71% in Northern Ireland want end to faith-segregated schools

6 August, 2021

Parents in Northern Ireland overwhelmingly want an end to religiously segregated schools

71% of people in Northern Ireland want to see an end to religiously segregated schools, according to the latest polling data from LucidTalk. Northern Ireland Humanists has said the data should give ministers confidence to press ahead with a reformed single education system, and that the time has come to leave behind the divisions of Northern Ireland’s past.

Nearly three quarters of respondents, covering a representative sample of Northern Ireland adults, said they would prefer to see ‘integrated schools’ become standard across the board. This would mark an end to schools with a single religious ethos and to segregation by religion in admissions or employment.

Late last year, then-DUP leader Arlene Foster MLA committed the Northern Ireland Executive to setting up an independent review of the Northern Ireland education system, with a view to exploring a single education system.

Northern Ireland Humanists Coordinator Boyd Sleator commented:

‘These are hugely encouraging findings, which show that the vast majority of people want to see children from all backgrounds learning and playing side by side, and families meeting and mixing at the school gates.

‘We want to encourage MLAs from all parties and all backgrounds to recognise what the public wants, and that a fully integrated school system, free from religious discrimination in all its forms, is in the best interests of everyone. Following Northern Ireland’s 100th anniversary, our politicians have a golden opportunity to level up the country for the better, leaving behind the divisions of our past.’

That recent polling data on religion or belief in Northern Ireland suggests the non-religious are approaching parity with the Catholic and Protestant communities only adds to the case for immediate reform.


For further comment or information, please contact Northern Ireland Humanists Coordinator Boyd Sleator at boyd@humanists.uk or phone 07918 975795.

Read more about Humanists UK’s work on religious discrimination in school admissions.

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