Queen's University Belfast

Shared education nurtures community relations

Inter-denominational Shared Education Programme reaching 700 schools in Northern Ireland and beyond promoting community relations.

Throughout its history, Queen’s University Belfast has always remained committed to making an impact on the city and region in which it is based. This commitment became particularly evident during the evolution of the peace process in Northern Ireland when academics across a host of disciplinary areas, supported by the University, contributed to efforts to secure the peace and build a better society for all.

The University’s Centre for Shared Education (School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work) developed a model of cross-sectoral school collaboration, using a strong academic research base, so that schools of all religious denominations in Northern Ireland could provide a positive framework for their pupils and teachers to transform local communities. In little more than a decade since its inception, the programme has become a core pillar of education policy and practice in the Province, with over 700 schools involved.

The programme includes training for teachers to foster expertise and support practitioners and a stakeholder network for bringing about shared school improvement through exchange of practice. It is a success story bringing, through the involvement of young people, the prospect of hope for the future. The programme now also has an international reach and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to extend their shared education outreach work in divided societies such as Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia, while significant international impacts have also been delivered in Israel and the US (Los Angeles).