The Department is piloting a process designed to ‘normalise’ admission and enrolment numbers of schools, where there is evidence demonstrating an historical pattern of enrolment in excess of a school’s approved number.

Circular 2022/08 has been published which explains how the Department will implement the pilot exercise to approve increases to a grant-aided school’s approved numbers which may not require a Development Proposal (DP). 

The objective of the process is to introduce agility into the Area Planning process and create capacity for more meaningful DPs to come forward, to reduce the number of children in unsustainable schools and increase the pace towards achieving a network of more sustainable schools across Northern Ireland.

As stated in the circular, schools which have enrolments which meet the necessary criteria will be contacted by the Department in due course.

The circular can be accessed via the following link: 

Circular 2022/08 - Guidance on the Process for Normalising a School’s Approved Numbers (Increases only) | Department of Education (

Schools Being Considered for Normalisation

The table below lists the schools that have been identified to be eligible to participate in the Normalising process.  It also includes details of each school’s current approved admissions and enrolment number and the proposed admissions/enrolment number each school would like to be Normalised to.

This is a voluntary process and some schools have elected not to participate and are also included in the table marked as ‘No Action’.

Normalising - List of identified Primary and Post-Primary Schools

As set out in Circular 2022/08, the list of schools is being published on the website and circulated through the C2k system.  The purpose of this step in the process is to advise of the proposed increase, to identify any implications arising from it and to give an opportunity to potentially affected schools to express their views which will then be used to inform the Minister’s/Permanent Secretary’s decision.  Schools submitting their views must ensure that evidence is provided to substantiate the views and comments being expressed.

If you would like to provide a response to this process, your views, comments and evidence should be included in this Proforma and e-mailed to by the 28 March 2023.  Any queries can also be submitted to this address.  It is not necessary for views, comments and evidence to be submitted for those schools NOT participating in the process.

Following requests, the deadline for the submission of responses from potentially affected schools has now been extended to 28 April 2023.


The consultation with potentially affected schools has now ended.  As set out in Circular 2022/08, the Department will now carry out a detailed analysis of all evidence and responses received in association with all Departmental policies.  Due to the volume of responses received and the complexities involved, this exercise is likely to take some time to complete. 

As the 2023 admissions process is now at an advanced stage, the Normalising process will not be completed on time to facilitate admissions for 2023.  Schools should therefore operate under normal procedures and where necessary, avail of the Temporary Variation (TV) Policy should their circumstances require a TV.


On 22 March 2024, Education Minister Paul Givan announced the outcome of the Normalisation Pilot process.  As a result of the Pilot, 21 schools - 13 primary schools and eight post-primary schools have been identified as being suitable for Normalising.

The list below details the schools who participated in the Pilot and the outcome for each individual school.

Normalising - list of Primary and Post-Primary Schools

The Department is writing to each school involved in the Pilot process and to the Planning and Managing Authorities, Trustees and Sectoral Support Bodies to advise of the outcome.

Any queries in relation to the Pilot Process should be addressed to






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