John O'Dowd set to step down as minister of education
Education Minister John O'Dowd will not return to his post following the Assembly elections in May.
The Sinn Fein MLA for Upper Bann said last night he would be seeking re-election, but does not expect that he will become Education Minister when the Executive is reformed.
Mr O'Dowd said he is looking forward to a new challenge.
He has held the post of Education Minister since May 2011, taking over from Caitriona Ruane.
"My party rotates its ministers at the start of each new mandate - a policy I fully support," he told the BBC.
"I have greatly enjoyed my time as minister for education and, if re-elected to the assembly, I look forward to a new challenge."
The minister was speaking at the NASUWT conference on Friday.
He said some of his programmes and policies are impacting positively, with an overall increase recorded in 2014/15 in the number of pupils attaining five or more good GCSEs including English and Maths.
"My decision to target resources towards those serving the most disadvantaged is now producing positive results." he said.