She was speaking in the wake of Bangor Academy’s governors balloting parents and guardians of its pupils on the proposal.
“I am delighted the governors have made this move,” said the North Down MLA.
“While this is only the first step in a process, it is a welcome one for what is already an open and diverse school. I agree wholeheartedly with the school principal that it would be an affirmation of Bangor Academy's current ethos and values, and I encourage all parents and guardians to engage with the ballot.
“Alliance has always championed integrated education and in the last Assembly mandate, worked hard to introduce the Integrated Education Act. The demand for integrated education far outstrips the current provision and if one of Northern Ireland’s largest schools was to transform to integrated status, it would be a resounding vote of confident for the sector.”
Fellow North Down Alliance MLA Andrew Muir said he was overjoyed with the news.
“Bangor Academy starting the journey towards integrated status is a positive, progressive step towards a future where all our children are educated together,” he said.
“This is a critical step for North Down and Northern Ireland, and I would like to commend the Principal Matthew Pitts and the governors for their visionary leadership.
“As one of Northern Ireland's largest schools, this sends out a strong message well beyond Bangor. Information sessions over the time ahead are an essential opportunity for parents and staff to engage with the process and find out more. There is still quite a work to be completed, but the school can be assured of support from Alliance.”