Glengormley High School applies for integrated status

By Robbie Meredith
BBC News NI Education Correspondent

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More than 70% of pupils' parents who voted in a ballot supported the move to integrated status

A County Antrim post-primary school has put forward a formal proposal to transform into an integrated school.

If successful, Glengormley High School would become an integrated school in September 2022.

More than 70% of parents who voted in a ballot supported the move.

The Education Authority (EA) also supports the plan but said that "work is required to increase the religious balance within the school".

That is because about three-quarters of the school's 750 pupils are Protestant and only a small number are Catholic.

However, 20% of the school's pupils identify as "other religion or none" and a number of pupils are from Syrian, Nepalese, Chinese, Polish and African backgrounds.

The school also believes it will attract more pupils from a Catholic background in future, if it becomes integrated.

Move supported by staff

Its enrolment numbers have increased in recent years and the proportion of pupils achieving at least five GCSEs at A*-C grades has also risen.

The legal process by which a school changes to become integrated is called transformation.

A ballot of parents is required before transformation can begin and at least 50% must take part.

Some 67% of parents at Glengormley High took part in the ballot, with 71% of those voting supporting the move to become integrated.

The school also said that all members of staff supported the decision to seek transformation to integrated status.

That has led the school to submit a formal proposal to change its status, although the final decision on whether to approve that will be made by Education Minister Peter Weir.

The EA has given its backing as the two closest integrated post-primaries to Glengormley High - Hazelwood College and Ulidia College - are regularly over-subscribed.

The demographic profile of the surrounding Glengormley area is also religiously mixed - with 50% of residents from a Protestant background and 42% from a Catholic background in the 2011 census.

"The school already caters for pupils from a range of socio-economic and ability backgrounds," the school's case for change said.

"The local area is already diverse and is becoming more so.

"The school believes strongly that an additional integrated school in this area will be an enabler of more cohesive relationships throughout the community.

"Children would have opportunities to have a broader range of friendships which, it is hoped, would continue into adult life."