In the late 1970s, parents from different parts of the community approached the existing schools, controlled by the local education and Library Boards and asked them to consider changing their structures and ethos to become more welcoming to families of all religions. Frustrated by the lack of response, these parents decided to set up their own second level integrated college, Lagan College, which opened in a scout hall in 1981.
By 1988, eight integrated schools had been established, all initially funded by parents. In 1989 the Government, through the Education Reform Order provided legislation to encourage and facilitate the development of new integrated schools. Such schools no longer needed to be funded by parents; recurrent funding is given from day one to cover such expenses as salaries, equipment, books, running costs etc. Capital costs normally become available after the school proves its viability.