Foyle Contested Spaces Programme

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Young people hold the key to unlock the problem of contested spaces

Junior Ministers Bell and Anderson today officially launched the Foyle Contested Spaces Education Programme at Lisnagelvin Primary School in Derry/Londonderry.

The Programme run though Queens University Belfast, involving five local primary schools and three post-primary schools, aims to provide a variety of shared education programmes and activities school children. Building on work begun under the Shared Education Programme (SEP), the Programme works to achieve further development and sustained collaboration between schools in the contested space of Derry/Londonderry increasing the frequency and opportunities of participants to move through the contested space.

Launching the Programme, Junior Minister Bell commented: “This Programme, made possible by the joint fund between OFMDFM and the Atlantic Philanthropies, is invaluable in tackling the sense of segregation and separateness that we see across the city, as well as in many other places across our society.

“The contacts made in the course of this Programme will, we all hope, not only lead to sustained collaboration between the schools in the Foyle contested space but will also leave a legacy characterised by lasting and constructive relationships between the young people.”

Junior Minister Anderson said: “It is the people within the local community, like those of you taking part in this Programme, who are showing themselves willing and capable of taking the necessary steps to reach out and engage across the divides that undoubtedly exist in our society.

“It is only when our young people have the opportunity to meet - that relationships built on trust, tolerance and mutual respect and understanding can form. Through these relationships come benefits for our young people, our city and for our community as a whole.”

 Contested Space

The Foyle Contested Space programme was officially launched on Wednesday 29th February at Lisnagelvin Primary School.

The Foyle Contested Space programme is a schools based initiative made up of 3 post-primary and 5 primary schools in Derry/Londonderry. The schools are Lisneal College, St. Cecilia's College, St. Mary's College, Ballougry Primary School, Ebrington Primary School, Lisnagelvin Primary School, Holy Child Primary School and St. John's Primary School.

The core aims of the programme involve offering sustained shared classes, focusing on a number of key areas which impact both on pupils and the community at large.  The eight schools are now sharing expertise, resources, space, pupils, energy and ideas. This is so significant because as a collaborative network we represent the city as a whole and demonstrate what can be achieved by working together.

These issues are addressed through a shared and collaborative approach in schools using the Personal Development and Mutual Understanding curriculum at Key Stage 2 and the Learning for Life and Work curriculum at Key Stage 3.  The pupils in all the schools come together on a weekly basis in their different uniforms and in each other’s schools learn about the very real issues that affect them and their community.  Pupils learn together about being safe online, the impact of social media, making informed choices, and adopting pro-social lifestyles. The contested space programme helps prepare our children and young people for life in a vibrant 21st Century City.