One in two at schools where 95% are of same faith
Almost half of Northern Ireland’s schoolchildren are being taught in schools where 95 per cent or more of the pupils are of the same religion.
Some 180 schools in the last academic year had no Protestant pupils on their rolls and another 111 schools taught no Catholic children.
Belfast investigative journalism website The Detail used Freedom of Information legislation to request a breakdown of the religion of pupils attending every school in Northern Ireland during the 2011/2012 academic year.
The data for 1,070 schools shows 51 per cent of schoolchildren were Catholic, 37 per cent Protestant and 12 per cent “other”.
Similar data was also requested for the 1997/1998 school year to compare pupil integration since the Belfast Agreement was signed.
The number of schools has reduced from 1,183 to 1,070.
Integrated school pupil numbers have increased from 8,154 to 21,170 since 1997/1998.
The Integrated Education Fund, which supports the growth of integrated school places, said that the political handling of the core social issues of division and segregation in Northern Ireland had involved “abandoned pledges and broken promises”.
However, Minister for Education John O’Dowd said that he had no power to direct anyone as to which school they should attend and that funding was available for schools to ensure pupils could take part in “meaningful engagement with those perceived to be different”.