IFI: Whole School Community Approaches

CRIS’ flagship IFI ‘Whole School Community Approaches’ Project ran between 2009 and 2013 and was delivered across three geographical clusters incorporating 24 school communities and over 10,000 pupils, school staff, parents, carers and facilitators.

The project worked across three geographical clusters – North Belfast, Antrim Borough and Cookstown – operating on three key strands:

  1. Single School Development and between school “twinnings” that partner across the traditional educational and community divides
  2. Cross-sector of Nursery, Primary, Post Primary and Special
  3. Collaborative approaches and planning within ‘geographical sets’

The project adhered to very clear strategic objectives that targeted the building of capacity, development of strategic partnership, family and civic engagement, creation of forward-focused, shared pupil programmes and the creation of key developmental policies. CRIS applied a unique flexibility that allowed each school to start at their own beginning and chart their own Community Relations journey that was tailored to the needs of their school community.

By creating a strong and flexible foundation, the IFI/ CRIS ‘Whole School Community Approaches’ Project has supported significant advances in Community Relations Education provision such as;

  • Cluster-Based Community Relations School Leadership Networking Groups
  • Area Based Good Relations ‘Declarations’ and community planning
  • Whole school policy, class share programmes and development work
  • Creation of long term, sustainable family work
  • Development and implementation of bespoke Community Relations Curriculum resources: Foundation through to Key Stage 5

The project led to the development of Cookstown CRAFT (Community Relations Association of Families Together); ‘Antrim and Randalstown Schools: Moving Forward Together’ (MFT); numerous new or reinforced education partnerships across all three geographical areas; the establishment of the ‘ARC (Active Respectful Communities) Ardoyne and Shankill Together’ programme and the embedding of good practice across all three clusters.

Support for the ‘Whole School Community Approaches’ Project:

‘The work of this programme has enhanced who we are as a school community. It has created a platform that has supported us to grow and adapt to an ever changing environment.’ 

‘Community Relations work is no longer what we do. It is who we are’

‘The CRIS IFI project helped us to develop new school values that are now embedded into the every day fabric of our school. Our partnerships are stronger than ever. It would be almost impossible to measure the huge impact this project has had on our school’

‘We are in a different position now than where we were before the CRIS/ IFI programme. The work of the programme is incredible and we are so appreciative for all of the good work that you have done’

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