Controlled education sector

Wheatfield PS School of Sanctuary 2021

The controlled education sector is the largest, most diverse education sector in Northern Ireland comprising 49% of all schools across all phases: nursery, special, primary, secondary, grammar, integrated and Irish medium schools. Read more about controlled schools success here.

It is:

  • 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.

Breakdown of controlled schools by type (2022/23):

  • 148,065 pupils attend controlled schools
  • 58% of pupils in controlled schools are Protestant, 11% are Catholic, 32% are ‘other’
  • 44% of newcomer pupils in Northern Ireland attend controlled schools
  • 28% of pupils attending controlled schools are entitled to free school meals.

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


Source: DE School Census 2022/23