The Education Authority (EA) has set out its commitment to meaningful engagement with stakeholders and the public as it develops its first ever Strategic Plan.
Since its establishment in April 2015, EA has been engaged in a transition process focused on bringing together the structures of the five Education and Library Boards to create a single organisation.
EA is now preparing to commence a wide-ranging consultation exercise which will help shape the strategic direction of the organisation over the next decade.
Launching the development phase of the new Strategic Plan 2017-2027, EA Chairperson Sharon O’Connor promised that the Authority would be innovative and forward-looking.
“In establishing the Education Authority, our primary aim was to ensure the transition from the former ELBs was as smooth as possible and that vital services to schools and youth centres continued to be delivered unaffected.
“Our focus now turns to transformation and the Board is committed to building an organisation that has a truly regional focus and delivers excellent education services for all.
“Central to this is the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan which can deliver positive outcomes for children and young people across Northern Ireland whilst also providing a framework for excellence in everything we do.
“Our work impacts upon the lives of thousands of young people and their families every day. Their views and the views of a range of key stakeholder groups will be central to developing this plan from the earliest stages.
“Consultation will begin shortly and we are keen to have the widest possible input so I would encourage everyone with an interest in the education sector to take the opportunity to contribute their valuable views.
“The difficult financial situation continues to present significant challenges for the Education Authority as demand for our services continues to grow at a time when budgets are reducing.
“We can no longer continue to provide all of the same services in the same ways. As a result, difficult decisions and choices will have to be made and our Strategic Plan must focus on transforming services in a way which delivers and underpins a strong, resilient and world-class education system in Northern Ireland.”
The Strategic Plan will set out what EA will do in its first decade of operation to achieve key goals and deliver consistently high-quality services to customers across the entire region.
The EA plan will be rooted in the wider context of the NI Executive’s new Programme for Government, recognising the need to work across boundaries, organisations, groups and communities for the common good.
“In all our activities, the Authority will endeavour to support the PfG in improving educational outcomes, reducing inequality and improving the quality of education and skills profile of the population,” said Ms O’Connor.