Primary Schools Admission Guide

Our guide will help you understand more about the process and what to expect when applying for a place in primary school for your child.

Applying for a Reception place in the school year September 2019 - June 2020

A small number of primary schools have a Reception class/group for children who are aged four at the date of their admission but who are not yet compulsory school age (i.e. children whose fourth birthday is after 1 July in a year). 

Children in Reception do not follow the primary one element of the Northern Ireland curriculum and cannot be admitted until they reach their fourth birthday.

Which schools have Reception provision?

You can use the ‘Find a Primary School’ search facility to find out if a primary school in your area has a reception class.  Make sure to tick the box to show results which ‘Only include schools that provide Reception’.

Those schools that admit children into reception will also indicate this in their admissions criteria. 

It should be noted that the majority of primary schools do not have reception provision and where it does exist children of compulsory school age must be given priority. Therefore you should consider applying for a funded pre-school place through the separate pre-school admissions procedure. Click here for further information on applying for a pre-school place

How can I apply for a Reception place in a primary school?

Online applications are being introduced for primary admissions, (which includes reception classes) in the 2019/2020 school year. 

The application procedure opens on Wednesday 2 January 2019 and closes at 12.00 midnight on Thursday 31 January 2019.  

You can complete your application for a Reception place online during the above timeframe - it is quick, easy and there will be user guides and a helpline available if you need any assistance;   

  • It is very important that you submit a punctual application as any applications received after 12.00 midnight on Thursday 31 January 2019 will be treated as ‘late’;
  • Having completed an application you will need to provide your child's birth certificate, as well as any other supporting documentation required within the published admissions criteria of any of your preferred schools.  Documentation should be submitted to the school listed at first preference on your application by 12.00 noon on Friday 8 February 2019.   
  • The Find a primary school’ section will assist you in identifying schools in your area which have a reception class in preparation of nominating your preferences when the application procedure opens.  
  • The admissions criteria for primary schools are available on this website - search ‘Find a primary school’ and tick the box to request results for ‘Only include schools that provide Reception’
  • You should continue to check this website for further updates.

NB For information on application to Preparatory Schools and Independent Schools you should contact the schools directly.

Can I apply for a pre-school place and a place in a reception class?

Yes you may apply for both a pre-school place and a place in a reception class.  These are two separate applicationproceduresand therefore you will need to complete two separate applications.  Follow the instructions in the online Parent Portal from 2 January 2019 to make an application for Reception and then select ‘Make another application’ to make a separate application for a pre-school place.  

Admissions Helpdesk

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

028 9598 5595

7th - 31st January - 8am - 8pm (Monday - Thursday) and 8am - 5pm (Friday)

or email the relevant address listed below

Do you know that your choice and order of preferences could impact on your child’s eligibility for transport assistance?

Last updated: 21/12/2018