Northern Ireland

Education Authority: NI's new schools body to take charge

Gavin Boyd (centre) will lead the new Education Authority from 1 April as its interim chief executive
Image caption Gavin Boyd will lead the new Education Authority from 1 April as its interim chief executive

Northern Ireland's five education and library boards will cease to exist at midnight.

Their replacement has been contested and after seven years of missed deadlines, a solution has been agreed.

The Education Authority - one very large board - starts operations on 1 April.

The original idea of a single Education and Skills Authority (ESA) for Northern Ireland was abandoned after seven years of fruitless negotiation.

The Education Authority is a more modest organisation than planned, and is really one very large board, rather than a completely new concept.

However, it will streamline the provision of education services and save some of the money that was spent on too many boards with duplicated jobs and services.

Gavin Boyd will lead the new Education Authority as its interim chief executive.

It will have an annual budget of £1.5bn and a total of 37,000 employees.

It will be responsible for education administration such as transport, teacher support, building and catering.

But the main union for office staff has warned that the authority will begin life facing immediate cuts of £10m.

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