Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:40 UK
The schools system in Northern Ireland



TYPES OF SCHOOLS IN THE STATE SECTOR

Pre-school education

Nursery
The government wants all nursery-age children to have a place in pre-school

Nursery education is provided in nursery schools and in nursery classes attached to primary schools. Northern Ireland has received extra money from the European Union Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation to increase pre-school education. Eventually the government wants all nursery-age children in Northern Ireland to have a place in a pre-school.

Primary education

Pupils are assessed at key stages 1 and 2 (ages eight and 11).

Secondary education

Admissions to secondary schools are controlled by the individual schools, which have their own criteria. The minister for education has published a list of criteria which over-subscribed schools can use to select pupils, but this is advisory and schools do not have to abide by them, they simply have to show that they have taken note of them. Although most boards run selective school entry, the Southern Education and Library Board provides a comprehensive two-tier non-selective system for secondary entry at 11 and 14 years of age.

Controlled

Controlled schools are owned and funded by the Education and Library Boards although boards of governors are increasingly taking control.

The education board employs teaching and non-teaching staff but here too they are relinquishing responsibility to governors. The role of the board is to plan provisions for schools, employ teachers and meet recurrent costs. These are mainly attended by Protestant pupils and the church is represented on the board of governors.

Catholic Maintained

These schools are owned by the Catholic church through a system of trustees. They are managed by a board of governors. Regular costs are met by the Education and Library Boards and they are responsible for employing non-teaching staff. Teachers are employed by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools. But it is planned that the Education and Skills Authority will be the future employer for all school staff.

Other Maintained

These are owned by the Protestant church through a system of trustees and they are managed by a board of governors. Regular costs are met by the Education and Library Board who also employ the non-teaching staff.

Voluntary Grammar

These are owned by the school trustees and are managed by a board of governors, who employ all the staff. Regular costs are funded by the Department of Education.

Grant Maintained Integrated

These are usually partially owned by trustees and managed by a board of governors who employ all staff. Regular costs are met by the Department of Education.

Special Needs

Under the 1986 Education and Libraries (NI) Order, Education and Library Boards have to provide education for pupils with special educational needs up to the age of 19. They can be taught in mainstream primary and secondary schools but there are also separate special units for some students.



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