Education

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 12th March 2013.

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Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin 2:15 pm, 12th March 2013

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Chomhalta as a cheist.  I outlined the next steps in the area-planning process in my statement last month.  The boards have now published their post-primary plans and the consultation responses on their websites.  I require further work to be done to the plans.  I have asked the boards, my Department, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and the integrated and Irish-medium sectors to join a steering group to focus on how we bring forward plans that are sustainable and viable going into the future. 

However, there has also been a lot of work done on area-planning, and the recent announcements that I made on school builds all flow from area-planning work.  It is beginning to shape our education estate, and it is beginning to inform the education debate.  There is continuing work to be done, and, in fact, that work will continue over a number of different iterations of the area plans, because demographics, profiles, etc, may change.  Area planning will be a feature of education for many years.