Background to the SEC programme
On 1st July 2014, the Minister for Education announced a new Shared Education Campuses Programme which will invest in innovative projects involving the need for new shared facilities. The Programme was announced by the Minister as part of the ‘Together Building a United Community’ initiative announced by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in May 2013.
The Limavady Shared Education Campus Project was selected as part of the first call to the Shared Education Campus Programme in 2015 and announced as a project to receive funding from the Fresh Start Programme in March 2016. The project represents an investment of over £11 million by the Department of Education across the St. Mary’s and Limavady High School sites. The new campus, which is now complete, provides school staff and students with access to state-of-art facilities (for example, a new high-tech building for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students).
The schools involved
The Shared Education project comprise two schools – Limavady High School and St Mary’s High School. Both schools cater for students aged 11 to 18 and are non-selective in terms of their admissions. Limavady High School had a student enrolment of 832 in 2022/23 and operates in the controlled sector whilst St Mary’s had a student enrolment of 585 in 2022/23 and operates in the maintained sector.
Both schools have a long and established history of sharing since the early 1970’s and are one of the longest established and most effective learning communities in Northern Ireland. Both schools have agreed to “break down barriers between educational providers, rationalise provision and utilise resources in a manner that demonstrates best value for money” (Roe Valley Learning Community Strategic Plan)
To understand more about the Limavady Shared Education Campus, why not take a look at the following video:
Background and aims of the evaluation
The National Children’s Bureau alongside its partners, Queen’s University Belfast and SJC Consultancy, have been commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the Limavady Shared Education Campus. This large-scale five-year longitudinal evaluation of the Limavady Shared Education project will help to build a picture of how the campus has impacted on children, young people, families and the wider community.
The evaluation adopts an Outcome Based Accountability (OBA) approach and will embed outcomes thinking in the evaluation from the outset of the project. Through the evaluation we will gather data to understand how the new campus and the new ways of working have contributed to:
- Embedding partnership working;
- Delivering educational benefits helped to improve educational outcomes;
- Delivered benefits for the wider Limavady community;
- Supported school staff to share professional practice and improve teaching & learning quality; and
- Equipped schools with the skills and know-how to embed OBA and to show their impact.
Meet the team
National Children's Bureau staff
Frances Lyons, Head of Research and Evidence, Lead Advisor and Project Director
Dr Claire Dorris, Senior Research Manager, BU Lead Advisor
Dr Richard Nugent, Senior Researcher, Project Manager - Fieldwork management and OBA lead
Teresa Geraghty, Senior Researcher, Core Team Member - qualitative fieldwork and OBA expertise
Ashlin Maguire, Project Assistant, Admin and Stakeholder Engagement
Queen's University Belfast staff
Professor Tony Gallagher, Expert Advisor on Shared Education, Quantitative Evaluation Lead
Professor Joanne Hughes, Director of the Centre for Shared Education at Queen's University Belfast, Evaluation fieldwork and analysis
Dr Gavin Duffy, Lecturer of Social Science, Education and Social Work, Evaluation fieldwork and analysis
Dr Rebecca Loader, Research Fellow at School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Evaluation fieldwork and analysis
Gareth Robinson, Research Fellow at Queen’s Communities and Place (QCAP), Evaluation fieldwork and analysis
Sarah McCarthy, Expert Advisor, Expert Advisor on Shared Education
What is happening as part of the evaluation?
Over the coming months members of the evaluation team will commence undertaking this evaluation. We firstly need to equip teaching staff, parents/carers, children and young people and members of the wider community with understanding of Outcomes Based Accountability and how it can be used to measure the impact of the Limavady Shared Education campus.
We’re then going to set up an OBA champions network to help drive forward our approach to measuring the impact of the Shared Education campus. We’ll also be engaging directly young people, parents, school principals and other school staff, governors and members of the wider community via a range of research activities including focus groups and surveys.
Who can I contact if I want to know more about the evaluation?
You can contact the project manager directly: Dr Richard Nugent (email: [email protected])
This website page will be updated as the evaluation progresses and will be used to share the evaluation findings as they emerge.