Drawing on in-depth interviews with parents, teachers, pupils and commentators, journalist Fionnuala O'Connor presents an account of the first two decades of integrated education in Northern Ireland. The deeply ingrained divisions in Northern Ireland may not spring solely from segregated schooling, but there can be little doubt that Catholic and Protestant children growing up without any contact with children from the other side have found it easier to fear and demonise each other. In 1981 a group of parents decided to break away from this fatal deadlock and open a school that would welcome both Protestant and Catholic children. The obstacles were huge, not least intimidation from both republicans and loyalists and the more genteel but equally threatening hostility of some churchmen. Twenty-one years later, integrated education is an accepted and formidable part of the education system and, many would argue, a considerable force in the attitude-changing that facilitated the peace process.
Publisher: Blackstaff Press Ltd