EA Publishes Third Area Planning Action Plan

Monday, 17th June 2019

In April 2017 the Education Authority (EA) published Providing Pathways – A Strategic Area Plan for School Provision 2017-2020. The action plan published today, is the third plan within this strategy, identifying a number of work-streams that will be brought forward to address issues around school provision in Northern Ireland.

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The action plan was 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), the Catholic Schools’ Trustee Service and the Department for the Economy representing the Further Education sector.

The plan will be extended to March 2021, thereby extending the current strategy for an additional year.  This extension will ensure that all schools named in the plan will have a future pathway identified for them by March 2021.  It will also allow a robust evaluation of the current Strategic Area Plan ensuring effective engagement and collaboration with schools and stakeholders, in the preparation of the new Strategic Area Plan.

EA Interim Director of Education Kim Scott said:

“One of the challenges facing our education system is that we still have a number of 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.

“In many areas of Northern Ireland there are too many school places for the size of the population, while in other areas and sectors, there are not enough places. 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, closures, change of school management type, or sharing of resources.

“The area planning process brings all education bodies in Northern Ireland around the same table to seek solutions to the often complex challenges including changing demographics and multiple school sectors within specific areas. All local solutions will of course be subject to full consultation.

“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 plan is available to download at www.eani.org.uk/school-management/area-planning/annual-action-plans

Last updated: 17/06/2019