AROUND one in five children due to start pre-school or P1 in September are yet to apply for a place.
The Education Authority (EA) last night said 20 per cent of applications "are still outstanding" as they appealed to parents to submit the online forms ahead of the deadline on Friday.
The EA's application portal opened earlier this month for children due to start pre-school or primary school in September 2023.
Peter Canavan, EA’s head of pupil admissions and financial support, said they "strongly urge" parents who have not yet applied to do so before the deadline.
"We are delighted that over 34,800 or 80 per cent of applications have been received for a pre-school or primary school place for September 2023; however, we are concerned that 20 per cent of applications are still outstanding," he said.
"We want to ensure parents and guardians of all eligible children are aware of the deadline for receipt of applications of Friday 27 January at noon and ensure that children are in the position of being considered for a place by the school of their choice."
Parents now also have greater flexibility in deciding when their child starts school. 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.
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.
Parents can apply now via EA Connect for new pre-school and primary school online applications: https://connect.eani.org.uk/parent.