Seaview Enterprises

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Statement : Shared Education bid rejected

A detailed Expression of Interest for a Shared Sports Educational Campus supported by 13 schools (as well as 3 tertiary level educational interests) was submitted to the Department of Education’s Shared Campus programme fund.

There is very limited formal shared education between schools in North Belfast, for reasons we all know too well. For that reason, Seaview Enterprises Ltd (which promotes structured shared educational opportunities for more than 40 schools) was in a good position to draw an interested consortia together – and kick-start difficult work between schools in Northern Ireland’s most communally segregated constituency.

The bid failed, with 3 of the 16 submitted bids being successful – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-28105101

The main stumbling block to the bid’s success was that it did not receive the endorsement of the Belfast Education and Library Board. The Board declined to meet with us to discuss why, declined to indicate what its assessment process was or, indeed, whether there was an assessment process! We know that BELB Board members were not involved in the decision making. And, as senior Board officials advised us directly, that no assessment of bids would occur (that BELB would simply act as a “postbox” for the Department of Education) in short, we have reason to believe that we were badly misled. This is very disappointing for the schools involved, who – we believe – have been short-changed by a lack of transparency.

Although it is open to us to receive detailed feedback and to resubmit the bid in the Autumn, the position adopted by the Belfast Education and Library Board presents a near insurmountable obstacle to doing so. We can only await the proposals of the Belfast Education and Library Board for its own proposals to enhance greater shared education in the North of the city. We suspect that we may be waiting for some time.

Seaview Enterprises would like to thank all the schools involved for their support and encouragement, as well as the tertiary level education and training institutions who added their support, and wider community support engagement with the project.

Mark Langhammer

On behalf of the Board of Seaview Enterprises Ltd

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