Development proposals

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 summary of process

The Education Authority or anyone representing a school can make a DP.

You need a DP for:

  • new schools wishing to be recognised for grant-aid
  • school closures
  • amalgamations of schools
  • significant changes to the character or size of a school
  • changes which would have a significant impact on another grant-aided school

Consultation requirement

As a general rule, the proposer must first consult with the parents of pupils, the teachers, and the Board of Governors about the DP. The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) carry out this function on behalf of maintained schools and there are different requirements for integrated schools. The DP should then be sent to the Education Authority (EA) for publication.

The EA will:

  • consult with any schools which might be affected by the DP
  • send the DP to the Department of Education
  • publish the DP

After publication of the Development Proposal

After publication there is a two month statutory objection period and following that the Department will:

  • assemble all the relevant facts
  • consider any objections/comments and all the relevant facts
  • if appropriate, modify the DP afer consultation with the proposer
  • decide whether or not the DP should be approved - this decision is taken by the Minister/Permanent Secretary

The Minister's/Permanent Secretary's decision on a DP is final and can only be challenged through the judicial review process.


New guidance for development proposals for Grant-Aided Schools September 2014

Guidance on implementation of approved Development Proposals for school amalgamations May 2015

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