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.
CSSC chart
Breakdown of Controlled Schools by Type (2016/17)
  • 140,632 pupils attend controlled schools, representing 42% of all pupils.
  • 66% of pupils in controlled schools are Protestant, 10% are Catholic, 18% have no religion and 6% are ‘other’. 
  • Over a third of newcomer pupils in Northern Ireland attend controlled schools.
  • 31% of controlled pupils are entitled to free school meals. 
  • Almost 90% of controlled schools are members of the Controlled Schools’ Support Council. 

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