Education Minister John O'Dowd has welcomed the Executive's agreement to the Education Bill, which will see the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority.
Speaking after today's Executive meeting, Mr O'Dowd said:
"Today we have taken a significant step forward in the strategic planning and delivery of our education system; a system which will deliver educational excellence for all and will meet the needs and aspirations of our young people, helping them fulfil their potential and enhancing their life chances.
"The creation of a single authority, able to plan, deliver, support and challenge schools and other providers, will also ensure we are better able to enhance the role played by education in developing our economy.
"I look forward to bringing this Bill to the Assembly in the coming weeks for scrutiny by the Assembly and the Education Committee.
"I wish to pay tribute today to staff at the Education and Library Boards, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, the Youth Council and the Staff Commission for the Education and Library Boards. Over the course of the past 40 years they have provided an invaluable service to schools and I recognise the hard work and commitment of staff in all these organisations. This has been particularly true in recent years as many posts have gone unfilled in preparation for ESA with the remaining staff showing their professionalism in ensuring the continued delivery of services.
"Next week I will announce the way ahead for the establishment of a sectoral support body for the controlled sector. I will be establishing a working group to take this forward and I look forward to engaging with the group to secure the establishment of the sectorial support body by next year."