Education Experiences in Minority Ethnic Groups in Northern Ireland
School of SSESW colleagues Rebecca Loader, Joanne Hughes and Aisling O’Boyle have been awarded a grant of £246,000 by the Nuffield Foundation for a project exploring experiences of education and school transition among minority ethnic pupils and their parents. This qualitative study will run from September 2021 until April 2023 and will investigate how families from minority backgrounds perceive and navigate educational provision in the distinctive context of Northern Ireland.
The main part of the study will involve interviews with 60 children (ages 9-13) and their parents/carers across six areas of Northern Ireland with different levels of diversity. These interviews will explore topics including school choice and admissions, experiences of school life and parent-school engagement, the curriculum and support for multilingualism. Interviews with children will utilise creative methods of map-making and collage to explore their thoughts and feelings regarding school. The study will also comprise analyses of government policy, school policy and educational data concerning minority ethnic groups in Northern Ireland, and interviews with stakeholders including education officials, teachers, and statutory and voluntary sector organisations.
The research team’s work will be guided throughout by an advisory group of young people from minority ethnic backgrounds and representatives of organisations working with minority ethnic and migrant groups, who will help ensure the research is sensitive, inclusive and impactful.
This study will contribute significantly to our understanding of education among minority ethnic groups in Northern Ireland, encompassing the diverse experiences of newcomer families and those from established minority communities. The outputs will include recommendations to enhance minority groups’ educational experiences and outcomes and to address inequalities and/or gaps in provision revealed by the research.