New-Bridge Integrated College

Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland

> 20' of discussion with...
Break-out session Controversy and polarization in the classroom

New-Bridge Integrated College is an integrated all-ability school, welcoming children of every creed, culture, class and gender. Twenty-two years ago, the College was founded by a group of parents, who held the belief that all children should be educated together regardless of their ability or religious background. Seventy-five students began their education in mobile accommodation in 1995, and our pupil population today exceeds 620. The College is situated in Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland between the townlands of Newry and Banbridge, from which New-Bridge takes its name.

To date there are 20 post primary integrated schools in Northern Ireland – 7% of the pupil population in Northern Ireland is educated in an integrated school (primary and post primary). The College has a caring, inclusive ethos and shows a strong commitment to the welfare of pupils and staff. We offer a quality learning experience for those with gifts and talents, those with special needs and provide quality teaching for all abilities. Equality, tolerance and respect along with our associated practices are clearly promoted to parents and the wider community through our prospectus, open days, newsletter, website and special events celebrating integration and diversity.

The Community Relations Equality and Diversity team (CRED) within New-Bridge has worked collaboratively with teachers to develop whole school methodology to Teaching Controversial Issues and this work has been highlighted in a case study by the Northern Ireland Council for Education, CCEA. It is this approach that has led us to being awarded the Excellence in Integrated Education Award by Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and has allowed us to show parents and the wider school community, the ‘added value’ offered to their pupils through education at New-Bridge. This Award is an endorsement of our exemplary integrated ethos which is completely infused in our teaching and learning, our management, governance, and most importantly in our relationships. As a school for all the family, we enjoy a special relationship with the local community and we strive to set a positive example of peace and respect for others. The educational, emotional and social development of our children is at the heart of New-Bridge Integrated College.