Cross-border education partnership to support student teachers to teach in Equality-based, Multi-denominational and Integrated primary schools.

In conjunction with the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS), the Shared-Island Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach has announced that they will be funding a unique research project exploring provision enabling pre-service teachers to teach in diverse settings. The project will be conducted by two Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers and three representative/support/management/patron bodies for Equality-based, Multi-denominational and Integrated Schools.

As one of five partners involved in the Educating About Difference Uniting Classrooms and Teacher Education (EDUCATE) action research project, Educate Together welcomes the recent announcement and looks forward to collaborating with Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Ulster University (UU), Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) and the Council for Integrated Education on this timely research initiative.

Project partners have collectively identified that increasing pluralism on the island of Ireland and the subsequent demand for Equality-based, Multi-denominational and Integrated schools have significant implications for educators, particularly regarding their confidence and competence to teach in diverse school settings. Within schools, there is a growing awareness of the challenges and opportunities for teachers to explore identity, address difference and teach controversial issues to foster mutual respect and understanding. This reveals a subsequent need to equip pre-service teachers with the necessary skills, knowledge, attitudes and values at ITE level.

To address this need, the EDUCATE project will bring together practicing teachers in Community National Schools, Educate Together Schools and Integrated Schools and pre-service teachers from MIC and UU to share good practice in this area.

The EDUCATE project partners would like to collectively thank the Shared Island Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach and SCoTENS for this award of funding. We look forward to commencing the research in April 2022 and working collaboratively to inform policy and practice and ultimately enhance the learning experiences of children attending Educate Together Schools, Community National Schools and Integrated Schools.

For further information on the EDUCATE Project, please visit the SCoTENS website here.