On Friday, 26 January, I was delighted to represent the Integrated AlumNI at Hazelwood Integrated Primary School, in north Belfast, where I met with Owen Smith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
It was my first time visiting Hazelwood IPS, despite attending Hazelwood College only a short distance away! I am not exaggerating when I say it was a fantastic visit - made all the more special by the wonderful pupils I got to meet. Owen Smith got to hear the senior school choir sing, before sitting in on a rehearsal for a special assembly on Fair Trade; he then visited classrooms and chatted to the school council.
Afterwards, I had the opportunity to chat with Mr Smith and Baroness May Blood over a cup of coffee and share the story of Integrated AlumNI and our aims and objectives. In particular, I told him about our forthcoming 'Back to School Roadshow' this March! He seemed genuinely impressed by the important work being done in the integrated education movement.
Many thanks to our friends at the IEF and NICIE for inviting us to take part in the visit. I am especially grateful to Mrs Murtagh and all the staff and students at Hazelwood for a first class visit. I look forward to returning soon!
Photo (L-R), Stuart Irwin, Trustee of Integrated AlumNI; Baroness May Blood, Campaign Chair for IEF; Owen Smith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Mrs Patricia Murtagh, Principal of Hazelwood IPS; and Roisin Marshall, Chief Executive for NICIE.