Admissions Appeals

Information on the Appeals Procedure if your child has been refused admission to a school.

If your child has been refused a place in a Nursery School/Nursery Unit, P1 in a Primary School, Year 8 in a Post Primary School or Year 11 in a Senior High School, you can appeal the decision of the Board of Governors. 

Independent Admissions Appeal Tribunals are established by the Education Authority to consider appeals.  You can only make an appeal if you feel the published Admissions Criteria of the school has not been correctly applied.

The Tribunal Panel will decide if a school has correctly applied its admissions criteria in deciding to refuse your child admission to the school. Tribunals cannot uphold an appeal on any other grounds. The actual substance of the criteria cannot be challenged in the appeal tribunal.

Information which was not made available to the school at the time when decisions were made will not be taken into account at appeal.

NOTE: For Pre-school there is no right of an appeal against the decision of a Voluntary or Private Playgroup provider and no right of appeal where a parent has indicated that they would prefer a morning part-time place but an afternoon part-time place has been offered (or vice versa).

Appeals Checklist

Image: Appeal logo

Please follow the below steps if you are considering making an appeal against a school’s decision:

1. Contact the school to discuss why your child’s application was not selected.

2. Read the appeals information carefully.

3. Prepare your appeal documents.

4. Upload document(s) to your online appeal form

5. Submit form by closing date below.

6. You will receive a confirmation email on submission of the form.

Appeals Forms

Appeal Form Category

Appeal Form Opens

Appeal Form Closing

Pre-School (Stage 1)

9am on 30 April 2024

4pm on 9 May 2024

Primary (P1)

9am on 30 April 2024

4pm on 9 May 2024

Senior High School

9am on 13 May 2024

4pm on 22 May 2024

Post Primary (Year 8)
See note below*

9am on 21 May 2024

4pm on 30 May 2024

Pre-School (Stage 2)

9am 13 June 2024

4pm on 21 June 2024

Parents/guardians will be the contacted by the Education Authority when their appeal has been scheduled and will be given five working days written notice of the date, time and arrangements of the hearing.

Post Primary Appeals

Only Post Primary Appeals use the EA Connect portal to submit their Appeal.  To submit an Appeal, parents log on to EA Connect using their previous username and password. On the application tile click ‘Review’, ‘View Outcome’ and ‘View more information’.  From this screen you can begin the Admission Appeal process. Parents can log on to EA Connect and click ‘My Appeals’ to view the status of their appeal at any time. 

‘EA Connect Post Primary Appeals Guide – Parents’ is a step by step guide on how to submit an admissions appeal on EA Connect and is available in Admissions Videos and Guidance.

If you submitted a ‘paper application’ and did not provide an email address please contact [email protected] to receive the appropriate form.

NB: Some schools have provided a short explanation on the point of oversubscription this year which can be viewed by clicking on ‘View Outcome’, ‘View More Information’ and ‘View School Criteria’ on EA Connect or on our Search Admissions Criteria webpage.

Contact Information

If you have a query about an appeal which you have lodged you can email as applicable below or contact the Admissions Helpdesk by telephone 028 9598 5595.

Appeal Category

Email Address

Primary 1 Appeal

[email protected]

Pre-School Stage 1 or Stage 2 Appeal

[email protected]

Senior High School 14+ Appeal

[email protected]

Post Primary School Year 8 Appeal

[email protected]

Exceptional Circumstances Body

Note: For post primary schools only

The Exceptional Circumstances Body (ECB) processes applications from parents/guardians for admissions to post-primary school where it is claimed that a child is deemed to have exceptional circumstances which require them to go to one school and one school only but an application made through the normal admissions process has failed. 

Things parents should consider

  • the Exceptional Circumstances process is not part the normal schools admission process
  • your son or daughter must go to a particular school only because of their exceptional circumstances rather than parental preference
  • academic ability or type of education offered by a particular school are not circumstances that can be considered
  • pupils with a statement of special educational needs cannot not be considered

There is no deadline for applying to the ECB.

About exceptional circumstances

When considering an application the ECB will focus on the following three tests that are considered under the 'exceptional circumstances' process:

  • are the circumstances that are claimed exceptional
  • are the circumstances that are claimed personal to the child
  • do the circumstances that are claimed require the child’s admission to the named school, and only that school

A case for admission under the exceptional circumstances process will exist only when the applicant passes all three tests.

Circumstances that aren't exceptional

The ECB may not find the following circumstances exceptional:

  • type of education provided at a school
  • a child’s academic ability
  • availability of transport to a school

Further information is available on NI Direct in relation to the Exceptional Circumstances Body including the application form to apply to the ECB.

If applicable, you can apply to the Exceptional Circumstances Body as well as submitting an Admission Appeal through the EA.

Last updated: 13/06/2024