Controlled schools are unique and together make up the most diverse of Northern Ireland’s education sectors.
This has been affirmed with the publication of the Controlled Schools’ Support Council’s (CSSC’s) baseline assessment of the sector on Monday 18 September.
Head of Education Support Jayne Millar explains.
“A controlled school is defined as a ‘grant aided school under the management of a board’, however this does not begin to demonstrate the diversity of educational establishments that come under this definition.
“The controlled sector is the only education sector to comprise a full range of schools, with nursery, primary, special and non-selective post-primary schools sitting alongside grammar, integrated, Irish medium and Dickson Plan schools.
“CSSC will be representing the interests of the controlled sector, and our vision is to support controlled schools in providing high quality education for children and young people to enable them to learn, develop and grow together, within the values of a non-denominational Christian environment.”
The modern controlled education sector can be described as:
- church related
- diverse in provision and governance
- inclusive in making provision for children and young people from all backgrounds
- aspirational in seeking to provide the best possible education
“Over 90% of controlled schools have opted-in to register with CSSC,” says Jayne Millar, “highlighting the need for a representative body.
“As CSSC enters its second year of operation, the clear lack of money in the education budget will make our role in advocating for controlled schools more important. CSSC’s dedicated team of School Support Officers is already working with schools on issues such as raising standards, developing ethos, area planning and making applications for additional funding opportunities.
“Our Council reflects the diversity of the controlled sector, with six representatives from nursery, special, primary and post-primary schools elected by their peers; three nominees from the Transferor Representatives’ Council; and four additional Directors with specialist skills, appointed through a competitive process.
“CSSC has already begun the process of engaging with controlled schools to ascertain what they need us, as the advocacy body, to focus on and we look forward to engaging with stakeholders right across the educational spectrum to ensure that Northern Ireland has an education system that delivers for all pupils.