Integrated and Shared Education: Sinn Féin, the Democratic Unionist Party and educational change in Northern Ireland

Ulf Hansson, Stephen Roulston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


There is a considerable literature concerning divided societies and the role of education in such societies. In the case of Northern Ireland, education is characterised by a largely separate system of education for its two main communities. There is also a considerably smaller integrated schools sector, where the two communities learn together. A more recent intervention is that of shared education where separate schools are retained but shared classes and other opportunities for sharing are offered. Politically, there has never been extensive support for integrated education, particularly from the two largest parties in the Assembly and power-sharing Executive: The Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin. While not active proponents of integrated education the two parties have embraced shared education and with their own interpretation of its implementation. The introduction of shared education can be seen as a triumph as the two main parties in the coalition have agreed on a policy designed to bridge the gap in education. An alternative view is that shared education is the least-worst option for these two parties but may do little to advance reconciliation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-746
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number6
Early online date3 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 3 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Northern Ireland
  • segregated schools,
  • Shared Education,
  • Integrated education
  • DUP
  • power-sharing
  • DUP, Sinn Féin
  • segregated schools
  • integrated education
  • power sharing
  • shared education


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