Parents back bid to create north's first integrated nursery school
PARENTS have given overwhelming support to a plan to create the north's first official integrated nursery school.
Bangor Central Nursery School will now seek to transform from controlled to integrated status.
There are 95 nursery schools in the north, all of which are either state controlled or Catholic maintained.
While there are hundreds of other non-denominational pre-school groups, Bangor NS would be the first to join the integrated sector.
Principal Millie Williams balloted parents after governors found interest in integration among the school community.
The vote showed 97 per cent support.
"This is a great opportunity for very young children from all communities to learn together daily," Ms Williams said.
"The children can make friends and get to know each other no matter what their background is. This nursery school has always welcomed families from all traditions and backgrounds. We have been providing pre-school education in Bangor since 1942, and now, with overwhelming parental approval, we are on the path to become the first stand-alone integrated nursery school in Northern Ireland."
Roisin Marshall, CEO of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, said there was an appetite for unsegregated schooling among parents.
"This ballot underlines that in no uncertain terms," she said.
Tina Merron from the Integrated Education Fund, added: "Parents have been consulted and made their preference clear, echoing the findings of successive opinion polls over many years and adding to the evidence that communities are ready for an education system which is set up for children of all faiths and none to learn, play and grow together."