. The schools have shared goals in their vision of bringing together children and young people from both traditions and educating them together on the basis of equality and respect for each other’s traditions. Tributes from former pupils were quoted to show the success of the two schools in producing pupils committed to making the world a better place.