Pre-school Admissions Guide

Although pre-school isn't compulsory it has benefits. Our guide will help you understand more about the process and what to expect when applying for a place in pre-school for your child.

Pre-School Preference Guidance

How many preferences can I list?

At least four preferences are recommended as there is no guarantee your child will be accepted into the first preference. There is no maximum to the number of preferences you can list but please note that you will not be asked for further preferences during Stage 1 of the pre-school procedure. You will only be asked for further preferences if you receive a letter at the end of Stage 1 advising that your child has not been successful in being offered a place in the preference(s) you had listed at the time of submitting your application.

Ensure you choose the correct pre-school when listing preferences.  Some pre-schools have similar names but will be clearly identified by their locality e.g. St. Mary's PS NU Omagh, or St. Mary's PS NU Banbridge.

Any abbreviations within a pre-school provider’s name or referred to in this website are as follows:

PG = Playgroup PS NU = Primary School Nursery Unit
NS = Nursery School IPS NU = Integrated Primary School Nursery Unit
Community NS = Community Nursery School  
FT = Full Time  
PT = Part Time  


Can I list preferences more than once?

Some pre-school providers i.e. Nursery Schools or Nursery Units offer both Full-Time (FT) and Part-Time (PT) sessions.  You can list this provider as a preference once or even twice if you want the provider to consider your application for both full-time and part-time. 

You should ensure you list in your order of preference e.g.

1st Provider A FT
2nd Provider B
3rd Provider A PT

Remember to list the correct name of the pre-school provider.


Change of preference due to Exceptional Circumstances

Changing Preferences due to Exceptional Circumstances (Pre-school – Stage 1 Target Age Applications)
If you have made an online application it is not possible to change preferences through the Parent Portal after midnight on 31 January 2019 nor can changes of preferences be made for paper applications after this date apart from those necessitated by exceptional circumstances.

If you wish to change your preference, for any reason other than in exceptional circumstances, you must withdraw the original application and submit a new application.  If this occurs after midnight on Thursday 31 January 2019 your new application will be treated as a late application.  You will need to notify the EA in writing or by emailing advising that you wish to withdraw your application following which you will have to complete and submit a ‘late’ paper application.  This form is available from any pre-school setting.

If you wish to change your preference because of exceptional circumstances, e.g. you have moved house which necessitates a change of preference, you must submit a request for a change of preference to the EA in writing or by emailing for approval along with verification of the exceptional circumstances.  If approved, the EA will amend your preferences and advise both your original preference pre-school(s) and new preference pre-school(s).  If your original application was submitted punctually then your new preference(s) will be regarded as punctual. 
Documents which may be acceptable to verify your exceptional circumstances may include e.g. a tenancy agreement, rates bill or sale of house agreement (for a house move) or a letter from family support officer, medical professional, (for family related circumstances) or a letter from an employer (in the case where you have changed jobs). All documents must be recent i.e. they must contain dates that evidence that the exceptional circumstances were not known or not confirmed before midnight on 31 January 2019. 
The final date by which the EA will process any changes necessitated by exceptional circumstances is Monday 25 March 2019 at 4pm. 
If you have any queries please contact the Admissions Helpdesk (028) 9598 5595

Admissions Helpdesk

If additional information is required or any difficulty is experienced, parents can contact the admissions helpdesk on:

028 9598 5595

Helpline open from 9am to 5pm

or email the relevant address listed below

Last updated: 01/02/2019