A Development Proposal (DP) is required under Article 14 of the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986 before any significant change can be made to a school.

Development Proposals

Development Proposals (DPs) are the statutory means by which proposed changes of significance to education provision can be effected. The changes proposed must align with the current Area Plan and Annual Action Plan for education provision.  The Department has published detailed guidance describing the process (Replacement for Circular DE 2014/21).

Circular 2017/09 - Guidance on the publication of a Development Proposal (updated September 2018)

The guidance has been amended as follows -

  • Section 7.2 iv and v clarifies the position in relation to the role of NICIE and CnaG as support for proposers rather than being a proposer;
  • Section 9.7 added on the withdrawal of a published proposal;
  • Annex B Case for Change - proposer's declaration amended to include reference to the Rural Needs Act (2016); and
  • Annex C also amended to include reference to the Rural Needs Act (2016). 

Site and Accommodation Requirements to implement a Development Proposal

Accommodation requirements are an important consideration when Development Proposals are being assessed by the Department.  Timely submission of information aids the consideration of the DP and allows the Department’s Investment and Infrastructure Directorate to engage with the proposer at an early stage to discuss “day one” implementation requirements.

The Site and Accommodation Requirements form should be completed and submitted to the Education Authority along with the Development Proposal and the supporting Case for Change.

If you have any queries regarding completion of the form please contact the Estate Operations Team on 028 91 279519.

The Education Authority (EA) publishes all DPs and is required by legislation to publish a DP advertisement in one or more newspapers circulating in the area affected by the proposal. Once published the Department will list details of the proposal on its website.  All DPs are subject to a two month statutory objection period effective from the date of publication of the DP advertisement.  During this period the Department will take receipt of objections to the proposal and other views including expressions of support.

When a decision has been made on a DP the Department will note the decision on the record of DPs on the Department’s website and make available the submission (with appropriate redactions) on which the Minister/ Permanent Secretary  took the decision on the Department’s website.  

In addition to this the Department has also published guidance on the implementation of approved Development Proposals for school amalgamations.

If circumstances arise where the Education Authority supports a voluntary school’s request to be recognised as a controlled school a Development Proposal (DP) under the terms of Article 14 (1) (b) is appropriate -

“14. (1) Where the Authority proposes -
(b) to have an existing school recognised as a controlled school, other than a controlled integrated school; the Authority shall submit the proposal to the Department.”

Guidance on the procedure to be followed has been published by the Department.


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