Controlled education sector

The controlled sector is the largest education sector in Northern Ireland. There are 560 controlled schools in Northern Ireland, representing 48% of all schools. 

The modern controlled schools sector is a large, diverse and distinctive education system.

It is

• 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.

controlled sector infographic

Breakdown of Controlled Schools by Type (2018/19)

• 143,669 pupils attend controlled schools, representing 49% of all pupils.
• 63% of pupils in controlled schools are Protestant, 10% are Catholic, 27% are ‘other’.
• Over a third of newcomer pupils in Northern Ireland attend controlled schools.
• 29% of controlled pupils are entitled to free school meals.
• Almost 95% of controlled schools are members of the Controlled Schools’ Support Council.

Controlled schools are managed by the Education Authority through Boards of Governors.

Further information on the controlled sector are available at our controlled schools key statistics page.