Glossary of terms

Explanation of terms used by various branches within the Department of Education.

Development proposals

Legal requirement before significantly changing schools.

Economic appraisal (business case)

Economic appraisal is a systematic way of assessing expenditure proposals. The appraisal process involves identifying the need for policies, programmes or projects, defining objectives, examining options and weighing up the costs, benefits, risks and uncertainties of alternative options before a decision is made. The purpose of appraisal is to ensure that spending proposals achieve value for money, i.e. that resources are used economically, efficiently and effectively. Economic appraisal is also essential in establishing accountability for public expenditure.

Grant rates

Percentage entitlement to grant-aid on capital projects.

Capital grant-aid for the different school management types is as follows:

Management type Capital grant-aid
Controlled schools 100 per cent
Maintained schools 100 per cent
Category A voluntary grammar schools  100 per cent or 85 per cent **
Category B voluntary grammar schools  65 percent on school meals accommodation
0 percent on other capital development
65 percent on furniture and equipment relating to capital development
Grant maintained integrated schools (GMI) 100 per cent (after three year viability period and GMI status confirmed)
Irish medium schools 100 per cent (after three year viability period and GM status confirmed)

(** rate dependent on agreement under Schedule six, Education and Libraries Order (NI) 1986).


Maintenance relates to school repairs/replacement that are not an improvement to existing buildings. Maintenance of the education estate is the responsibility of the Education Authority except in the case of Voluntary Grammar and Grant Maintained Integrated schools. In these cases, the school authorities receive an element from within their Local Management of Schools budgets, allocated by the Department, which provide for such costs.

Major works

Major works are projects involving costs of £500k or more.

Minor works

Minor works are schemes involving costs of less than £500,000 (excluding VAT) for the betterment of the estate. Schemes for Controlled Schools and School Meals Accommodation in Maintained Schools are administered by the Education Authority. Schemes for Maintained (except school meals accommodation), Voluntary Grammar, Grant Maintained Integrated and Irish Medium Schools are processed and administered by the Department of Education.

Planning categories

Categorisation of schools in the contenders list.

Reinvestment and reform initiatives

The Reinvestment and Reform Initiative, announced in May 2002, provides funding for public service infrastructure in Northern Ireland in addition to normal programme funding.

(Please visit the Office of the First Minister, Deputy First Minister for further details.)


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