SCDL Pupil Consultation Heralds Launch of New Shared Sports Class Jersey

Pupils are pictured wearing a new shared jersey which they unveiled today [20th December 2012] at St Paul’s High School Bessbrook during the Sharing Classrooms: Deepening Learning (SCDL) pupil consultation.

The three-year project involving St Paul’s High School Bessbrook, Newtownhamilton High School and St Joseph’s High School Crossmaglen is part of a series of ground breaking initiatives developed through the International Fund for Ireland’s Sharing in Education programme.

Managed by the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), the SCDL Project is designed to create an inclusive environment in increasingly diverse classrooms.

The new jerseys were designed by the shared BTEC Sport class as part of the project to build a group identity and promote affiliation for students from the three different participating schools.

During the SCDL consultation more than 30 pupils, parents, teachers and educational body representatives gave feedback on the project and shared their experiences.

International Fund for Ireland Board Member, Siobhan Fitzpatrick CBE, said: “Shared Education brings not just educational benefits, but wider societal benefits in helping to create a truly shared society here in Northern Ireland. Part of the unique challenge is ensuring all pupils involved feel welcome and that real mixing is taking place between them. The launch of the new shared jerseys at today’s SCDL pupil consultation illustrates the first steps these students are taking to ensure exactly that happens. The evaluation results from today’s SCDL pupil consultation will help us all take stock of the successes so far and creates an open environment to explore the best approaches in expanding this initiative and bringing our aspirations to reality in shared education for all.”

NICIE CEO Noreen Campbell said: “Over three years NICIE is providing the training and support for schools and teachers to equip them to work creatively, imaginatively and yet sensitively in the shared classrooms of today in the future.  The BTEC Sports Studies shared class includes 15 students from three different schools and together they have embarked on a momentous and historical venture. They should be very proud of the example they are setting to others and we will do all we can to ensure they have an enjoyable and academically successful experience.”

Noella Murray, Entitlement Framework Coordinator at St. Paul’s High School Bessbrook said:

“The group of fifteen students come together every Thursday for the whole day in St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, to study B Tec Sports together. In an effort to encourage greater integration and to create a unique sense of shared identity for the group, the idea of designing a specific uniform was posed by staff in June. With the support of the SCDL team and the expertise of the Art and Design department, a workshop was facilitated in September, during which the team of students designed a template for a sports jersey which incorporates the school crests of each of the three schools. The students are very proud to be launching their jersey as part of today’s SCDL pupil consultation, and they look forward to wearing the jersey as a sign of their friendship and shared identity.

“The support and guidance provided to date by SCDL has proved invaluable to this partnership. The team has guided and advised us each step of the way on best practice. They have afforded staff and students opportunities to build strong relationships both within the classroom setting as well as through external training sessions and team building activities. We believe that SCDL have played a pivotal role in cementing the trust and openness both within the team of staff as well as within the student group. We are looking forward to building on the successes of our first term and are steadfast in our commitment to work together to create more enriched provision of educational opportunities for all young people in the South Armagh area.”


For further information or to request an interview please contact:

Stephen McGrath, Weber Shandwick, 079 8947 5561,

Lindsay Beacom, Weber Shandwick, 028 9034 7300,


About the International Fund for Ireland

The International Fund forIrelandis an independent international organisation established by the Irish and British Governments in 1986. The Fund’s main objectives are to promote economic and social advance and encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Unionists and Nationalists throughout Ireland.

Contributors to the Fund are theUnited States of America, the European Union,Canada,AustraliaandNew Zealand. Since its inception, the Fund has committed more than £668m/€838m to a wide variety of projects inNorthern Irelandand the southern border counties. Developing and funding initiatives that tackle segregation and promote integration to build a lasting peace in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties is a key priority for the Fund.

About the Sharing in Education Programme:

Funded by the International Fund forIrelandand managed by the Department of Education, the Sharing in Education Programme seeks to break down the barriers from our historic conflict by providing a range of opportunities for young people to learn and work together.

By supporting a variety of strategic projects that enable young people to participate in shared educational experiences, the Programme helps to facilitate reconciliation for a shared future.

The Fund’s Sharing in Education Programme seeks to break down barriers from Northern Ireland’s historic conflict by providing a range of opportunities for young people to learn and work together. To date over £16m has been invested in SiEP which was launched in 2008.