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ERIC Number: EJ1087725
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0141-1926
"Plugging the Gap": Shared Education and the Promotion of Community Relations through Schools in Northern Ireland
Hughes, Joanne; Loader, Rebecca
British Educational Research Journal, v41 n6 p1142-1155 Dec 2015
Although there is no consensus among educationalists as to the role schools play as drivers of hostilities in divided societies, there is broad agreement that they can facilitate more positive intergroup relations. In Northern Ireland the promotion of school based intergroup contact has been offered as a means through which this can happen. Until 2007, the approach was twofold, reflected on the one hand in short-term contact opportunities for pupils in predominantly Catholic and Protestant schools, and on the other, in support for integrated schools that educate Catholics and Protestants together. In 2007 the Shared Education Programme was introduced to "bridge the gap" between short-term opportunities for contact, and "full immersion" integrated schools. Informed by contact theory, shared education offers curriculum-based interaction between pupils attending all school types, aimed at promoting the type of contact likely to reduce negative social attitudes and ultimately contribute to social harmony. In this paper, we examine the impact of shared education thus far. Our analysis suggests that while shared education is generally effective in promoting positive assessments of other group members, there is a danger that programme impact may be inhibited by the foregrounding of educational over reconciliation priorities. Appreciating that the downplaying reconciliation objectives may have been necessary when the programme was established in order to maximise recruitment to it, we argue that if the full potential of shared education is to be realised, moving forward, it is important for schools to engage with issues of group differences.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A