Area Planning

What is Area Planning?

Area Planning is about having the right number and types of primary and post primary schools, in the right places, so children are attending schools that are sustainable. It is a cross sectoral process that CCMS delivers in collaboration with the Education Authority and other sectoral bodies, that is driven by the Department of Education's Sustainable Schools Policy.

When schools are sustainable, they can give their pupils access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Too many schools means the available resources are spread more thinly across the system.

Click here for frequently asked questions and answers.

What does it involve?

To make a change to school provision (e.g. expansion, amalgamation, closure etc.) a 'Development Proposal' must be consulted upon and submitted by the school's planning authority to the Department of Education.

CCMS is the planning authority for Catholic maintained schools.

The decision to approve or reject a proposal rests with the Department of Education. Details of Development Proposal decisions are published at

Key Documents

Schools for the future - A policy for sustainable schools

Planning for Sustainable Provision: Strategic Area Plan 2022-27 (Primary and Post-Primary Schools)

Planning for Sustainable Provision: Operational Plan 1: 2022-2024

Planning for Special Education Provision: Strategic Area Plan 2022-27 (Special Schools and Specialist Provision in
Mainstream Primary and Post-Primary Schools)

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One of CCMS’s primary duties is to promote and coordinate area planning and, since its establishment in 1989, CCMS and Catholic Trustees have worked closely with other education bodies to deliver a range of school reorganisation projects.
To celebrate ‘Catholic Schools Week’ one of the P5 classes in St Patrick’s Primary School, Newry lead a beautiful assembly on grandparents and service in the community.
St Brigid’s Primary School, Downpatrick was awarded the ‘Spirit of Catholic Education Award 2024’ for the second time on Wednesday 24th January in St Mary’s University College, Belfast.
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