Department of Education (Northern Ireland)
|Irish: An Roinn Oideachais;|
Ulster-Scots: Männystrie o Lear
|Formed||June 1921 (as Ministry of Education)|
|Headquarters||Rathgael House, Balloo Road, Bangor, Co. Down, BT19 7PR|
|Employees||609 (September 2011)|
|Annual budget||£1,894.6 million (current) & £114.7 million (capital) for 2011–12|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Department of Education (DENI) (Irish: An Roinn Oideachais; Ulster-Scots: Männystrie o Lear) is a devolved Northern Irish government department in the Northern Ireland Executive. The minister with overall responsibility for the department is the Minister of Education.
The department's overall vision is "to ensure that every learner fulfils her or his potential at each stage of development". Its key stated priorities are: raising Standards for all; closing the performance gap, increasing access and equality; developing the education workforce; improving the "learning environment"; and transforming education management.
The department is responsible for the following levels of education:
Until 2016 the former Department for Employment and Learning was responsible for further and higher education policy in Northern Ireland. Further and higher education are now the responsibility of the Department for the Economy.
The Department of Education also covers:
- youth policy
- community relations within and between schools
- teacher education and salaries
As an organisation, its key functions include advising the minister on the determination of education policy, framing legislation, accounting for the effectiveness of the education system, allocating, and monitoring and accounting for resources.
Through the Education and Training Inspectorate, it evaluates and reports on the quality of teaching and learning and teacher education.
Administration of the education system is delegated to a single combined authority, funded by the department:
A Ministry of Education was established at the foundation of Northern Ireland in June 1921 and was subsequently renamed the Department of Education under direct rule, introduced in March 1972. An education ministry was also included in the Northern Ireland Executive briefly formed in 1974. The department's remit under direct rule was much wider, incorporating cultural and sport policy (now held by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure) and further and higher education (now held by the Department for Employment and Learning).
Following a referendum on the Belfast Agreement on 23 May 1998 and the granting of royal assent to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 on 19 November 1998, a Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive were established by the United Kingdom Government under Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Department of Education (with its reduced remit) was therefore one of the six direct rule Northern Ireland departments that continued in existence after devolution, following the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and The Departments (Northern Ireland) Order 1999.
A devolved minister took office on 2 December 1999. Devolution was suspended for four periods, during which the department came under the responsibility of direct rule ministers from the Northern Ireland Office:
- between 12 February 2000 and 30 May 2000;
- on 11 August 2001;
- on 22 September 2001;
- between 15 October 2002 and 8 May 2007.
Since 8 May 2007, devolution has operated without interruption. On 11 January 2012, the First Minister and deputy First Minister, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness respectively, announced their intention to abolish the Department for Employment and Learning.
Its functions would be "divided principally" between the Department of Education and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment "in an agreed manner". The proposal was resisted by the Alliance Party, which viewed it as "power grab" by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin, but was approved on 18 January 2012. No timescale for the abolition was outlined and the department remained in operation, as of late March 2012.
From 2 December 1999 to 25 May 2016, the department was headed by Sinn Féin legislators. It was not until 25 May 2016 that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)'s Peter Weir became the first non-Sinn Féin politician to head the Northern Ireland Department of Education.
Ministers of education
|Minister||Image||Party||Took office||Left office|
|Martin McGuinness||Sinn Féin||2 December 1999||11 February 2000|
|Martin McGuinness||Sinn Féin||30 May 2000||14 October 2002|
|Caitríona Ruane||Sinn Féin||8 May 2007||5 May 2011|
|John O'Dowd||Sinn Féin||16 May 2011||25 May 2016|
|Peter Weir||DUP||25 May 2016||2 March 2017|
|Peter Weir||DUP||11 January 2020||incumbent|
Direct rule ministers
- George Howarth (2000)
- Jane Kennedy (2002–04)
- Barry Gardiner (2002–04)
- Angela Smith (2005–06)
- Maria Eagle (2006–07)
- "Northern Ireland Quarterly Employment Survey Historical Data". Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Budget 2011–15" (PDF). Department of Finance and Personnel. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Depairtment o Leir is also used by the North/South Ministerial Council.
- Northern Ireland Budget 2011–15, page 48
- About the Department of Education
- DEL: About the Department Archived 19 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Department for Education: About the Department
- Department of Education: Functions
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Commencement) Order 2000
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2000
- Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2001
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2001
- Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
- Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2002
- Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2007
- "Justice 2012 – Stormont Castle proposals". Northern Ireland Executive. 11 January 2012. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- "Ford says cutting Department for Employment and Learning could damage economy". Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- "Justice 2012 – The Way Forward". Northern Ireland Executive. 18 January 2012. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- Office suspended for 24 hours on 11 August 2001 and 22 September 2001
- Department of Education
- Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA) UCL Institute of Education
- "The Departments (Northern Ireland) Order 1999" (PDF). (37.0 KB)