Northern Ireland

Online application process for pre-school and primary admissions opens

Parents whose children are starting pre-school or primary school in the next academic year, in September 2023, can now apply for a place
Parents whose children are starting pre-school or primary school in the next academic year, in September 2023, can now apply for a place

THE online application process for pre-school and primary admissions to schools has opened.

Parents whose children are starting pre-school or primary school in September 2023, can now apply for a place through the Education Authority's application portal.

It will remain open until January 27.

The EA processes thousands of applications for places every year on behalf of preschool, primary and post-primary schools.

Parents now also have greater flexibility in deciding when their child starts school. It comes after legislation was passed to allow those who are `young for year' and some who are prematurely born to defer their primary start by a year.

Currently, young people in the north who turn four on or before July 1 start primary school at the beginning of September that year. Those turning four between July 2 and August 31 will not begin until the following year when they are five.

This means children born in April, May and June are the youngest in the class, starting a few months after their fourth birthday. They are known young for year children.

The key objectives of the School Age Bill include flexibility for children born between April 1 and July 1.

They can now either commence primary education in September following their fourth birthday, or alternatively, on parental request, defer until the September following their fifth birthday.

The first stage of the application process is for parents and guardians to choose the pre-schools or schools that they would like to apply to in their order of preference.

Parents are advised to read the admission criteria for all schools and pre-school settings, which is published on the EA website.

At least four preferences are required, with schools only considering applications after the closing date.

Parents will be informed in April of the outcome of their application and which pre-school/school their child has been accepted into.

If a child has not been offered a place at this date, EA will information parents of which pre-schools and schools still have places available.