Integrated AlumNI is a registered charity (NIC106805), forming a network of past students, and ambassadors and campaignersof integrated education in Northern Ireland. We campaign and lobby for the further provision of integrated education in Northern Ireland and we have networks established in various locations in the UK, Ireland and overseas. We support the work of the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE).
Since its foundation in 1921, Northern Ireland’s education system has largely consisted of state controlled schools, mainly attended by Protestant pupils, and Catholic maintained schools, almost exclusively attended by Catholics. To date over 90% of school aged children in Northern Ireland attend a religiously segregated school. For the past 30 years, in a deeply divided society, Integrated schools have been intentionally and proactively developed to encourage more mixing in schools.
Integrated schools bring together children and adults from Catholic, Protestant and other backgrounds in each school. The schools strive to achieve a religious balance of pupils, teachers and governors and acknowledge and respect the cultural diversity they represent. The integrated ethos is nurtured to ensure inclusion of people from different religions, cultures, genders, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.
Integrated AlumNI was established in 2013 as a network for past pupils from integrated schools to support the advancement of integrated education in Northern Ireland, and became a registered charity in 2017. Integrated education encourages open-minded attitudes among pupils as well as building the confidence and ability to question, observe, listen and make informed decisions.
Through a network of local groups, members provide a social support network for past pupils, particularly those moving away from Northern Ireland for work or further study. The network offers support and encouragement to current pupils by inspiring, mentoring and raising aspiration and helps to promote and advance integrated education through awareness raising events and activities. There are active groups in Northern Ireland, London, and Edinburgh, and active members across the UK, USA and other locations globally.
The purposes of this charity continue to be:
To the advancement, furtherance and promotion of integrated education and its benefits within Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom (‘the area of benefit’) and for the advancement, education, assistance and promotion of both the current pupils and alumni of integrated education (‘the beneficiaries’) and by any other charitable means as the trustees see fit. We aim to contribute to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland through Integrated Education.
We further this purpose through three strands of activity (‘services’):
- Awareness raising, lobbying and campaigning for integrated education
- School support and pupil development
- Building capacity through the recruitment of new members
The direct beneficiaries of the charity include current and past pupils of integrated schools in Northern Ireland who engage with the charity’s events and activities, particularly during our flagship annual engagement, the Back to School Roadshow. Indirectly, staff in integrated schools benefit as the charity’s activities support them in building the confidence, self-assurance and positive aspirations of their pupils, as well as furthering the integrated ethos.
Family and friends of direct beneficiaries also benefit through positive relationships with members, who are motivated and enthusiastic about building a better future in Northern Ireland. Each member is supported and encouraged to act as an ambassador for the integrated education movement and publicly represent the charity when in the public realm, providing a positive role model for peers and within their community.
The charity’s activities also benefits other organisations involved in promoting the development and expansion of integrated education, as well as voluntary and community sector organisations engaged in community development, peace and reconciliation. The organisation’s activities contribute to the wider community benefit offering hope and opportunity to future potential pupils and their families and encourage respect for diversity within and across communities. Ultimately, the charity's activities actively contribute to and promote a more peaceful and compassionate world.
The direct benefits which flow from this purpose include:
● raised confidence and aspiration of current pupils in integrated schools through engagement with past pupils acting as positive role models;
● increased educational, professional and social development opportunities for past pupils of integrated schools in Northern Ireland through an active network of local alumni groups based in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK;
● enhanced public awareness and understanding of the benefits of integrated education in Northern Ireland and its contribution to building a more reconciled and peaceful society, as demonstrated through a range of public engagement events and activities.
These benefits are evidenced through a growing membership, feedback surveys undertaken with current pupils and staff of integrated schools, event feedback and annual review with members, annual report and reports to funders.