Northern Ireland

Shared education in NI proposed to save costs

Image caption Oxford Economics suggests NI schools could share resources or intergrate

An economic consultancy has said shared education could help Northern Ireland schools survive the harsh funding cuts which are expected.

Oxford Economics said excess capacity in schools is partly due to having different schools for both Protestants and Catholics in the same communities.

It argues that one school may be enough.

It said NI's separate education sectors may be more willing to accept reform at a time of financial stringency.

The consultants looked at the expense of having many different types of school, even in small areas with low populations.

They said cuts of 25% could be on the way and economies could be made by asking schools to share resources or by creating integrated schools.

The Integrated Education Fund has welcomed the report .

It said courage and creativity could lead to a better and leaner education service.