Religion, fertility and space.

Future demand across the school sectors (controlled, maintained and integrated) in Northern Ireland is a public policy issue that requires timely and accurate information. While the most recent currently available counts for the school population are derived from information collected at the Census 2001, a current understanding of differing fertility levels, and future school populations, by area of residence and community background would provide significant assistance to those determining planning for schools, and equality of access, in the longer term.

Using NILS data this study will (a) derive fertility rates by community background and area of residence for each of the years for which births are available; (b) provide estimates of the school population for NI, approximating demand across the various school sectors; and finally (c) using these data derive projections of this population from 2008 to 2011, with the option to extend these projections further.
This work is supported by officials in the Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DE) who will have input into the direction of the research and access to the findings. The work will initially provide spatial statistical information on this issue which can then lead to recommending a more detailed set of research questions in this area.


Publications and Outputs:
The DE co-investigator was responsible for the direction of the research in relation to public policy. Due to competing Departmental priorities, completion of the project became unfeasible and no final outputs were produced within the required timeframes.

Research Team: Fiona Johnston, Michael Rosato and Ivor Graham
Database: NILS
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): NISRA, Queen’s University Belfast and Department of Education Northern Ireland