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Royal recognition for Queen’s University’s work on Shared Education

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The work of the Centre for Shared Education, hosted in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW), has been recognised by a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, part of the national honours system marking outstanding achievement by United Kingdom universities.

The Centre for Shared Education (CSE) established a pilot Shared Education programme with 12 schools in 2007. Shared Education provides economic, social and educational benefits to children, schools and society through cross-denominational school collaboration. The programme has grown to more than 700 schools and over 60,000 pupils now involved in regular, shared classes with schools from different denominations.

Shared Education has made a considerable impact on Northern Ireland and beyond. Through its model of cross-sectoral school collaboration, using a strong academic research base, it has become a core pillar of education policy and practice in Northern Ireland and has been adopted by educators and policymakers in other divided societies across the world.

Professor Joanne Hughes, Director of CSE, said: 'The Centre for Shared Education was established in May 2012 to promote shared education as a mechanism for the delivery of reconciliation and educational benefits to all children. This mission is delivered through research, programme delivery and education and training.  The impact of this work is being felt not only in Northern Ireland but across the world. We are delighted that the work on Shared Education has been recognised by her Majesty the Queen with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.'

Professor Tony Gallagher (Centre for Shared Education) said: 'The School of SSESW has always maintained strong and positive relations with schools in Northern Ireland and these established links provided the platform to develop Shared Education. As we moved from the stage of pilot programmes to mainstreaming we worked closely and constructively with officials in the Department of Education. Currently we work very closely with the teams in the Education Authority supporting Shared Education Partnerships across Northern Ireland. These close links and partnerships remain a very important and valued aspect of our work. 

This award is a tribute to the many hundreds of teachers and thousands of pupils who have helped make Shared Education work. Not only is it transforming the education sector in Northern Ireland but we are working with academics and educators to adapt the model to other divided cities and countries like Jerusalem, Beirut, Los Angles, Kosovo and North Macedonia.'

Shared Education has received support from Atlantic Philanthropies, the International Fund for Ireland and The Executive Office of the Northern Ireland Executive. The Queen’s Anniversary Prize will be presented at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February.