The terms of reference for the Ministerial Advisory Group, as determined by the Minister, were as follows:
1. The Group was asked to consider, in the context of overall education policy, the aim of which is to improve educational outcomes for learners, the advancement of shared education, and to submit advice to the Minister for Education by 1st February 2013 (subsequently changed to 28th February 2013).
2. In developing advice, the Group was asked to take account of:
- Evidence on the preferences of learners and parents in relation to shared education;
- Evidence of the effectiveness and value for money of existing approaches, and of best practice, locally and internationally;
- Any barriers to the advancement of shared education;
- How the advancement of shared education might address issues such as ethos and identity.
3. The Group was asked to adopt the following definitions:
'Education' includes pre-school education; early years services; primary schools (including nursery schools); post-primary schools; special education provision; and youth services.
'Shared education' means the organisation and delivery of education so that it:
- Meets the needs of, and provides for the education together of, learners from all Section 75 categories and socio-economic status;
- Involves schools and other education providers of differing ownership, sectoral identity and ethos, management type or governance arrangements;
- Delivers educational benefits to learners, promotes the efficient and effective use of resources, and promotes equality of opportunity, good relations, equality of identity, respect for diversity and community cohesion.