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Northern Irish posters please advise on this potentially sensitive question

(13 Posts)
ToBelfastOrNot Thu 20-Dec-12 17:45:12

We're from the south of Ireland and are Church of Ireland (which is about the same as Church of England I think). A move to Belfast could be considered, for various financial reasons. House prices, NHS, longer school day, tax credits, more job opportunities. Something has to change. Dublin is tough at the moment. Where does an Irish church of Ireland family send their children in Northern Ireland? I would have thought that in Northern Ireland of all places, there would be Educate Together type schools, but I can't find any info online about Educate Together in NI. I've no strong views about who NI belongs to, but I feel 100% Irish. However, not being Catholic, I'm a little bit scared of sending children to a Catholic school in the North although I wouldn't fear doing that here, and I have my children's names down for Catholic secondaries.

Am I overthinking things? What's good about living in NI? What's bad about living in NI?

ChablisLover Thu 20-Dec-12 17:52:18

Hi there

There are state schools which are Protestant or integrated and they are run by the education and library boards

So it will all depend on where you are moving as there are different boards for different areas and different criteria.

Having said that some catholic schools are also run by the state rather than the catholic maintained sector

Depending on the age of your kids we also have the entrance exams at 11 to get into a grammar school. Used to be the 11 plus but it was scrapped and replaced by up to 5 exams now. The state schools have their own exams and the catholic schools run another set. If you are not worried about going to a grammar school, there are high schools (comprehensives) and basically you go to the one that is local to you.

If you are looking for integrated schools I would google integrated schools in Northern Ireland and see what comes up.

Hope this helps slightly.

Any questions shout.

ChablisLover Thu 20-Dec-12 17:56:15

Good things about ni - all the things you've said, free health care, cheaper Cost of living etc etc

Bad things - salaries are generally quite Crap compared to south, the current "fleg" situations, the benefits system is not as generous as the south

Apart from that, it's a good place to live, close to really everything - beaches never more than an hours drive away, great things to do as a family, lots of Museums great restaurants

ToBelfastOrNot Thu 20-Dec-12 18:14:47

Thank you ChablisLover. So the word I'm looking for is integrated state school. thank you, knowing the correct terminology helps. I was googling eceumenical, multi-denominational, educate together, and I was getting nowhere. But are all schools basically either protestant or catholic then? There's no such thing as both or neither?

jinglebellyalltheway Thu 20-Dec-12 18:18:00

not in NI but in England and here the term is "churches together" I think, which are christian schools (COE or RC) which prioritise any chritians in their admission criteria and celebrate big events with the other churches together churches/schools rather than sticking to their own denomonation

FreeButtonChristmasTree Thu 20-Dec-12 18:29:01

An Integrated school is what you're loking for. Much more common than when i was growing up although fairly limited numbers and you might struggle in a more rural area. I'm not sure that there are many primaries, inthink they are more common at secondary level (when such issues tend to become more prominent). There are some "protestant" schools that are more mixed than others so might be worth considering too - I'm thinking of the likes of Friends in Lisburn (notionally Quaker), Methody which has quite an international intake (well for NI!). But they do tend to be more NI-Protestant in general ethos which might be a bit of a jump for you.

poozlepants Thu 20-Dec-12 18:30:38

There are a few state grammars in Northern Ireland that have both catholic and protestant pupils but they tend to be in more rural areas. I went to one and had no idea until I left Northern Ireland how unusual it was and how lucky I was. There were however 2 high schools in my town- one protestant and one catholic.
There are quite a few integrated primaries which is good to see.

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Thu 20-Dec-12 18:37:41

I'm not sure integrated is what you're looking for.

Integrated schools have quotas for pupils for the two religions (and other), so there is a permanent, structural obsession with what religion you are built right in.

The state school where I live is quite closely link to the (CofI) parish church. You might find that preferable.

I would visit the schools and see. I was all about integrated until I found out more about it.

Depending on where you live a non-integrated state school might be less religious and less preoccupied with religious difference than an integrated school.

ICantStandLosing Fri 21-Dec-12 20:32:35

Millennium primary on the outskirts of Belfast is integrated

Pyrrah Sun 23-Dec-12 13:22:33

Lived in Belfast years ago and Methody was the one that seemed to have a very mixed intake (and the prettiest girls/shortest skirts according to my then teenage boyfriend and his friends...grin) - great results as well.

MissDuke Sun 30-Dec-12 10:20:24

I personally think you are focussing too much on religion! My experience of schooling here in NI is that religion is so much the focus as it is in Ireland. My husband and I are mixed religion and we haven't christened our children or labelled them with a religion at all, I just ticked no religion on their admission forms. They attend the local primary and there ae no issues at all, I know of various religions attending the school. Fair enough, the ministers who come in to Assembly are Presbyterian and COI and carol services are usually held in the local Presbyterian church (as it is the biggest church in the town) but that is fine with us. Carol services are optional anyway. I guess it depends on how strongly you feel about religion, but personally I examined the inspection reports on the Department of Education's website rather than worrying about religion. You can teach children at home and at Sunday school or whatever, they don't have to receive all religious education in schools, and so long as you be sensible about which part of Belfast you move to, then acceptance shouldn't be a big problem - if you are looking at Belfast, I would consider South Belfast if I were you - Stranmillis, for example. The schools there are mixed. Good luck!

MissDuke Sun 30-Dec-12 10:20:59

Oh and for secondary school, have a look at Lagan College

MissDuke Sun 30-Dec-12 10:44:48

Sorry to keep coming back lol, but I just want to also ask, are you sure about the school day being longer here? Generally, primaries are in 5 hours for p1-p3 and 6 hours p4-p7. Secondaries aren't much longer, usually around 6.5 hours as far as I know.

My ds is in a nursary attached to the primary, and he is in 8.50am-11.20am. My dd is in p4 and is in 8.50am-2.45pm. When ds starts p1 in Sept, he will be in 8.50am-1.45pm.

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