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DePauw University

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Ireland: Transformation of Social and Political Conflict


This report is the outcome of a month-long exploratory study on student voice in the integrated educational sector in Northern Ireland, particularly through an examination of student leadership initiatives and the advisors of such programs. Data was obtained by way of qualitative methods using semi-formal interviews and written responses to open-ended questions on the topic. Although the work is hardly comprehensive, it is can be inferred from the research – as it is situated within the framework of scholarly literature – that student leaders in the integrated school setting are given definite opportunities to express their voice, despite the presence of some limitations. Advisors for student leadership programs generally work to promote student voice and consider the skills learned by their pupils to be important for future political participation in the larger Northern Irish society. The agency of advisors in the school setting also impacts student empowerment in the integrated schools. More research is definitely needed to expand my conclusions. Considering student perspectives would be important. An examination of student voice cannot be considered complete without the perspective of pupils. Moreover, I did not seek to evaluate different integrated schools in Northern Ireland. Schools may benefit from intensive case study designed to constructively critique their student leadership programming and the ability of advisors to promote student voice in the integrated school.


Educational Sociology | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change