Parents at Carrickfergus Central Primary School have voted overwhelmingly to take the school on the path to becoming officially integrated.
The principal and board took the step of balloting parents after they found evident interest in integration among the school community.
The vote (run by the Electoral Reform Services between February 11 and 25 2019) showed 86% support for integration through the process known as “transformation”.
Ian Baxter, chairman of the board of governors and Nuala Hall, principal, said they were delighted by the results of the parental ballot.
Mrs Hall said: “Carrickfergus Central Primary has always had an intake of pupils from all Christian denominations, other faiths as well as no faith and as such has been naturally integrated.
“We now have an opportunity to formalise this arrangement through Transformation to Controlled Integrated Status. The support we have received from parents, staff and members of the local community has been very encouraging.”
Roisin Marshall, CEO of Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), said she was delighted by the vote but not surprised.
“We know there is an appetite for integrated education among parents in Northern Ireland and this ballot underlines that in no uncertain terms. We look forward to supporting Carrickfergus Central as the school community explores the process of transformation and works together to further develop and strengthen its welcoming and inclusive ethos.
“This process of transformation will create more places in integrated education in the Carrickfergus area and, alongside the many development proposals for growth from existing integrated schools shows the potential for expansion to meet the growing parental demand for integrated education.”
Commenting on the result, Tina Merron, CEO of the Integrated Education Fund, said: “Congratulations to everyone at Carrickfergus Central Primary – the next steps on the school’s journey will be enriching and exciting. Parents have been consulted and made their preference clear, echoing the evidence from successive opinion polls over many years. In the face of this overwhelming evidence, isn’t it time that planning authorities were more active in growing integrated education to meet this demand?”
The two organisations will support Central PS as it progresses towards a Development Proposal to become integrated.