Three Highly Successful Years of Sharing Education in Magherafelt

A celebration:  Three Highly Successful Years of Sharing Education in Magherafelt

The Magherafelt Learning Partnership (MLP) is celebrating three years of participation in the Sharing Education Programme (SEP).  The partnership schools include Kilronan School, Magherafelt High, Rainey Endowed, Sperrin Integrated, St Mary’s Grammar and St Pius X College.  Magherafelt District Council hosted a celebration event on Thursday 30th May 2013 in the Magherafelt District Council offices to mark the success of the project.    The aim of the evening was to mark the huge progress the schools have made in developing curricular programmes on a shared basis.

In attendance were principals of the Magherafelt Learning Partnership, the Rural Partnership, school governors, SEP tutors, students, political representatives and Queen’s University SEP programme managers.   BBC presenter, Thomas Niblock, was Master of Ceremonies of the evening which included a film presentation and interviews with Project Coordinator Brenda Mc Nulty and students from each of the schools. 

Professor Tony Gallagher, Pro Vice- Chancellor of Queen’s University, was the guest speaker.  Professor Gallagher is the leading academic in the area of shared education.  His work forms the philosophical basis of the programme which facilitates schools to share aspects of their curriculum whilst respecting their individual identities.  Professor Gallagher congratulated the MLP on their success and acknowledged the importance of this work in influencing government as they formulate policy on ‘A Shared Future’.  He spoke of international recognition, from countries including Macedonia, Israel and Cyprus that the programme has attracted.  He closed by appealing to our elected representatives to support schools to continue with their shared classes.

The funding from SEP enabled the MLP schools to offer an extended timetable of enhanced qualifications and an enrichment programme to Year 13 students.  Students are offered a menu of up to 30 classes, which range from ECDL to Emergency First Aid.  The SEP team aimed to enrol 180 students in its first set of classes.  However such was the popularity that 320 students enrolled followed on by 375 students in Year 2 and presently 340 students.  This is from a potential pool of approximately 400 students across the MLP.  Students find the classes useful in reinforcing their curriculum studies, enhancing their career goals or for their own personal development. 

Satellite Projects

The core project focuses on Year 13 but the MLP principals have been keen to see the concept rolled out to other year groups in the Partnership.  Revision classes are delivered to Year 12 students in the spring term, whilst Year 9 students worked with Cinemagic throughout Year 2 and 3 of the programme.  Another great success was ‘The Big Sing’ choir.  This involved a shared choir coming together to perform in a variety show to fund raise for Marie Curie. The show was organised by the local Marie Curie group alongside local business people and was very much a community event.  This year SEP students supported Kilronan School’s production ‘Let’s Celebrate’ which commemorated 50 years of special needs education in Magehrafelt.  This was a huge collaborative project involving the MLP, the Rural Partnership and RicMusic.

Professional Development

SEP not only aims to promote reconciliation amongst students but also teachers.  In order to bring teaching staff together the MLP ran several classes for staff which ranged from ‘Photoshop’ to a RTU course in management.  Year 2 also saw the beginning of the SEP funded QUB Masters in Collaborative Leadership – an idea generated by the MLP team.  Over forty teachers from the entire SEP project in Northern Ireland were hosted in Magherafelt for their two core modules taught by Dr. Timothy London, QUB.

The Future of Shared Education in Magherafelt

The funding ends this year but with such an embedded and successful project the Partnership is determined to continue with the project. 


 Back row:Mr M McCullough (Principal-Rainey Endowed), Ms J Bartley (Principal-St Pius X College), Mrs D Gillespie (Principal-St. Mary's Grammar), Mr S Elder (Principal-Magherafelt High). Front row: Mrs A Millar (Principal-Kilronan), Dr T Gallagher (Pro-Vice Chancellor-QUB), Mr P McLean (Chairman-Magherafelt District Council), Mr T Niblock (Master of Ceremonies), Mr A Rowan (Principal-Sperrin College).


Back row: Mrs I Porte (SEP Coordinator-Sperrin College), Dr T Gallagher (Pro-Vice Chancellor-QUB), Mr G Duffy (Coordinator-St. Pius X College), Mr T Niblock (Master of Ceremonies), Mrs B McCormick (Coordinator-Kilronan School), Mr K Irvine (Coordinator-Magherafelt High), Mr G Quinn (Coordinator-St Mary’s Grammar). Front row:  Mrs P Cooke (Coordinator-Rainey Endowed), Mr P McLean (Chairman-Magherafelt District Council), Ms B McNulty (SEP Project Coordinator).


SEP Students pictured with Dr T Gallagher (Pro-Vice Chancellor-QUB), Mr P McLean (Chairman-Magherafelt District Council) and Mr T Niblock (Master of Ceremonies).




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