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Area Planning

Area Planning


In his statement to the Assembly, on 26 September 2011, the Minister, John O’Dowd MLA, highlighted the need to move forward with the implementation of the Sustainable Schools Policy and the process of strategic planning on an area basis.

The Minister has made it clear that, against the backdrop of an extremely challenging financial landscape in the coming years, progress on reshaping the structure and pattern of education provision cannot be delayed. This work is at the core of the raising standards agenda which can only be delivered efficiently and effectively through a network of sustainable schools. The Minister commissioned the Education and Library Boards, working in close conjunction with the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and engaging extensively with other school sectors, to develop collective strategic plans on an area basis.

The area based planning process will result in an effectively planned, sustainable and affordable pattern of schools. This will ensure that we have the right type and size of schools, in the right places, to meet the needs of our pupils and young people.


Minister’s Speech 26 September 2011 


Strategic Policy Context   

In taking forward this work, the Department has asked the Boards and CCMS to ensure that their Area Plans take account of the Department’s commitments in the Programme for Government, and support the implementation of Departmental policies, including the strategic policies referenced below. Area Plans should also take account of commitments outlined in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent legislation in relation to Integrated and Irish medium provision. Throughout the area planning process, the principles of promoting equality of opportunity and good relations should be adhered to. 


Sustainable Schools Policy

Every School a Good School

Revised Curriculum

Entitlement Framework

Count, Read: Succeed

Irish Medium Review

SEN Review

Annual Area Profiles

On 26 February 2013, in his statement to the Assembly, the Education Minister made a commitment that the Education and Library Boards would publish statistical information relating to sustainability annually at school and area level.

The Minister said: “Additionally, I want parents and stakeholders to be able to see up-to-date information on any school’s future sustainability. I have therefore also asked the Boards to publish data on schools’ sustainability, including, among other things, pupil numbers, educational attainment and budgets, annually.” 

These Annual Area Profiles replace the information contained in the previous Viability Audit which was published in February 2012. The information contained in the Annual Area Profiles will support and inform the process of Area Based Planning. 

Please use the links below to access the Annual Area Profiles for primary and post primary schools in the SELB area. Annual Area Profiles for 2015 were published on 15 June 2015.

SELB Primary Area Profile

SELB Post Primary Area Profile

Area Planning

Area Planning Terms of Reference were published by the Department of Education on 15 December 2011 setting out the scope and a proposed timetable for the development of Area Plans. Draft Area Plans for Special Schools, Post Primary Schools and Primary Schools in each Education and Library Board area were submitted to the Department by the end of June 2012. 

Area Planning – Terms of Reference

In delivering an Area Plan the Boards were requested to take account of the guidance issued by the Department and seek to fulfil the following aims to:

  • ensure a network of sustainable schools, within reasonable travelling distance for pupils and capable of delivering effectively the revised curriculum and, in post-primary schools, the Entitlement Framework;
  • identify and meet the needs of all children and young people in the area;
  • enhance the quality of provision and raise standards;
  • reduce the number of surplus places;
  • reduce duplication of provision;
  • identify realistic, innovative and creative solutions to address need, including opportunities for shared schooling on a cross sectoral basis;
  • maximise the use and sharing of the existing schools estate;
  • identify potential for co-location of mainstream and special schools;
  • take full account of appropriate and relevant FE Sector provision for 14-19 year olds;
  • explore opportunities for cross border planning.

SELB Post Primary Area Plan

On Monday 25 June 2012, the Minister announced in the Assembly that he had authorised the Education and Library Boards to commence the consultation on Post Primary Area Plans on 5 July 2012. He stated that the extended consultation period would run for a full 16 weeks until 26 October 2012 to ensure that schools and the general public would have sufficient time to read and reflect on the proposals before responding. 

Consultation closed on 26 October 2012 and the SELB report on the outcomes of consultation may be accessed using the link below. The Board acknowledges the response to consultation received from schools, parents, community groups and local political representatives as a reflection of the importance to the local community of future education provision.

SELB Post Primary Area Plan Consultation Report

The Board's Post Primary Area Plan was revised to reflect the outcomes of consultation and was first published in January 2013. The Post Primary Area Plan has been updated by the Board in consultation with schools and partners representing other education sectors and the most recent version may be accessed using the link below:

SELB Post Primary Area Plan


Craigavon Consultation Report

A written consultation was carried out between December 2013 and January 2014 on the Board's proposals for post-primary education provision in the Craigavon area. A consultation questionnaire and leaflet were issued to parents/guardians, governors and staff of the seven post-primary schools in the Dickson Plan two-tier system and designated contributory primary schools.

Consultation closed on 27 January 2014 and a summary of consultation responses was reported to the Board at its meeting on 12 February 2014. A copy of the report provided to the Board may be downloaded from the link below. A link is also provided to the consultation leaflet which was issued with the consultation questionnaire.

Craigavon Consultation Report

Craigavon Consultation Leaflet

SELB Primary Area Plan

The SELB’s initial draft Primary Area Plan was published on 19 March 2013 and was the subject of public consultation from that date until 30 June 2013. A report on the outcome of consultation on the Education and Library Board Primary Area Plans is available at the link below.

SELB Primary Area Planning Consultation Report

The Board’s Primary Area Plan has been revised to take account of the outcomes of consultation and may be accessed using the link below.

SELB Primary Area Plan

Useful Links 











The Southern Education and Library Board (the ‘Board’) was established as part of Local Government reorganisation in 1973 and is the largest of the five area Boards. The Board's principle functions are the provision of education and youth services to the District Council areas of Armagh, Banbridge, Cookstown, Craigavon, Dungannon & South Tyrone and Newry & Mourne. It spans 1,450 square miles with a total population of approximately 390,300 including 75,767 pupils.


3 Charlemont Place, The Mall, Armagh, BT61 9AX.
Telephone number: 028 3751 2200 | Email: info@eani.org.uk