Community Relations In Schools has been growing for thirty years with our mile stone birthday arriving in November 2012. Our journey started in 1982 when we were established as a direct response to the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland and the impact it was having on the education community. Then, it was our mission to support and provide opportunities for pupil engagement on cross community trips, EMU (Education for Mutual Understanding) programmes and SCRP (Schools Community Relations Programme) Over the years we moved from being a supporting agent to one of change; working directly with pupils on issues and themes of Community Relations such as; identity, diversity, conflict, prejudice, stereotyping, flags and emblems, community understanding and confidence.
Over subsequent years CRIS’ work has expanded beyond the classroom to include the wider education community and a whole school approach. Our portfolio of work now includes:
- Foundation to Key Stage 4 curriculum linked Community Relations syllabuses, resources and programmes.
- Foundation to Key Stage 4 curriculum linked Community Relations teacher training programmes.
- Teacher training programmes and resources on “Flags, Emblems and Contentious Issues”.
- Accredited Post Primary programmes in civic leadership, Change-Making and community relations
- Community and Good Relations Policy Development.
- Student teacher training and placement programme.
- Models of practice and programmes for Whole School Community Approaches.
- Models of practice and programmes for parent and pupil engagement.
- Bespoke Community Relations and Personal Development programmes for schools, youth clubs and the wider community.
At present, CRIS works in the following areas;
- Consultancy, training and resource provision for schools, community and statutory agencies throughout Northern Ireland.
- Whole School Community Approaches and parent and pupil engagement in a number of partner schools across Northern Ireland
- Joint partner in IFI “Sharing in Education Programme” funded project with NICE and YMCA focussing on post primary civic leadership.
- Service provider of an OFMDFM/ Atlantic Philanthropies Contested Space Programme in North Belfast focussing on parent and pupil engagement.
- Service provider of Belfast City Council funded Ending Hate and Unity programmes.
- Service provider of bespoke Community Relations pupil programmes to the primary and post-primary sectors across Northern Ireland.
CRIS is managed through a constituted Board consisting of experts and activists from the Education and Community sectors. We currently employ five staff, two consultants and a number of associates and facilitators.