Sixth-form students at Sperrin Integrated College enjoyed a workshop recently led by past pupils from four different integrated colleges, including Sperrin IC’s past Head Boy David Keenan and Head Girl Niamh Clarke.
In a unique initiative, students at nine different integrated colleges have been taking part in the two-day Back to School Roadshow, delivered by members of the Integrated Alumni, the network of past pupils from integrated schools and supporters of integrated education in Northern Ireland.
The interactive workshop at Sperrin IC included a range of activities and discussion centred on options for the future and the network of contacts ready to help them as they prepare to leave school and enter the world of further and higher education or work.
During the workshop David and Niamh, both at University, were supported by other active members of the Integrated AlumNI, which unites former pupils who are keen to raise their voices in support of integrated education in Northern Ireland. Through support from the Integrated Education Fund, there are now active groups in Belfast, London, Liverpool, and Edinburgh, and developments under way for further groups in Manchester, Dublin and Derry/Londonderry. Together they create a support network for anyone from integrated schools whether they are moving away from home after leaving school, or remaining local and keen to give something back.
David commented; “Positive engagement with past pupils can really raise aspirations for current students. This programme is a great way of showing people what possibilities lie ahead, and reassuring them that mentoring and support is available.”
Niamh added: “March is Integrated Education Month so it’s great to be able to raise awareness of the campaigning work we do – sometimes it’s not until you leave school and go out into the world that you realise what an exceptional school experience you were given through integrated education.”
Membership of the Integrated AlumNI is free and open to all past pupils from integrated schools. The network can be contacted by email; firstname.lastname@example.org