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Growing GRACE

Growing GRACE: Who We Are

Growing GRACE

Good Relations and Collaborative Education (GRACE) is a model of practice that is built upon a set of values, ideals and principles that guide collaborative exploration from the front. It is an approach that is developed further and deeper as more schools and localities engage with it; ensuring that it meets the needs of the school communities.


CRIS is committed to sharing and growing the learning that is captured within the GRACE model, and supporting school communities to engage in meaningful collaboration within their localities. GRACE Principle and Practice can be seen in Moving Forward Together (MFT): Antrim and Randalstown Schools, and now through Newtownabbey Empowering Schools Together (NEST).

Our goals for this initiative include:

  • Reducing isolation for your school, staff and pupils – promoting interdependence;

  • Creating collegiality outside of the school and into the wider community;

  • Nurturing the community that the school lives in.

Newtownabbey Empowering Schools Together (NEST)

Community Relations In Schools (CRIS) has been invested in the Newtownabbey area, its schools and communities since 2012 – through collaboration, family work, pupil programmes and collaborative dialogue with leaders of our current partner schools. Through funding provided by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Good Relations Action Plan, CRIS is now in a position to take the next steps on this journey of collaboration by:

  • Connecting with schools who we have had limited opportunities to build relationships with;

  • Engaging with schools within the area in inter-sector dialogue and in an exploration of collaboration that has the potential to lead to shared programmes for pupils, shared training for school staff, shared resources and shared services/funding for schools;

  • Beginning to develop long-term strategies alongside schools and their communities - doing with rather than doing to;

  • Guiding the creative process - working from the ground up to co-develop and co-lead with each school partner.


Moving Forward Together

Antrim and Randalstown Schools; Moving Forward Together Partnership (MFT) is a multi-sector collaborative education partnership consisting of 20 nursery, primary, special and post-primary schools; Rathmore Education Guidance Centre and CRIS.

Much of the learning that has informed CRIS's GRACE model has grown from our involvement in a co-ordination role of growing the MFT partnership. Although the growth of locality-based collaborative education networks are all unique, our approach to Growing GRACE in Newtownabbey is informed and inspired by the journey undertaken with our MFT partners.

Having stepped back from a co-ordination role, CRIS now operates as a stategic community partner of MFT. To find out more about the patnership, you can visit the MFT website.

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