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Ulster's trainees are integrated

As principal and chief executive of Stranmillis university college, Belfast - an inter-faith institution with staff and students of all religions and none - I was disturbed to read your story "Don't mention the Troubles" (TES, February 18).

You quote Catrin Roberts, of the Nuffield Foundation, saying that "teacher education in Northern Ireland is completely segregated, so teachers are not in a position to ... discuss these terribly sensitive issues".

There are five providers of initial teacher education in Northern Ireland; only one - St Mary's university college, Belfast - has a commitment to promote a particular religious ethos (the Roman Catholic faith). All the others are in fact religiously integrated.

With regard to professional development for teachers, the same integrated situation would apply to training programmes offered by the five education and library boards.

BEd undergraduate students from St Mary's and Stranmillis also meet regularly as part of a programme to promote diversity and mutual understanding, and to explore some of the sensitive issues alluded to at the Nuffield Foundation seminar.

Professor Richard McMinn

Principal

Stranmillis university college

Belfast

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