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Roisin Theresa Marshall, OBE

Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), Roisin Marshall was awarded an OBE by the Princess Royal for services to Education and to Community Reconciliation in Northern Ireland on the 11 October 2023 at Windsor Castle. 

Roisin spent 12 years working as a teacher in both St. Mary’s on the Hill Primary School, Carnmoney where she promoted classroom initiatives to bring pupils together with students at the nearby Controlled Primary School attended by children from a mainly Protestant background, and St. Colm’s High School, Twinbrook. 

She joined the Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) in 2002, following her struggle to get her son into an Integrated school four years after the signing of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. There she began working with parents’ groups to help them establish new Integrated schools and Transform existing schools to Integrated status. The Agreement had declared Integrated Education to be an essential aspect of reconciliation and its 25th anniversary was marked in April 2023.

Roisin was a governor of Oakwood Integrated Primary School and Malone Integrated College for 8 years in total, schools that both of her children attended at primary level and her son at post primary level. 

In 2007-2012, after her first five years at NICIE, she was seconded to the North Eastern Education and Library Board to support greater integration through primary school partnerships. She established a network of 28 rural primary schools from different sectors to work together, improve outcomes for children and young people and bridge divides amongst the staff, governors and parents in schools.

She returned to teaching from 2012 in Fleming Fulton Special School using her Masters in Special Education and experience from both volunteering and paid employment during summer breaks in Ruby House, Newcastle, Co Down, for 13 years, which offered respite care for people living with disabilities and their families. She had also been a volunteer for 20 years with her local Junior Gateway Club, a charity which had supported her younger sister who was born with Downs Syndrome and Autism.

Roisin re-joined NICIE in 2016 as its CEO.  The number of students attending Integrated schools in Northern Ireland has increased to over 27,400 and the number of Integrated schools has increased to 71. She supported the Integrated Education Bill and subsequently the Act (NI) 2022, which reformed NI’s education legislation and established a duty to not only ‘encourage and facilitate’ but also to support Integrated Education, almost a century after Lord Londonderry’s proposed Education Act that would have resulted in children from both main traditions in NI being educated together.

As a child, in 1978 and 1979, Roisin travelled to Wisconsin, in America with a group of Catholic and Protestant young people and went on to volunteer from 1990 to 2006 with the Children’s Program of Northern Ireland (CPNI) which involved over 3,000 children, over 35 years, from both sides of the divide spending a summer in Minnesota and Wisconsin highlighting Northern Ireland’s story at the height of the troubles.  Roisin feels indebted to this programme and believes that CPNI which was the first of its kind in the US deserves to be recognised and its story told.

More recently, she has made representations in the Oireachtas on the importance of Integrated Education to fulfil the vision set out by the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and continues to share her expertise with a wide range of global human rights and educational charities. She is a member of the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland’s oldest reconciliation organisation.

Roisin stated,

‘I have had the opportunity to contribute to the education of children and young people in primary, post primary and special education throughout my career.  I feel especially privileged to have led the Council for Integrated Education over the past 7 years.  This award is in recognition of all those involved with Integrated Education especially during the passing of the Integrated Education Bill leading to the Integrated Education Act (NI) 2022.  I look forward to the further development of Integrated Education over the coming decades.  We will find ways to ensure that parents who want an Integrated Education for their child or young person can express this desire so that more parents in the future will have a realistic Integrated optional pathway from pre-school right through to post primary school. This will support the aspiration of many for a more shared society.’

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Council For Integrated Education

NI Council for Integrated Education
1st Floor, James House
2-4 Cromac Avenue

T: 02896 944 200


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