Education news

Apply online for a pre-school or primary school place

Anna Doherty, Tom Black, Riley McCartney and Jennifer Diver welcome the new online admissions process

A NEW online schools admissions process has been launched by the Education Authority (EA).

Parents whose children are starting pre-school or primary school in September 2019 will apply for a place via the EA website

The application process opens on Wednesday January 2 and closes at midnight on January 31 2019.

The first stage of the process is for parents and guardians to choose the pre-schools or schools that they would like to apply to. Parents should name at least four choices in their order of preference.

The admission criteria for all schools and pre-school settings are published on the EA website. Parents can search for pre-schools and schools in their area using the `find a school' function on EA website.

EA director of operations and estates Sara Long urged parents to submit at least four preferences and also advised that it is not a `first come first served' process.

The EA processes more than 70,000 applications for places every year on behalf of preschool, primary and post-primary schools.

"The new online process for applying for a preschool or primary school place for September 2019 is easy to use," she said.

"The online application form is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week up to the closing date of Thursday 31st January 2019.

"While most children obtain a place at one of their preferred settings, this cannot be guaranteed. Parents can list as many pre-schools/schools as they wish but by listing at least four, the likelihood of not being offered a place at the close of the procedure is decreased."

Some schools will be oversubscribed and these settings will apply their admissions criteria to determine which children will be offered a place.

As each application is assessed against the admissions criteria, Ms Long said, it was important to read carefully the published criteria for each school and indicate on the application how children met them.

After completing the online application, parents will receive an email from EA to confirm their application has been submitted. Parents should bring their child's birth certificate and any other verifying information to the first preference pre-school or school by noon on Friday, February 8 2019.

Parents will be informed by letter issued on May 9 for receipt on Friday May 10 2019 which pre-school/school their child has been accepted into.

If a child has not been offered a place at this date, EA will write to parents providing information on pre-schools and schools which still have places available and what action they need to take to secure an available place.

Parents applying for a place in Primary 1 can also check eligibility for home to school transport assistance whilst online at

"Parents can simply enter their home postcode and the name of the school they are applying to and they will be informed immediately whether their child could qualify for transport assistance," Ms Long said.

"The online checker will also identify any closer schools a parent will need to consider applying to. This new facility will help parents in making an informed decision regarding their school preferences."

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