Year of Faith 2012 - 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has set aside a special year for Catholics throughout the world to rediscover and share with others the precious gift of faith. 

for more information look here

Year of Faith Website




According to the latest figures from Department of Education, N.I. Statistics Branch 2006/2007, the number of pupils registered at school in Northern Ireland is 329,583. This figure represents those who attend:

                                               Nursery Schools

                                               Primary Schools

                                               Post Primary Schools

                                               Special Schools

                                               Hospital Schools

                                               Independent Schools


The number of pupils attending Catholic managed schools is 148,225 

On average 45% of children in Northern Ireland are educated in Catholic schools.  


Data: 2006/2007

Number of Schools

Pupil Numbers

Catholic Maintained Nursery Schools



Catholic Maintained Primary Schools (Including nursery and reception)



Catholic Maintained Special Schools



Catholic Maintained Secondary Schools



Catholic Voluntary Grammar Schools



Grand Total









Source: Department of Education,N.I. Statistics Branch 2006/2007

Catholic Education Support

The following provides a summary of the role of groups/organisations, involved in school provision of Catholic education in Northern Ireland.

The Trustees of Catholic schools are the legal owners of these schools who exercise responsibility in accordance with the terms or articles of the relevant Trust and in the interest of that Trust. Trustees are represented on the Board of Governors of maintained schools and voluntary grammar schools. On behalf of the Trustees, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) co-ordinates certain activities within Catholic maintained schools. This includes promoting effective management and control by Boards of Governors, and assisting and advising Trustees re the planning and effective provision of Catholic maintained schools.

Board of Governors
The Board of Governors of a Catholic School exercises certain functions in relation to the management and financial administration of the school, subject to the provisions of the Education Orders and Regulations, and in accordance with the school's scheme of management. Governors' responsibilities include the determination of curriculum policy, ensuring the pursuance of policies to promote good behaviour and discipline, and assisting the school principal in enabling the internal organisation and management of the school.

Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS)
CCMS was established in 1989, under the Education Reform Order, as the advocate for Catholic Maintained schools in Northern Ireland and to provide an upper tier of management for this sector. Its statutory responsibilities include the co-ordination and planning of effective school provision, the promotion of effective management and control of Catholic maintained schools by the Board of Governors and the employment of all teachers within the Catholic Maintained Sector. As a strategic body it also supports the Trustees on the development of policy and advises on a wide range of issues on Catholic education.

Catholic Heads Association (CHA)
The principals of the 31 Catholic Voluntary Grammar schools in Northern Ireland make up the membership of the Catholic Heads Association. The Association meets regularly to share ideas on a variety of issues of common interest with a view to improving educational provision within membership schools. The Association seeks to support and develop in members a sense of shared vision and values. The Association is also a part of a wider network of 53 grammar schools forming the Governing Bodies Association.

St Mary's University College

St Mary's University College is an independent Catholic institution linked academically to the Queen's University of Belfast, and the Department of Education for Northern Ireland. The College has been at the forefront of Teacher Education in Northern Ireland since 1900. While its primary task is the training and ongoing professional development of teachers for the Catholic schools sector the College is actively involved in the professional development of all teachers in all types of schools. It operates at undergraduate and post-graduate levels and offers a wide range of courses and awards.

Diocesan Advisers
There are 5 Dioceses with schools in Northern Ireland. Each Catholic Bishop appoints Diocesan Advisers to supervise and support the work of religious education and faith development in primary and post-primary schools. Diocesan Advisers carry this task out through school visits, organising and running in-service days and spirituality workshops, and by developing and circulating resources and programmes to deliver Religious Education in Catholic schools. Diocesan Advisers liaise with education and library boards and other agencies in order to keep Religious Education teachers informed of changes and developments in curriculum development and examinations.

Expectations and cultural change have contributed to a changing role in school chaplaincy. This has meant some schools now employ the services of qualified lay and religious Chaplains. Other schools rely on the services of local Parish Clergy for sacramental / liturgical celebrations. In some cases schools may have a Clerical Chaplain appointed to work full time on behalf of the whole school faith community.

Religious Trustee Support Networks
A number of the Religious Trustees have established direct support services for schools. The Religious Trustees who have a responsibility for schools are: Sisters of St Louis, Dominican Sisters, Sisters of St Clare, Missionary Sisters of the Assumption, Sisters of Mercy, Loreto Sisters, De la Salle Brothers, Christian Brothers. The Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI) is an umbrella organisation, which serves the leadership of the religious congregations.

Organisations who provide support to schools in Northern Ireland, inclusive of Catholic schools

  • Department of Education
  • Education and Library Boards  

        Southern Education & Library Board                     


       North Eastern Education &Library Board               


        Western Education & Library Board


        South Eastern Education & Library Board 


        Belfast Education & Library Board                          


  • Department of Education and Learning 
  • Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)
  • Governing Bodies Association
  • Regional Training Unit (RTU)
  • The Youth Council for Northern Ireland