HL Deb 23 June 2004 vol 662 c124WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they expect that parental demands for integrated education in Northern Ireland will be met at a time when numbers of secondary pupils are declining. [HL3226]

Baroness Amos

The Government take seriously their duty to encourage and facilitate integrated education and respond to parental demand for integrated education where this does not involve unreasonable public expenditure. The numbers of post-primary pupils are declining and this is impacting on many schools across Northern Ireland. The viability criteria for the establishment of a new post-primary integrated school includes the requirement that a school must achieve a minimum year-eight intake of 50 pupils to be approved for receipt of recurrent grant, and to demonstrate its long-term viability before capital grant is made available. Procedures are also in place for transforming existing schools to integrated status.