Schools, communities and the police – shared education as a mechanism for social cohesion and community safety

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Abstract

The relationship between the police and communities can be difficult in
ethnically divided societies, especially if membership of the police force
is largely drawn from one community. This situation pertained in Northern
Ireland, which has separate schools for different religious communities.
Despite a major reform of the police after the signing of the Good
Friday Agreement (1998), the relationship between the police and the
Catholic minority remained difficult and, in particular, the police found
it difficult to engage with pupils in some Catholic schools. An education
initiative, called Shared Education, was launched in 2006 to support the
peace process by encouraging collaborative partnership between Protestant
and Catholic schools. This paper examines a school partnership in
Northern Ireland in which statutory and non-statutory organisations, including
the Police Service in Northern Ireland, were involved. The paper
examines how the relationship between the police and the schools was
enabled by the collaborative partnership: in particular, it allowed the police
to provide information and advice to parents on internet safety and
cyber-bullying to parents with whom it would otherwise have been very
difficult to engage
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-61
Number of pages24
JournalEducation and Society
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Education,
  • Police
  • Partnership
  • Shared education
  • divided societies

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