From the four Northern Irish schools that participated in the Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity project (the ‘Diversity project’), Woodside Integrated College 1 has been selected as the focus of this chapter because of the particular perspective it has to offer on our central theme. Woodside was established in 1992 as part of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) movement whose explicit intention was to encourage attitudinal change among young people and within society. This movement, by bringing together Catholics and Protestants in the same (non-denominational Christian) schools, aims at ‘the promotion of equality and good relations . . . to everyone in the school and to their families regardless of their religious, cultural or social background’ (NICIE 2008, 1) and at the empowerment of pupils as they grow and mature ‘to affect [ sic ] positive change in the shared society we live in’ (ibid., 2). 2 It is part of a broader international trend that sees education not just as a mirror of society but as an agent for positive change. This trend was evident in the landmark US Supreme Court decision ( Brown v Board of Education ) in which the educational system was legally identifi ed as the institution that could initiate social change – in this case in the transformation of race relations (Hayes, McAllister and Dowds 2007, 475). More recently, post 9/11, this trend was further evident in concerns for the promotion of interreligious understanding through education expressed in policy documents and guidance produced at European level, including the Toledo Guiding Principles , from the Offi ce of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR 2007), and the Council of Europe’s Signposts (Jackson 2014). There are also numerous smaller scale initiatives at a more local level, such as intercultural partnerships between schools of contrasting pupil populations. 3 These initiatives have been strongly infl uenced by the contact hypothesis as elaborated by Gordon Allport (1954) and others. One of the assumptions underlying the contact hypothesis is that confl ict arises from lack of information about the other group and lack of opportunities to obtain this information, in particular by meeting with ‘the other’. In schools, what children learn and whom they meet becomes important. Curriculum and contact are both included in the affi rmations of the NICIE that children and

young people have a right to an education that gives ‘opportunities for them to explore the diversity of the world in which they live’ and that ‘in an inherently segregated and contested society, children and young people can learn to respect difference more effectively when they are afforded the opportunity to have meaningful and sustained engagement with those who are different from themselves’ (NICIE 2008, 2).