We’ll have to wait for the actual detail, but for now the most obvious difference between George Bain’s recommendations and the Northern Ireland Education minister’s announcement would be the specification of local areas. Whilst Bain recommended – the report was published in December 2006
16. Local areas should comprise coherent sets of nursery, primary and post-primary schools, and, as appropriate, special schools, as well as accessible further education provision, and as far as possible lie within a single local council’s boundaries.
The minister reportedly proposes
A central group and five area groups are being set up to bring forward proposals on the future of education after the end of the 11-plus this year.
Where that leaves the other elements of the Education system, such as the Education and Skills Authority, is not clear. Adds According to this report – “The Educational Skills Authority, which will be established in 2009, will be tasked to deliver restructuring at all levels of the school system from pre-school to post primary. The work of the six bodies in the interim will identity the structural change required.” Update Official statement hereAs Bain also recommended
13. Until the Education and Skills Authority has acquired the capacity to exercise its estate planning function, the Department of Education should act quickly and decisively to take forward area-based planning as soon as possible in the year 2007, with the full support of the relevant education authorities.
14. The Department of Education should establish a provisional timetable, to be refined and taken forward by the Education and Skills Authority, specifying target dates for the following key steps in setting up and implementing the area-based planning strategy: (a) the Department of Education’s strategic framework of vision, policy, principles, and guidelines; (b) the specification of local areas; (c) the review of local provision; (d) the initiation and conclusion of local planning; (e) the submission of area proposals to the Education and Skills Authority; (f) the finalised and approved area plans; and (g) the implementation of individual plans for the estate as a whole.
15. Future school building projects should be approved only after area-based planning is established, and previously announced capital projects that are currently underway should be reviewed, according to their stage of development, for their consistency with the area-based approach. [added emphasis]
Also of interest is the reported proposed provisional timetable, which Bain also recommended.
She hopes that a new system can begin to be established in April 2009.
However, full area-based plans covering pre-school, primary and post-primary on the model outlined are not expected to be in place until 2010 at the earliest.
As Mick noted previously
Consider Ed Balls proposed legislation to provide education for all up 18. However controversial the legislation, the timelines are clear. No change for 17 years olds until 2013, and none for 18 year olds until 2015.