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).
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 -