Historically, Northern Ireland pupils have attended religiously separate schools, however, a movement by parents in the early 1980s to educate them together resulted in integrated schools becoming part of the educational landscape. Some were new and planned (Grant Maintained Integrated (GMI)) and a second group on which this article focuses sought integrated status through a formal, distinctive process of transformation (Controlled Integrated (CI)). Interviews with Head Teachers in nine transformed schools (primary and post-primary) showed varied reasons for transforming; parents were mostly receptive but needed information and reassurance; and teachers’ reactions were largely positive, promoting the integrated ethos by addressing difference and meeting the needs of the minority group with concomitant benefits. Changes in leadership style were attributed to different management structures with Boards of Governors, teachers and parents being much more part of decision-making. There were numerous, varied challenges in the Head’s new role, although most could be met, and transformation remained a journey rather than a discrete, one-off change.
- Change management
- transformed integrated schools
- Head teachers