We know that during discussions about Transformation and the running of Integrated Schools there will be a number of new terms that you may not have heard before. We have included some of these below with an explanation as to what each one means.

The Department of Education’s primary statutory duty is to promote the education of the people of Northern Ireland and to ensure the effective implementation of education policy. The Department’s main statutory areas of responsibility are 0-4 provision, primary, post-primary and special education and the youth service.

The Department is accountable through its Minister to the Assembly for the effective delivery of its statutory functions and for the effective use of the public funds for which it is responsible. It is supported in delivering its functions by a range of Arm's Length Bodies, each of which is accountable to the Department.

EA is responsible for ensuring that efficient and effective primary and secondary education services are available to meet the needs of children and young people, and support for the provision of efficient and effective youth services.

They help with all aspects of your child's journey through education from admission to pre-school, getting transport to school, changing schools, to moving through primary and post-primary. They are also here to help with newcomer issues, special educational needs and provide support whenever you or your child needs it.

EA is the management authroity for Controlled schools, including Controlled Integrated schools.


The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) is the advocate and management authority for the Catholic Maintained schools sector in Northern Ireland, supporting the management of these through Boards of Governors.
NICIE was established in 1987 and supports parents who want Integrated Education for their children, supports schools that want to transform to integrated status and advise existing Integrated Schools who wish to increase their enrolments. NICIE also works with parent groups who wish to see integrated provision in their area. Although set up as a charitable organisation, NICIE was re-designated as a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) in February 2012. With funding from the DE, NICIE promotes the strategic development of Integrated schools and provides advice and guidance to all Integrated schools, both Controlled and grant maintained.

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) was established in 1992 with money from European Union Structural Funds, the Department of Education NI, the Nuffield Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, as a financial foundation for the development and growth of integrated education.

The IEF supports the establishment of new schools, the growth of existing schools and those schools seeking to become integrated through the transformation process. Through its Parental Engagement Campaign and Advocacy work, the IEF also aims raise awareness of integrated education and to grow the number of integrated schools across Northern Ireland to meet parental demand.

Controlled schools are managed and funded by the Education Authority (EA) through Boards of Governors (BoG). Primary and post-primary school BoGs consist of representatives of transferors - mainly the Protestant churches - along with representatives of parents, teachers and the EA. EA is the management authority of Controlled Schools and responsible for the employment of teachers. Schools that transform to integrated status can choose to become a Controlled Integrated school with EA as the management authority or a Grant Maintained school which is managed by its Board of Governors (see below).

The Controlled Schools Support Council supports and represents the interests of Controlled schools in providing high quality education for children and young people to enable them to learn, develop and grow together, within the ethos of non-denominational Christian values and principles.

The School Development Plan (SDP) is a strategic plan for improvement. It should bring together, in a clear and simple way, the school priorities, the main measures it will take to raise standards, the resources dedicated to these, and the key outcomes and targets it intends to achieve.

The ‘Every School a Good School' policy emphasises that school improvement is first and foremost the responsibility of the school. It is based on the premise that schools themselves are best placed to identify areas for improvement and to implement changes that bring about better outcomes for pupils.

You can find out more about School Development Plans here:

Voluntary (Grammar) schools were originally established to be self-governing and to provide an academic education at post-primary level on a fee-paying basis. However, they are now funded by the DE and managed by Boards of Governors. The BoGs are constituted in accordance with each school's scheme of management - usually including representatives of foundation governors, parents, teachers and, in most cases, DE or EA representatives.

The BoGs is the employing authority and is responsible for the employment of all staff in its school. The Governing Bodies Association is funded by DE to provide support and advice to Voluntary (Grammar) schools on area planning.

Maintained schools are managed by their Boards of Governors who are also responsible for employment of school staff. The Maintained schools are funded through the Education Authority for their running costs and directly by the Department in relation to capital building works.

Catholic Maintained schools are managed by BoGs nominated by trustees - mainly Roman Catholic - along with parents, teachers and EA representatives. The management authority for Catholic Maintained schools is the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and the Catholic Schools Trustee Service is funded by DE to provide support and advice to trustees on area planning.

Grant Maintained Integrated schools are self-governing schools with integrated education status, funded directly by the Department of Education and managed by Boards of Governors. The BoG is the employing authority and responsible for employing staff. Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) is funded by DE to promote the strategic development of Integrated schools and provide advice and guidance to all Integrated schools, both Controlled and grant maintained.

Other Maintained schools are typically, but not exclusively, Irish-Medium schools. Irish-Medium education is education provided in an Irish speaking school or unit. Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG) was established by DE and its remit is to promote, assist and encourage Irish-Medium education.

Independent Schools are schools provide full-time education for pupils aged from 4 to 16. Unlike the other school types, Independent schools are not grant-aided, are funded by fees paid by parents and income from investments and set their own curriculum and admissions policies. Each Independent school must however be registered with the DE and is inspected regularly by ETI.

Special schools are controlled, maintained or voluntary schools that are specially organised to provide education for pupils with special needs and is recognised by the DE as a special school. Pupils are placed in Special Schools by the Education Authority according to their assessed need.

Area Planning is the process of strategic planning of primary and post primary education provision that supports the implementation of the Department's Sustainable Schools Policy which aims to ensure that all pupils have access to a broad and balanced curriculum that meets their educational needs and in a sustainable school.

Transformation is the name given to the legal process whereby a school becomes an integrated school. Any school can become integrated, except special schools and hospital schools, subject to sufficient support from parents and the approval from the Minister of Education.

Education Other Than at School (EOTAS) includes all forms of education that takes place outside the formal school environment.  

The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) is a ‘unitary’ inspectorate and part of the Department of Education (DE), providing independent inspection services and policy advice for DE.

CCEA is a unique educational body in the UK, bringing together the three areas of curriculum, examinations and assessment.

It advises the government on what should be taught in Northern Ireland’s schools and colleges, monitors standards to ensure that the qualifications and examinations offered by awarding bodies in Northern Ireland are of an appropriate quality and standard and also awards qualifications, such as GCSEs, GCE A and AS levels, Entry Level Qualifications and Vocational Qualifications.

CIVICA, formerly Electoral Reform Services (ERS), is the UK’s leading independent provider of end-to-end ballot, election and voting services.

If a school would like to become integrated, or if parents of more than 20% of pupils request this, its Board of Governors will instruct CIVICA to carry out a ballot among all the parents in the school to confirm if they are supportive of the school transforming to integrated status.