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Primary Area Plans - FAQs

On 19 March 2013 the Education and Library Boards (ELBs) released their draft primary area plans for consultation, with an extended consultation period open until the end of June 2013. The ELBs will manage a public consultation exercise which will offer parents, school staff, unions and the wider public an opportunity to help reshape our schools for the future.  

For further information on what you need to do, please refer to the list of questions and answers below.

Where do I find the area plans?

There are five area plans in total, published by the five Education and Library Boards. These are available on the Boards’ websites (links below) or on request from your Board.

Belfast ELB:

Western ELB:

North Eastern ELB:

South Eastern ELB:

Southern ELB:

How do I send my reply?

You are encouraged to submit your response to the consultation using the online facility available on This will allow you to reply to any of the ELBs’ plans.

You may also reply in writing to your ELB. Replies should not be sent to the Department. Any which are sent will be forwarded to the ELB(s) concerned.

When does the consultation start and finish?

The public consultation period runs from 19 March 2013 to 30 June 2013.

This extended public consultation will allow for wide-ranging discussion at local level.

What happens next?

After the consultation period has ended the ELBs will consider all the replies they have received and will make any amendments they feel are necessary as a result of what they have been told. When the plans are finalised, they will be sent to the Department of Education for its consideration. Following this, the Minister will decide on the way forward.

Area planning on this scale is a continuing process rather than a one-off event. The current plans are ‘living documents’ that will be amended, enhanced and refined over time to adjust to changing needs and circumstances.

Are the proposals in the plan final?

If a significant change to a school is proposed, such as closure or amalgamation, the statutory Development Proposal process must be followed. Further information at Development Proposals