The scrapping of Northern Ireland's education bodies, including the five boards, has been postponed for a year by the Stormont executive.
Caitriona Ruane said the changes would reduce bureaucracy
The move follows complaints that changes were being rushed in.
Changes under the Review of Public Administration were due to take place in April 2008.
Politicians and trade unions complained that the timescale had been set by direct rule ministers and was not achievable.
BBC Northern Ireland education correspondent Maggie Taggart said plans for a new Education and Skills Authority were at an advanced stage but would now be put on hold.
"The Education Minister Caitriona Ruane has agreed a new timetable," she said.
"The minister says the changes will reduce bureaucracy and redirect resources into the classroom."
A small team, including a chief executive designate, had been working on the changes and the next tier of management was due to be recruited in the autumn.
They were also going to trawl staff to see who might be willing to take redundancy deals.
The current managers said that although work was due to start in April, it would be five years before all the changes were in place.
A new headquarters will have to be found, but so far there has been no decision on where it should be located.
It is expected that many politicians will press for the headquarters to be situated in their local area.