The purpose of this paper is to compare the approach to promoting positive relationships between Catholics and Protestants in two types of integrated primary school in Northern Ireland. Drawing on qualitative interviews with teachers, governors and parents in one transforming school and one grant maintained integrated school, i.e. one representative of each of the two types, the paper shows that whilst there are distinctions in the ways that the schools promote their image and ethos, the ‘lived reality’ of the schools, as reported by the research participants, is almost indistinguishable. The paper suggests that both schools tend not to refer to or explore cultural difference and that this tendency to ‘minimise difference’ seems to have the potential to silence school members who do wish to explore their own and other cultures. It is argued that such practices are likely to impede rather than facilitate the progress of good inter-community relations.
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