CASE Shared Education Celebration Event
Collaboration through Sharing in Education (CASE) will be holding their celebration event at the Whitla Hall, Queens University Belfast on Monday, 27th February 2023, to recognise the success of the project and to encourage shared education partnerships on both sides of the Irish border to continue to flourish.
The CASE project was supported by the PEACE IV programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body with a budget of €24million. The lead partner was the Education Authority, with project partner Léargas. The funding was also supported by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Department of Education in Ireland.
The project was open to all schools in the six border counties of Ireland as well as schools in Northern Ireland which were involved in the Delivering Social Change Shared Education Signature Project.
Over six years the CASE project has supported 386 schools, both primary and post-primary, with over 140,000 pupils taking part in Shared Education lessons through local partnerships on a cross-sectoral and cross-border basis. Over 2000 teachers were involved in delivering Shared Education lessons and engaged in training to support collaboration both in person and online.
The following arrangements of schools were acceptable within the project:
- Shared partnerships between schools within Northern Ireland
- Shared partnerships between schools in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of Ireland
- Shared partnerships between schools within the Border Counties of Ireland
Department of Education Permanent Secretary, Dr Mark Browne said:
“The PEACE IV CASE project has provided many benefits to those involved, including building good relations, tackling intolerance and challenging prejudice. It has provided opportunities for children and young people from different community backgrounds and from border areas to learn together. Collaboration has not only led to the development of friendships and relationships but has also had a positive impact on attitudes and behaviours. This has successfully resulted in breaking down barriers and has advanced Shared Education.
“The project has helped to prepare the next generation to play their part in a peaceful shared society, where diversity and difference are respected.
“Thank you to all the schools and teachers involved and I acknowledge the commitment and successful engagement from the Education Authority, Leargas and SEUPB throughout the duration of the project.”
Ms. Bernie McNally, Secretary General, Department of Education Ireland said:
" I am very pleased to see that the funding provided by the Department of Education for the PEACE IV CASE project has given over 140,000 children and young people from across different sectors and backgrounds in Northern Ireland and the border counties an incredible opportunity together to learn new skills. It has also been very important that they have been given the opportunity to learn more about each other, with a view to building stronger community links and a more cohesive society in the future.
I would like to extend a huge congratulations to the Education Authority, Léargas, SEUPB and to everyone across the schools’ communities in both jurisdictions which played such an important role in the successful delivery of the CASE programme.”
Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB said:
It is an unfortunate legacy of our shared past that barriers remain between communities here. These barriers only enforce mistrust, misunderstanding and misinterpretation that prevent us from moving into a cohesive future.
The shared education objective of PEACE IV was developed to help address these divisions from an early age. It has involved children, young people, their teachers, their families and the wider community in curriculum-based collaboration and learning which has helped to challenge prejudices on all sides.
This direct contact has clearly begun a culture of good relations amongst children that will continue through to further generations.
I would like to congratulate everyone involved in CASE, particularly for the challenge of keeping young minds engaged. Their hard work has resulted in the successful delivery of a project that has reached so many children in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.
Sarah Long, Chief Executive of the Education Authority:
“We are proud to have led the CASE project alongside Leargas over the past six years. This project has provided shared education training and support for teachers and encouraged schools from different communities to come together to learn and interact collaboratively and build lasting relationships.
“We hope the shared education partnerships that have been created through this project continue to grow and flourish to the benefit all our children and young people.”
Lorraine Gilligan, Executive Director of Leargas:
“Commenting ahead of the closing event at Queen’s University
Belfast, Executive Director of Léargas, Lorraine Gilligan said: “This programme has had a huge impact for participating schools. The evaluation findings from the CASE report demonstrated improved mutual understanding and tolerance among children, the forging of cross-community friendships between pupils and parents, and crucially, an ability for children to acknowledge, accept and celebrate differences between them and their peers from different communities or backgrounds – whether this was religious or otherwise.
“The teachers involved in CASE have reported widespread educations outcomes, and there are fantastic results for teachers’ own confidence and professional development with 94% reporting improved professional teaching skills and knowledge. One seasoned school principal reported that this project had been ‘the most exciting development in their 20+ year career.”