Liam Neeson fronts new awareness campaign for integrated education featuring pupils from Hazelwood Integrated College, Cranmore Integrated Primary School and Lagan College

Holywood film star Liam Neeson is the voice of a major advertising campaign to raise awareness of integrated education in Northern Ireland.
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The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) is delighted the Ballymena-born actor is lending his support to the TV advertising campaign.

The commercial was filmed at Hazelwood Integrated College in Newtownabbey and Cranmore Integrated Primary School in Belfast and features pupils, parents and teachers from both schools as well as drama students from Lagan College, Belfast.

Participants in the ‘People Say’ advert describe integrated education as inspiring, incredible, inclusive, innovative and interesting.

Emma Hassard Communications Officer at the IEF at the TV advert shoot. Picture: Johnny FrazerEmma Hassard Communications Officer at the IEF at the TV advert shoot. Picture: Johnny Frazer
Emma Hassard Communications Officer at the IEF at the TV advert shoot. Picture: Johnny Frazer

All the scenes depicted are commonplace school scenarios and this realism carries through to the weather, which was particularly wet on the day that the primary school pupils were filming outside. The advert concludes with Neeson saying: “Gaining integrated status for a school comes about by consensus and intention, not accident. And every year across Northern Ireland more parents and schools are making that decision.”

Commenting on the campaign, he said:“I am delighted to have been able to be part of this exciting advert, helping to raise awareness of the tremendous positive impact that integrated education has on society in Northern Ireland today. I hope the campaign will help inform and encourage people to consider an integrated education for their children.”

The star is well known for his support for the Integrated Education Fund and once described its former campaign Chair, the late Baroness May Blood, as his hero.

The past few years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of schools exploring Transformation to Integrated status resulting in 21 positive parental ballots in favour of integrated status.

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The IEF said it wanted to thank and acknowledge the support of the schools and school communities for enabling this advert to come to fruition.

Paul Caskey, Head of Campaign at the IEF said: “The IEF are thrilled to launch this new campaign to help promote and share what integrated education is all about. This campaign would not have been possible without the support of our donors.

"Our hope is that any parent who views this advert, or sees the campaign, will think about sending their child to an Integrated school or registering for their child’s school to become integrated at integratemyschool.com