Ulster divided by charges of bias

26th April 1996 at 01:00
The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education has rejected a claim by the outgoing president of the Ulster Teachers' Union that its schools receive favourable treatment, writes Paul McGill.

In her speech to the annual conference in Belfast, Margaret Wilson said Northern Ireland's education system is more divided than ever.

"No school or sector should be surviving on the back of another. It is not good enough to plough resources into integrated education while insisting that their criteria are dissimilar to others," said Ms Wilson, a primary school principal "Why is it possible to set up nursery classes or even playgroups in integrated schools while insisting that our already integrated nursery schools are expected to fulfil more stringent criteria with regard to buildings and so on? " Setting up the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools further segregated education, she said.

Brendan Heaney, development officer of NICIE, said: "Integrated schools are funded by the same formula that applies to controlled (mainly Protestant) schools and Catholic maintained schools. As the money comes direct to grant-maintained integrated schools, however, the education board cannot make deductions and the grant is utilised within the integrated school."

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