Appointment of Chairperson to the Board of the Education Authority

Date published: 08 December 2020

The Department of Education has announced the appointment of Mr Barry Mulholland to the post of Chairperson of the Board of the Education Authority with effect from 1 January 2021.

Mr Mulholland is currently the Chief Executive of the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC), the advocacy body set up in 2016 to provide comprehensive support to the controlled sector and its schools. He has successfully led the organisation during its formative years, developing its capacity and cultivating collaborative partnerships to help raise standards and enhance the quality of education provision in controlled schools.  Mr Mulholland will be resigning from this position before taking up the post of Chairperson.

A highly experienced educationalist, Mr Mulholland previously served in the Belfast Education and Library Board as Head of Youth Services from 1995-1999 and then as Chief Administrative Officer from 1999-2004.  He joined the Western Education and Library Board as Chief Executive in 2004 before assuming the role of Regional Managing Director of the Education Authority on its coming into operation in 2015.  In this capacity he acted as Accounting Officer for both the former Western and North Eastern Education and Library Board areas, with a budgetary responsibility in excess of £700m. 

Mr Mulholland has also served in a voluntary capacity on a wide range of public and community based committees, including BBC Children in Need (NI), BBC Appeals Committee (NI), the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Lurgan Credit Union and the Chief Executives’ Forum (NI).  

Mr Mulholland has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not hold any other public appointments.

Speaking today, Education Minister, Peter Weir said “I am very pleased to appoint Mr Mulholland as Chairperson of the Education Authority. He brings to the Board a wealth of experience in governance, finance, strategic leadership and transformational change management and is a proven communicator. He has a sound understanding of the education landscape and an appreciation of the values that underpin the work of the Authority.

“I would also like to thank the outgoing Chairperson, Sharon O’Connor, for her dedication and service. I am grateful to her for providing direction and leadership in the years following the Authority’s establishment, and in meeting the challenges posed by the restructuring of our education system.”  




Notes to editors: 

  1. The Education Authority (EA) came into operation on 1 April 2015 and replaced the five Education and Library Boards (ELBs) and their Staff Commission.
  2. The constitution of the EA Board is set out in the Education Act (NI) 2014.  The Board comprises a Chairperson appointed by the Minister and 20 members who are nominated by a range of interests i.e. there are 12 members representing the trustees of maintained schools, transferors of controlled schools, Irish-Medium schools, integrated schools, voluntary grammar schools & controlled grammar schools, and 8 political members who are nominated by the relevant political parties.
  3. The Chairperson appointment will commence on 1 January 2021 for a four year term (unless terminated before that time). The annual remuneration for the Chairperson post will be in the range of £50,000-£60,000 plus travel and subsistence allowances.
  4. The appointment has been made in accordance with the principles and practices of the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.  Appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, the Commissioner requires the political activity of appointees to be published.
  5. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on  Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer on 02890 378110 and your call will be returned.

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