Tom Noble on his retirement as Principal of Erne Integrated College promised me he would serve on the Primary School’s Board of Governors and Tom fulfilled this promise.

He was an active Governor who brought his wisdom, experience and kindness to the table.

The job of Principal can be a lonely one and Tom was my great friend. On his retirement I missed him dreadfully to chat to, complain to, sound off to and most of all laugh with.

On returning to my governors, I had a governor who had the experience of being in an Integrated school and all that it entails, a governor who was there for the love of the children and a recognition of the importance of them being educated together.

He brought wisdom to sub-committee meetings and was the nominated governor with The Chair of Governors who attended Project Board Meetings in relation to our new build, but most of all I had my friend, who understood.

In addition he was The Chair of WACTIE - The Western Area Charitable Trust for Integrated Education - this committee was instrumental in supporting the establishment and growth of Integrated Education in Fermanagh. Tom was also an Associate with The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education - NICIE.

Even in retirement he supported other Integrated schools in Northern Ireland who needed him.

Tom was the epitome of Integrated Education. Therefore, our celebrations this week are tinged with immense sadness and heartache at the loss of our dear friend.

March is Integrated Education month – during this month all integrated schools in Northern Ireland focus on our school ethos and vision. We have an agreed focus each year. For 2019, the focus was ‘perspectives’ – to look beyond our own perspective and stop and look again.

Integrated Education in Northern Ireland contributes to equality, peace and reconciliation through encouraging young people to understand and acknowledge the perspectives of others which may differ from their own. We strive to do this all day every day in Enniskillen Integrated Primary not only with the children but with each other as a staff.

Enniskillen Integrated Primary is marking their 30 Year Anniversary in 2019 – we opened in September 1989 with 64 pupils – we now have an enrolment of 408, including our Nursery Unit and Playgroup.

We are the only Integrated Primary School in the whole of County Fermanagh and as such enrol children from across the county. As a staff we wanted to celebrate our 30 years whilst doing something special for integrated education month.

So as a staff we put it out to our wonderful children – who came up with the idea of making a ‘Lip Dub’ – we had made one many years ago and this time the children wanted to tell a story.

In 1998 at the time of the Belfast Agreement there were 11,910 children educated in 43 Integrated schools. As of 2017, Department of Education figures show 23,088 pupils in 65 Integrated schools.

Enniskillen Integrated in 1989 started in second hand mobiles with single entry - one class per year group.

In 2007 a brand new school was built under The Freshstart Agreement. We have been approved a school extension, building us the same as what we currently have but with a Sports Hall.

In 2014 the Department of Education approved double entry - two classes per year group as we could prove the number of children we had to refuse entry to each year.

For September 2019 we had 61 applications for 26 Nursery Unit places.

In 2011 ETi classified both the Primary and Nursery Unit as ‘Outstanding’ and this was verified again in 2014 and 2017 during Sustaining Improvement Inspections.

We hold The Green Flag for ECO Schools, accredited Anti-Bullying Ambassador School, accredited Diabetic Aware School and have achieved Model School Status in The PATHS Programme.

As part of the 30th Anniversary celebrations the Parents’ Council have planned an Anniversary Dinner in the Killyhevlin Hotel on May 10. We are opening the invitation to past pupils, parents and friends of the school to come and celebrate on this special night.

Representatives from both The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education and The Integrated Education Fund will be in attendance. If you would like to attend please contact the school office on 02866 326799 for more information or tickets.