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Latest Developments

Education Act 2014 becomes law

The Education Bill 2014 received Royal Assent on 11 December 2014. A single Education Authority will now be created to replace the five Education and Library Boards and the Staff Commission from April 2015.

September 2014 - Executive agreement to commence legislation to replace the existing 5 Education and Library Boards (ELBS) with a single body

The Executive has agreed that legislation should be brought forward to create a single body. The Education Minister issued communication to ELBs and a press release on the future of Education Administration, copies of these can be found below

Press Release Single Education Board Agreement

Ministerial correspondence English version

Ministerial correspondence Irish version

June 2013 - Equality screening of the Education Bill

Equality screening of the Education Bill has been completed. This is set out in the document below. The document consists of two parts; an overview of the process to date and a brief summary of the nine individual screening exercises which were undertaken. The second part (appendix to the summary document) contains nine separate equality screenings which cover the key elements of the Education Bill.

Equality screening of the Education Bill (PDF- 2.11MB)

Education Bill update

The Education Committee completed its scrutiny stage of the Bill on 8 April 2013 with the publication of its report on the Bill. The Committee report is available to read on the NI Assembly website

The Committee had received evidence from a wide range of stakeholders before considering and debating the Bill on a clause by clause and schedule by schedule basis. The Committee have also proposed several amendments to the Bill which are included in the report.

The Bill will now move through further stages, the main ones are outlined below,

  • Consideration stage- the Bill will be debated by the whole Assembly. MLAs vote on each clause, schedule and proposed amendment to the Bill. The Assembly will sit until the Bill has been thoroughly considered and all amendments decided on.
  • Final Stage- Members debate and vote on whether to pass the Bill
  • Royal Assent- the Bill becomes law

Please keep checking the website for up to date information on the legislative process as it progresses through these different stages.

15 October 2012 - Education Committee stage of the Education Bill

At its meeting on 14 November the Education Committee agreed to put forward a motion to extend the Committee stage of the Bill until 8 April. This motion was approved by the Assembly.

The Committee started receiving evidence from stakeholders at its meeting on 21 November 2012, and will continue to take evidence until January 2013.

It will then carry out a detailed scrutiny of the Bill on a clause by clause basis before providing a report on its findings to the Assembly for consideration.

2 October 2012 - Education Bill Completes Second Reading

Following a debate in the Assembly on 15 October, the Education Bill passed the second stage in the legislative process with 77 votes to 15.

Opening the debate, the Education Minister said, “The Bill sets out the overall aim of education: to contribute to the spiritual, cultural, social, intellectual and physical development of children and young people, and of the community at large.”

The Bill will now progress to the Committee Stage.

NI Assembly official report

September 2012 - Education Bill introduced to Assembly

The reform of education administration took another step forward today with the introduction of the Education Bill to the Assembly. The Education Bill will see eight education bodies replaced by the Education and Skills Authority next year.

Speaking today, Education Minister John O'Dowd said, "Today is a significant day in our journey to modernise the administration of education. The Education Bill, which began its passage through the Assembly today, will see  the replacement of a 40 year old model of administration with one that better meets the needs of the 21st Century."

Minister's Statement 02 October 2012

August 2012 - Executive agrees establishment of ESA

At its meeting on Thursday 20 September 2012, the Executive agreed the Education Bill which will see the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority.

Speaking after the meeting, Education Minister John O’Dowd said, “Today we have taken a significant step forward in the strategic planning and delivery of our education system; a system which will deliver educational excellence for all and will meet the needs and aspirations of our young people, helping them fulfil their potential and enhancing their life chances.”

The Education Bill will shortly be introduced to the Assembly where it will begin its legislative passage.

Statement from First and Deputy Firsty Ministers 18 July 2012

On 18 July 2012, the First and Deputy First Ministers confirmed that discussions in relation to the ESA Bill had successfully concluded. The Bill will be brought to the next meeting of the Executive in order to commence its legislative passage in the Assembly.

Full Statement by the First Minister and deputy First Minister (NI Executive website)

ESA Planning

The Department of Education’s ESA Implementation Team (ESAIT) is currently reviewing the project plans for ESA to ensure that they are up to date and remain valid in the context of the new timescale and the ‘Heads of Agreement’ outlined by the First and Deputy First Ministers in November 2011.

Following the introduction of the legislation, ESAIT will be working closely with the education sector organisations to fully implement the reform programme and ensure that ESA is established in 2013.