The Sustainable Schools Policy was published in January 2009 following a public consultation.

Sustainable schools policy

The policy has as its vision an estate of educationally sustainable schools planned on an area basis, with focus on sharing and collaboration. It provides a framework for early consideration of emerging problems and possible remedial action to address questions of viability. The primary objective of the policy is to ensure that all children get a first class education in fit for purpose facilities, regardless of background or where they live.


The policy sets out six criteria to be considered in assessing a school's educational viability, as follows:-

  • quality educational experience
  • stable enrolment trends
  • sound financial position
  • strong leadership and management
  • accessibility
  • strong links with the community

Policy document

The sustainable schools policy is available on the Department's website at Schools for the future - A policy for sustainable schools

Sustainable Schools Policy User Guide

A new User Guide has been developed to supplement the Schools for the Future: A Policy for Sustainable Schools (SSP).  This guidance takes account of the changes since the SSP’s publication in 2009 including, amongst other things, the introduction of Area Planning, additional statutory duties conferred through new legislation, new education policies and reflects changes in education administration through the establishment of the Education Authority (EA) in April 2015.

SSP User Guide

Future Schools Toolkit

Ulster University’s Future Schools Toolkit provides support and guidance to undertake self-evaluation against the Sustainable Schools Policy criteria and indicators. The toolkit can be accessed on the UU website at:

Back to top