In April last year, Education Authority (EA) published Providing Pathways – A Strategic Area Plan for School Provision 2017-2020. The 2018-19 action plan, published today, is the second of three accompanying annual plans which identify the schemes to be brought forward over the next 12 months.
The plan has been produced in partnership with the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG), the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE), the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC), Governing Bodies Association (GBA), and the Catholic Schools’ Trustee Service.
The purpose of area planning is to ensure that children, no matter where they live or what school sector they choose, have access to high quality education that is delivered in schools that are educationally and financially sustainable.
“The challenge that faces education in relation to area planning is that we have many schools that are too small to adequately provide pupils with access to a broad and balanced curriculum, extensive extracurricular activities and high-quality pastoral care,” said EA Director of Education John Collings.
“In many areas of Northern Ireland there are too many school places for the size of the population, while in other areas, there are not enough places. It may also be the case that there are not enough school places of the right type – perhaps demand for integrated or Irish medium education isn’t being met in a particular area.
“Area planning seeks solutions to these issues to ensure all pupils have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Some areas may have relatively simple solutions such as increasing the enrolment number of a school, while other areas may require amalgamations, change of school management type, or sharing of resources. All local solutions will of course be subject to full consultation.”
The plan is available to download here.