Admissions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions on school admissions.

School Placement FAQs

Pre-School

Stage 2 of the pre-school admissions procedure concluded on Monday 8 June 2020.  Stage 2 deals with Target age children unplaced at close of Stage 1 and whose parent(s) engaged in Stage 2, new target age applications and underage applications.

Letters have been posted to parents/guardians and if you do not receive the outcome of your application our Admissions Helpdesk will be open from 12 noon to 5pm today (9 June 2020). 

Stage 1 of the pre-school admissions procedure which deals only with target age children concluded on Tuesday 28 April 2020 with the posting of letters to advise parents/guardians of the outcome of their application.

What do you need to do now?

Information on what action, if any that you need to take depends on the position of your application at present and the options are detailed below.

What do I do if I have received an offer of a funded place for my child in the pre-school which I listed as first preference?

You should be aware that for a small number of schools or playgroups the offer of a funded place may be conditional on you, as a parent/guardian providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria.  Any school or playgroup requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.

Read the information outlined in the letter you received.  As applicable, the school or playgroup will advise you when they are able to so, about any induction arrangements, uniform policy, etc. 

What do I do if I have not received my letter of offer due to postal delays - how can I find out the outcome of my application?

As it is possible due to COVID-19 that some post may take longer to deliver than usual, you can contact the Admission Helpdesk from 12noon to 5pm on Tuesday 9 June 2020.  After 9 June the Admissions Helpdesk will revert back to normal opening hours from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Why have I received two letters advising me of the outcome of my application, one from the Education Authority (EA) and one from the school or playgroup?

It is possible that this may have happened in some cases.  Due to the unprecedented Covid-19 situation and given the uncertainty of the situation, the EA put in place contingency arrangements to advise parents/guardians of the outcome of their application on behalf of schools/playgroups.  Some schools/playgroups may have had their placement notifications already prepared and in light of this they may have continued to issue their placement notifications.

Why does the offer letter for my funded place not inform me if my child has got a morning or afternoon session?

Pre-School legislation enables parents/guardians to list full-time or part-time preferences, it does not recognise morning and afternoon sessions as preferences, therefore, the placing of a child in a morning or afternoon session is not part of the preference based admissions process. The allocation of a morning or afternoon session is the decision of the setting. This is based on a range of circumstances or procedures relating to that individual setting. If the pre-school offering your child a funded place has a morning and afternoon session you can contact them directly to find out which session they have been able to allocate your child to. Contact details are available on the EA website https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools

Why does the offer letter for my funded place not inform me of my child’s start date?

The school or playgroup will be in contact with you when they are able to do so.  We would ask parents/guardians to remain patient in these extraordinary times, as schools and playgroups continue to be guided by the decisions taken by the Minister of Education and the Department of Education in light of the COVID-19 situation. 

How do I accept or decline the offer of the funded place?

You can accept the offer of the funded place by emailing the school or playgroup, contact details are available on the EA website https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schoolsYou should be aware that for a small number of schools or playgroups the offer of a funded place may be conditional on you as a parent/guardian providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria.  Any school or playgroup requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.

OR

If you had also received a letter of offer directly from the school or playgroup they may have guided you on how you can accept the offer.

If you decline the offer of a funded place, you should email the school or playgroup    and copy the email to preschooladmissions@eani.org.uk providing your reasons for refusing the offer.  

Why has my child been offered a funded place in a pre-school which was not my first preference?

If schools or playgroups are oversubscribed they have to apply admissions criteria in order to admit children up to the admissions number.  You may wish to contact the school or playgroup which has not selected your child to discuss the reason why he/she was not offered a place.

There is provision to an appeal against the decision of the Board of Governors of a nursery school, nursery unit or community nursery school in not selecting your child. 

There is no right of appeal

  • against a voluntary playgroup or private provider which participates in the pre-school education programme; or
  • if you have been offered a part time afternoon place in a nursery school/unit as opposed to a part time morning place or vice versa.

Information on how to appeal is accessible here.

What should I do if my child has not been offered a funded place at the close of Stage 2?

If you have received a letter from the Education Authority that your child has not been offered any funded place for the 2020/2021 school year you should:-

  • Consult the list of pre-school providers that still have funded places available at the close of the Stage 2 pre-school admissions procedure on the EA’s website at www.eani.org.uk/admissions
  • Identify those pre-school providers that you wish to consider your child’s application. If your child is underage you can only make application to a Nursery School or Nursery Unit in a Primary School.  Study the provider(s) admission criteria, which can be accessed under ‘Find a Pre-School/School and admissions criteria’ on the website at https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools
  • do not select pre-school providers which you had listed as a preference on your original application form.  Please note:  some Nursery Schools/Nursery Units offer full-time and part-time education provision and in these cases the full-time / part-time are separate preferences for that pre-school.   Where a provider offers full-time but have no places left you may wish to check if they have part-time places available from the list as mentioned above.   You should check the admissions criteria of the provider you are choosing to identify what provision they provide or you can contact the provider to check the provision they offer.   The admissions criteria can be accessed under www.eani.org.uk/admissions  -- Find a Pre-School/School and admissions criteria.  
     
  • Complete the web form available on the EA website under Applying for a School Place. The completed form should be returned as soon as possible to the Pre-School Admissions Office, not later than 4.00pm on Monday 15 June 2020

Should your application be received after 4.00pm on Monday 15 June 2020 it will be sent to the pre-school for consideration.

The outcome of your application will be advised by 30 June 2020 or when the pre-school is able to do so.

Do I have to accept the funded place my child has been offered if it was not my first preference?

It is recommended that you accept the place which has been offered (this has no impact on the admissions appeal process if you decide to appeal against a Nursery School or Nursery Unit or Community Nursery School. You should be aware that for a small number of schools or playgroups the offer of a funded place may be conditional on you as a parent/guardian providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria. Any school or playgroup requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so. Read the information outlined in the letter you received which should include guidance as to how you can accept this offer. As applicable, the school or playgroup will advise you when they are able to so, about any induction arrangements, uniform policy, etc.   

If you had also received a letter of offer directly from the school or playgroup they may have guided you how you can accept the offer.

What if I had applied for a funded place after 4pm on 5 May 2020 in Stage 2 and I haven’t received a letter?

If you had submitted a late application after 4pm on 5 May 2020  you will not receive a letter on 9 June. Rather, the school or playgroup to which you had submitted your application will now consider after 8 June 2020. The outcome of your application will be issued by 30 June 2020 or when the pre-school is able to do so.

What if my child has been offered a funded pre-school place but I want to change to another pre-school?

  • consult the list of pre-school providers that may have funded places available at the close of Stage 2. This document is published on the Education’s Authority’s website at www.eani.org.uk/admissions - also see below:-

How can I change to a pre-school that has places available?

  • It is important that you understand that by declining the offer of a funded place at this stage you may risk not getting another offer of a funded place. 
  • at the point of making your first application you had been given the opportunity to express your order of preferences.  Your reason for a change at this stage may be a valid one due to your circumstances, rather than just wanting to change your mind and you should consider your reasons carefully, as to why you are wishing to change given the risk of not getting a second offer, as you are not guaranteed a place of your choice.
  • you should also be aware that additional funded places will not be granted to a provider for a child who already was offered a funded place in another setting.
  • If you have carefully made your decision that you want to proceed to decline the offer and submit a new application then you need to identify those pre-school providers with funded places available that you wish to consider your child’s application. Study the provider(s) admission criteria, which can be accessed on www.eani.org.uk/admissions  
  • withdraw your Stage 2 application in writing to the Education Authority Pre-School Admissions Office preschooladmissions@eani.org.uk and provide reasons for this withdrawal.
  • Complete a Pre-School application available on the EA website under applying for a school place and submit by Monday 15 June 2020If received after than time it will be sent to the pre-school provider you have listed for their consideration.

NOTE:  If you withdraw your Stage 2 application all preferences on it or the pre-school preference that you declined an offer of will become null and void.  Therefore, you lose the right to be recalled should a place become vacant.

How can I change to a school or playgroup that does not have places available at the close of Stage 2?

  • Many pre-school providers will have now filled their funded places, will be oversubscribed with applications and will operate any waiting policy that they have in place.  For a child born on or between 2 July 2017 – 1 July 2018 application can only be made to a Nursery School or Nursery Unit in a Primary School.
  • It is important that you understand that by declining the offer of a funded place at this stage you may risk not getting another offer of a funded place.   
  • at the point of making your first application you had been given the opportunity to express your order of preferences.  Your reason for a change at this stage may be a valid one due to your circumstances, rather than just wanting to change your mind and you should consider your reasons carefully, as to why you are wishing to change given the risk of not getting a second offer, as you are not guaranteed a place of your choice.
  • you should also be aware that additional funded places will not be granted to a provider for a child who already was offered a funded place in another setting.
  • If you have carefully made your decision that you want to proceed to decline the offer and apply to a pre-school that has no places available email preschooladmissions@eani.org.uk and you will be guided further.

NOTE:  If you withdraw your Stage 2 application all preferences on it or the pre-school preference that you declined an offer of will become null and void.  Therefore, you lose the right to be recalled should a place become vacant.

I have a change of address who do I need to tell?

I am a first time applicant how can I apply for a pre-school place?

  • Consult the list of available funded pre-school places, this document is published on the EA’s website at www.eani.org.uk/admissions
  • Identify those pre-schools that you wish to consider your child’s application.  Study the pre-school’s admissions criteria, which can be accessed at https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools
  • A pre-school application form and further information is available at www.eani.org.uk/admissions under applying for a school place. You can sumbit your application by 4pm on 15 June 2020.  If received after than time it will be sent to the pre-school provider you have listed for their consideration.

I have a change in my Benefit Circumstances?

Information is available at www.eani.org.uk/benefitverification to guide you how to provide verification of your benefit.

How do I find out where my child is on a school or playgroup waiting list?

At the close of Stage 2 where a school or playgroup has now filled its admissions number/allocation, and that school or playgroup operates a waiting list policy you can contact them to find out your child’s position on that list.   It is a matter for the school or playgroup to decide if they are able to inform you of this information. 

When will I hear about the outcome of my application for my underage child?

Underage (Penultimate) applications are processed in Stage 2 which commences on 29 April and closes on 8 June with the outcome being issued to parents/guardians for receipt on 9 June 2020.

How can I make contact with a school or playgroup?

You can find this information on the EA website at https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools

Where can I get further help?

Admissions Helpdesk:           

Telephone                   028 9598 5595            Monday to Friday  9am – 5pm

E-mail:                        preschooladmissions@eani.org.uk

Primary

All children who are 4 years old on or before the 1st July must begin their primary education from the beginning of the school year following their 4th birthday.

The application procedure for admission to primary schools for September 2020 concluded on Tuesday 28 April 2020 with the issue of letters to notify parents/guardians of the outcome of their child’s application.  If the application was submitted in time to be processed, this procedure will have resulted in one of a number of outcomes.

What do you need to do now?

Information on what action, if any that you need to take depends on your position.

FAQs are detailed below to assist and signpost you in different scenarios including what you may need to do now as well as information if you have not applied previously for a primary one place.

What do I do if I have received an offer of a P1 place for my child in the primary school which I listed as first preference?

You should be aware that for a small number of schools the offer of a place may be conditional on you, as a parent/guardian, providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria.  Any school requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.

Read the information outlined in the letter you received.  As applicable, the school will advise you when they are able to so, about any induction arrangements, uniform policy, etc.   

What do I do if I have not received my letter of offer due to postal delays - how can I find out the outcome of my application?

As it is possible due to Covid-19 that some post may take longer to deliver than usual, the Citizen Portal will open from 12 noon on Wednesday 29 April. 

  • If you had applied online in January 2020 you can log in to the Citizen Portal to view the outcome of your child’s P1 or Reception application.  Guidance on how to log in and view a placement offer are accessible here.
  • If you applied using a paper application and your form was submitted by 12 noon on 30 January 2020 (treated as punctual) or by 12 noon on 7 February 2020 (treated as late) you can contact the Admissions Helpdesk from noon on Wednesday 29 April to find out the outcome of your application.  Our Helpdesk is also open Monday to Friday 9am to 5am.  (For information paper applications received after 12 noon on 7 February 2020 are not processed until after 29 April 2020.)

Why have I received two letters advising me of the outcome of my application, one from the Education Authority (EA) and one from the school or playgroup?

It is possible that this may have happened in some cases.  Due to the unprecedented Covid-19 situation and given the uncertainty of the situation, the EA put in place contingency arrangements to advise parents/guardians of the outcome of their application on behalf of schools/playgroups.  Some schools/playgroups may have had their placement notifications already prepared and in light of this they may have continued to issue their placement notifications.

Why does the offer letter not inform me of my child’s start date?

The school will be in contact with you when they are able to do so.  We would ask parents/guardians to remain patient in these extraordinary times, as schools and playgroups continue to be guided by the decisions taken by the Minister of Education and the Department of Education in light of the COVID-19 situation. 

How do I accept or decline the place offered?

You can accept the offer of the place by emailing the school, contact details are available on the EA website https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools  You should be aware that for a small number of schools or playgroups the offer of a funded place may be conditional on you as a parent/guardian providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria. Any school or playgroup requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.

OR

If you had also received a letter of offer directly from the school or playgroup they may have guided you on how you can accept the offer.

If you are declining the offer of a place, you should email the school and copy the email to primaryadmissions@eani.org.uk providing your reasons for refusing the offer.  

If applicable, please refer to point 9 of the FAQs if you require guidance on where you had an offer but now you are wishing to apply to another school.

Why has my child been offered a place in a school which was not my first preference?

If schools are oversubscribed they have to apply admissions criteria in order to admit children up to the admissions number. You may wish to contact the school which has not selected your child to discuss the reason why he/she was not offered a place.

There is provision for an appeal against the decision of the Board of Governors of a school(s) in not selecting your child. Information on how to appeal is accessible here.

Do I have to accept the place my child has been offered if it was not my first preference?

It is recommended that you accept the place which has been offered (this has no impact on the admissions appeal process if you decide to appeal).  You should be aware that for a small number of schools the offer of a place may be conditional on you, as a parent/guardian, providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria.  Any school requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.  Read the information outlined in the placement letter which should include guidance as to how you can accept this offer.  As applicable, the school or playgroup will advise you when they are able to so, about any induction arrangements, uniform policy, etc.   

If you had also received a letter of offer directly from the school or playgroup they may have guided you how you can accept the offer.

What should I do if my child has not been offered a place?

If you have received a letter from the EA advising that your child has not been offered any place for the 2020/2021 school year you should:

  • Consult the list of primary schools which may have places available at the close of the admissions procedure, this document is published on the EA’s website at www.eani.org.uk/admissions
  • Identify those schools that you wish to consider your child’s application. Study the school’s admission criteria, which can be accessed on the website at https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools.
  • Complete and return the further preference form which was enclosed with the letter issued to you on Tuesday 28 April 2020.  The completed form should be returned as soon as possible to the Primary Admissions Office, not later than Wednesday 13 May 2020 preferably by email:-

Email to: primaryadmissions@eani.org.uk

By post to: Education Authority (Primary Admissions), 3 Charlemont Place, The Mall, ARMAGH, BT61 9AX

  • If you have listed more than one school on your placement request and the first preference school does not have a place available, your request will be forwarded by Primary Admissions to the school that you are listing as your next preference.  The school will advise you of the outcome of your application, when it is able to do so.
  • If schools are oversubscribed they have to apply admissions criteria in order to admit children up to the admissions number.  You may wish to contact the school which has not selected your child to discuss the reason why he/she was not offered a place.

There is provision for an appeal against the decision of the Board of Governors of a school(s) in not selecting your child. Information on how to appeal is accessible here.

What if my child has been offered a primary one place but I want to change to another school?

If your child has been offered a primary one place but you want to change to another school you should:

  • consult the list of primary schools which may have places available at the close of the admissions procedure, this document is published on the EA’s website at www.eani.org.uk/admissions

How can I change to a school that has places available?

  • Download the Primary One application form which can be accessed on the website; then submit the application directly to the new school for consideration, preferably by email.  The school will advise you of the outcome of your application, when it is able to do so.
  • Only after you are offered a place in writing you should advise the school that originally offered your child a place that you are formally withdrawing your application. This should be done preferably by email to the school, as soon as possible.

How can I change to a school that does not have places available?

  • Identify those schools that you wish to consider your child’s application. Study the school’s admission criteria and their waiting list policy, which can be accessed at https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools
  • If you want to change to a school that does not have places available, then you should contact the school directly, by email, to request that your child’s name is placed on a waiting list for a place.  If you have already applied to the school during the admissions procedure, you do not need to complete a new application form but you may wish to confirm whether your son/daughter’s name has been placed automatically on a waiting list.  Please note that some schools do not operate a waiting list.

What if I had applied for a place after 12 noon on 7 February 2020 and I haven’t received a letter?

If you had submitted a late application after noon on 7 February 2020 you will not receive a letter on 29 April 2020.  Rather, the school to which you had submitted your application will now consider it and advise you of the outcome, as soon as is practically possible.

What should I do if I had not previously applied for a primary one place?

If you have not previously applied for a Primary 1 place you should:

  • Consult the list of primary schools which may have places available at the close of the admissions procedure, this document is published on the EA’s website at www.eani.org.uk/admissions
  • Identify those schools that you wish to consider your child’s application. Study the school’s admission criteria, which can be accessed at https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools
  • You may wish to contact the school directly to confirm that there are still places available, download the application form which can be accessed on the website. Print, complete the application form and bring/send to school.
    Please list in order of preference the school(s) you wish to apply to.
    Submit the application directly to the first preference school for consideration, preferably by email.
    The school will advise you of the outcome of your application, when it is able to do so.
  • If your preferred school does not have a place available you will be advised in writing. If you have listed more than one school on your application form and the first preference school does not have a place available the application form will be returned to you. Please note that you do not have the right to appeal the decision of the Board of Governors of a school which has filled its places.  You should ask the school to place your child’s name on the waiting list in the event that a place becomes available.

You want to apply to a Preparatory School or to an Independent School for a place for your child.

For information on Preparatory Schools and Independent Schools please contact the school directly. Contact details for Preparatory Schools are accessible on the EA’s website https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools  If you have been offered a place in another school and wish to decline it, please formally withdraw your application. This should be done either by letter or email to the school.

How do I apply for Home to School Transport?

For those parents that wish to apply for home to school transport assistance, information on eligibility for transport assistance and how to apply online can be found on the EA’s website www.eani.org.uk/transport.  The online application for transport assistance will be available from Tuesday 12th May 2020.

Where can I get further help?

Admissions Helpdesk:  

Telephone:                     028 9598 5595        Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm

E-mail:                            primaryadmissions@eani.org.uk

 

Post-Primary

The application procedure for admission to post-primary schools for 2020/2021 school year concluded on Wednesday 3 June 2020 with the issue of letters to notify parents of the outcome of their application. 

If your application was submitted in time to be processed, this procedure will have resulted in one of a number of outcomes.

What do you need to do now?

Information on what action, if any, which you need to take depends on the outcome of your application. 

FAQs are detailed below to assist and signpost you in different scenarios including what you may need to do now as well as information if you have not applied previously for a post-primary school place.

What do I do if I have received an offer of a place for my child in the post-primary school which I listed as first preference?

You should be aware that for a small number of schools the offer of a place may be conditional on you, as a parent/guardian, providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria.  Any school requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.

Read the information outlined in the letter you receive.  As applicable, the school will advise you when they are able to so, about any induction arrangements, uniform policy, etc.

What do I do if I have not received my letter of offer due to postal delays – how can I find out the outcome of my application?

As it is possible due to Covid-19 that some post may take longer to deliver than usual, primary schools have been asked to assist with informing parents of post-primary school placements.  Your primary school may have provided you with information on how and when to contact them to find out your child’s placement if your letter does not arrive on 4 June 2020. You can also contact the Admissions Helpdesk from 1pm until 5pm on Thursday 4 June 2020 to find out the outcome of your application.

Why have I received two letters advising me of the outcome of my application, one from the Education Authority (EA) and one from the school?

It is possible that this may have happened in some cases.  Due to the unprecedented Covid-19 situation and given the uncertainty of the situation, the EA put in place contingency arrangements to advise parents/guardians of the outcome of their application on behalf of schools.  Some schools may have had their placement notifications already prepared and in light of this they may have continued to issue their placement notifications.

Why does the offer letter not inform me of my child’s start date?

The school will be in contact with you when they are able to do so.  We would ask parents/guardians to remain patient in these extraordinary times, as schools continue to be guided by the decisions taken by the Minister of Education and the Department of Education in light of the COVID-19 situation. 

How do I accept or decline the place offered?

If the school requires you to formally accept the offer of the place, information on how to do this will be included in the letter from the school.  You should be aware that for a small number of schools the offer of a place may be conditional on you as a parent/guardian providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria. Any school requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.

If you are declining the offer of a place, you should email the school and copy the email to postprimaryadmissions@eani.org.uk providing your reasons for refusing the offer.  

Please refer to point 9 of the FAQs if you require guidance where you had an offer from one school but now wish to apply to another school.

Why has my child been been offered a place in a post-primary school which was not my first preference?

If schools are oversubscribed they have to apply admissions criteria in order to admit children up to the admissions number. You may wish to contact the school which has not selected your child to discuss the reason why he/she was not offered a place.

There is provision for an appeal against the decision of the Board of Governors of a school(s) in not selecting your child. Information on how to appeal is accessible here.

Do I have to accept the place my child has been offered if it was not my first preference?

It is recommended that you accept the place which has been offered (this has no impact on the admissions appeal process if you decide to appeal).  You should be aware that for a small number of schools the offer of a place may be conditional on you, as a parent/guardian, providing them with verifying information in line with their published admissions criteria.  Any school requiring verifying information will be in touch with you when they are able to do so.  The school will advise you when they are able to so, about any induction arrangements, uniform policy, etc.   

What should I do if my child has not been offered a post-primary place?

If you have received a letter from the EA advising that your child has not been offered any place for the 2020/2021 school year you should:

  • Review the list of post-primary schools which may have places available at the close of the admissions procedure, this document is published on the EA’s website at www.eani.org.uk/parents/admissions
  • Identify those schools that you wish to consider your child’s application. Study the school’s admission criteria, which can be accessed https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools
  • Complete and return the further preference form which was enclosed with the letter issued to you on Wednesday 3 June 2020.  The completed form should be returned as soon as possible to the Post-Primary Admissions Office:-

Email to               postprimaryadmissions@eani.org.uk  

By post to            Education Authority (Post-Primary Admissions)

                            Ballee Centre

                            Ballee Road West

                            Ballymena  BT42 2HS

  • If you have listed more than one school on your further preference form and the first preference school does not have a place available, your request will be forwarded by Post-Primary Admissions to the school that you have listed as your next preference.  The school will advise you of the outcome of your application, when it is able to do so.
  • If schools are oversubscribed they have to apply admissions criteria in order to admit children up to the admissions number.  You may wish to contact the school which has not selected your child to discuss the reason why he/she was not offered a place.

There is provision for an appeal against the decision of the Board of Governors of a school(s) in not selecting your child. Information on how to appeal is accessible here.

You can contact the dedicated helpdesk 028 90418053 for further support and information.

What if my child has been offered a post-primary place but I want to change to another school.

If your child has been offered a post-primary place but you want to change to another school you should:

  • review the list of post-primary schools which may have places available at the close of the admissions procedure, this document is published on the Education Authority’s website at www.eani.org.uk/parents/admissions

How can I change to a school that has places available?

  • Identify those schools with places available that you wish to consider your child’s application. Study the school’s admission criteria, which can be accessed at https://www.eani.org.uk/search-schools
  • Contact the school directly to confirm that there are still places available
  • Email postprimaryadmissions@eani.org.uk and ask for your child’s Transfer Form to be sent to the new school for consideration.  The school will advise you of the outcome of your application, when it is able to do so. Please note that some schools fill vacant places on a first come first served basis.
  • Only after you are offered a place in writing should you withdraw your application from the school that originally offered your child place.  This should preferably be done by email to the school, as soon as possible.

How can I change to a school that does not have places available?

  • Email the EA at postprimaryadmissions@eani.org.uk and ask for your child’s Transfer Form to be sent to the new school for consideration in the event that a place becomes available. You should also contact the school directly to request that your child’s name is placed on a waiting list for a place. 
  • If you applied to the school during the admissions procedure, you may wish to contact the school to confirm whether your son/daughter’s name is automatically on a waiting list.  Please note that some schools do not operate a waiting list.

What should I do if I had not previously applied for a post-primary place and now wish to do so?

If you have not previously applied for a post-primary school place you should:

  • Review the list of post-primary schools which may have places available at the close of the admissions procedure, this document is published on the Education Authority’s website at www.eani.org.uk/parents/admissions
  • Contact the school(s) directly, preferably by email, to confirm if there are still places available.
  • Request a Transfer Form by email from postprimaryadmissions@eani.org.uk Complete and return the form to this email address.  The EA will send your Transfer Form to the school and the school will advise you of the outcome of your application. Please note that you do not have the right to appeal the decision of a school which has already filled its places. You may wish to ask the school to place your child’s name on the waiting list in the event that a place becomes available.

How do I apply for a place in an Independent School for my child?

For information on Independent Schools please contact the school directly. If you accept a place in an independent school you should formally withdraw your application for other schools. This should be done either by letter or email to the school with a copy to postprimaryadmissions@eani.org.uk

What if I had applied for a place after 4pm on 24 April 2020 and I haven’t received a letter?

If you had submitted a late application after 4pm on 24 April you will not receive a letter on 4 June 2020.  Rather, the schools which you had nominated will now consider the applications and advise you of the outcome, as soon as is practically possible.

How do I apply for Home to School Transport?

For those parents that wish to apply for home to school transport assistance the Education Authority has introduced a new online application process.

Further information on eligibility for transport assistance and how to apply online can be found on the Education Authority website at www.eani.org.uk/transport

The online application for transport assistance will be available from Tuesday 16th June 2020 at 12 noon.

Where can I get further help?

Admissions Helpdesk:    Telephone 028 9598 5595

E-mail:                            postprimaryadmissions@eani.org.uk

Appeals FAQs

Nursery, Primary and Post-Primary

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) have the right to appeal to an Independent Appeal Tribunal against the decision of a Board of Governors of a school to refuse admission to their child. This leaflet explains the grounds for appeal and other information relevant to making an appeal.

What are the grounds for an admission appeal?

    • An appeal can only be upheld if a Tribunal finds that the admissions criteria were not applied or not correctly applied and that if the admissions criteria had been  correctly applied the child would have been admitted to the school.

You may wish to contact the school which has not selected your child for admission to discuss the reason why he/she  was not offered a place, to assist  you  in deciding whether  to  appeal the decision.

There is

    • no right of appeal against a voluntary playgroup or private provider which participates in the pre-school programme; and
    • no right  of appeal if you have been offered a part time afternoon place in a nursery school/unit as opposed to a part time morning place or vice versa.

An Admission Appeal also:-

    • cannot consider domestic circumstances such as childminding, work or transport arrangements to and from school; and it

cannot consider your eligibility to receive a benefit as defined under the ‘Socially Disadvantaged Circumstances’ criterion when making application for a funded pre-school place. Your eligibility to receive a benefit as listed would be considered by your local Social Security/Jobs & Benefits Office which is a separate process to the pre-school admissions procedure (e.g) if you were on tax credits and not as yet transferred to Universal Credit. Information on the benefits as defined under ‘Socially Disadvantaged Circumstances’ can be accessed on the under Pre-School - General Information www.eani.org.uk/admissions

If I decide that I want to appeal my child’s case, what do I need to do?

Online Appeal Form

An online appeal form has been made available for you to complete and submit.  You will need to upload a document giving your reasons for appealing and also any other supporting documentation that you want the Tribunal to consider.  Before you start to complete the appeal form you should ensure that you have your documentation saved somewhere that you can easily access it and name the files with your child’s name in preparation for uploading to your appeal form.   

If you need to access a Paper Appeal Form you can contact the Clerk by emailing:

Pre-school –                                        nurseryappeals@eani.org.uk

Primary –                                             primaryappeals@eani.org.uk

Post-Primay 14+ (Dickson Plan) –      seniorhighadmissions@eani.org.uk

Post-Primary –                                    admissionappeals@eani.org.uk

Or by post to:

The Clerk to the Tribunal, c/o School Admissions Office,

Education Authority, 3 Charlemont Place, The Mall, Armagh BT61 9AX

Include your child’s name, date of birth and the name of the school(s) you wish to appeal against in the email/letter.

Is there a deadline for submitting my appeal form?

Yes, the last dates/times for submission of appeals are NOT later than 4pm on:
 

  Date
Pre-school Stage 1 Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Primary Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Post-Primary 14+ (Dickson Plan) Friday, 22 May 2020
Post-Primary Thursday, 18 June 2020
Pre-school Stage Monday, 22 June 2020

If the Clerk to the Tribunal does not receive your appeal form by the dates/times outlined your right of appeal will lapse and an appeal will not proceed.

Can I appeal the decision of a school if my pre-school or primary application was late?

Yes, you may appeal the decision but if the school was oversubscribed with punctual applications then your appeal will be unsuccessful as schools are required to give priority to punctual applications.

What information should I include in my appeal documentation?

In preparing your appeal documentation you should:

  1. read the school’s admissions criteria. The admissions criteria can be found via the Education Authority website www.eani.org.uk/admissions
  2. consider the criteria and explain why you think the school did not apply them correctly in your child’s case.

It is important that as much of your case as possible is presented to the Clerk prior to the Tribunal hearing therefore you should include all the relevant information in your appeal documentation.

Please Note:
A separate appeal form must be completed for each school you are appealing against.

When will I see the case made by the school I am appealing against?

Before the hearing, the case made by the school will be sent to you and at the same time your case, including the appeal documentation you have provided will be sent to the school.

If, having received the case from the Board of Governors, you wish to provide further details or information then this should be sent to the Clerk at least five working days prior to the hearing to enable it to be given to the Board of Governors and the appeal tribunal members.

When and where will the hearing take place?

The EA is considering how and when appeals will happen given the current situation with Covid-19.  Recent legislation permits appeals to take place via a live audio/video link. Further information will be updated on the EA website in due course.

How much notice will I be given of the date and time of the hearing?

You will normally be given 5 working days written notice of the date, time and venue of the hearing.

How long will the hearing last?

The length of the hearing will depend on the complexity of the case but normally they last no more than 30 minutes.

Who are the members of the appeal tribunal?

A tribunal consists of members, appointed by the Education Authority but independent of it.

Who will be present at the hearing?

The members of the appeal tribunal, the Clerk appointed by the Education Authority, a representative of the school (if in attendance), yourself and/or if you wish, your representative. The child in question cannot attend the appeal.

How do I prepare and present my case to the appeal tribunal?

The proceedings will be as informal as possible. The chair and members of the tribunal will try to put you at ease.

Before the hearing you may find it helpful to:

  1. have read through the case made by the school and its application to your child;
  2. have written down the main points of your case so that you can refer to them during the appeal, and
  3. have prepared any questions you wish to raise about the school’s case, particularly if you wish to obtain further details or to challenge aspects of their case.

During the hearing you can:-

  1. ask further questions about the school’s case based on their presentation to the tribunal;
  2. bring to the attention of the appeal tribunal, matters which you believe are relevant to your case. However, the appeal tribunal can only consider the evidence that was available to the Board of Governors at the time it was making its decision regarding the admission of your child; and
  3. explain how you feel that the criteria have not been applied, or not correctly applied by the school in your child’s case.

Can I ask someone to help me to present my case during the hearing?

Yes, if you wish you can ask a friend, family member, elected representative or solicitor.

Do I need legal representation?

A legal representative is not necessary to present an appeal. It is a matter for you to decide if you want to engage a legal representative which will be at a cost to you, even if your appeal is successful.

Can I introduce new or further evidence to the appeal tribunal?

No. The appeal tribunal can only consider the evidence that was available to the Board  of Governors at the time it was making its decision regarding the admission of your child.

What form will the hearing take?

The chair  will  introduce the appeal tribunal members and outline the procedures. All verbal communication is done through the chair.

Who makes the decision and when will I know the result?

The appeal tribunal makes its decision in private after hearing the case and this, together with the grounds for the decision, is then issued in writing as soon as possible. If the decision of the appeal tribunal is that your child should be admitted to the school, then that decision is binding upon the school.

If the tribunal turns down my appeal can I appeal to the Education Authority or the Department of Education?

No. There is no right of appeal to either the Education Authority or the Department of Education on the decision of an Independent Admissions Appeal Tribunal.

If either party is dissatisfied with the decision of an appeal tribunal they may wish to seek independent legal advice particularly with regard to whether or not it would be appropriate to apply for leave from the High Court for the decision to be judicially reviewed. However there must be proper grounds for making such an application and there are specified time limits within which to do so.

Who pays my expenses?

You are responsible for all of your costs involved in bringing the appeal to the tribunal.

What if my child is unplaced?

If a child has not been selected for a place in a school then you should continue to seek a placement in a school at which places are available. Information on schools with places available can be found on the EA website. Admission to a particular school, or otherwise, does not affect the parents/guardians right of appeal or the decisions of a tribunal.

The school that refused my child admission has advised me that it made an error in applying the admissions criteria. Do I still have to go to appeal?

Yes, an appeal is the only statutory means to alter a school’s decision to refuse a child admission. You should be aware that such a statement is not a guarantee that your appeal will be successful. An appeal can only be upheld if a Tribunal finds that the admissions criteria were not applied or not correctly applied and that if the admissions criteria had been correctly applied the child would have been admitted to the school.

I want to withdraw my appeal. What do I do?

You should email the Clerk to the Tribunal to confirm this. The relevant email address as stated in Point 2 above.

My child has been offered a place by the school that I was appealing. What do I do?

The Education Authority is likely to have been made aware of this but you should email the Clerk to the Tribunal at the relevant email address as stated in Point 2 above.

Where do I get help?

If you have any further queries about the appeal tribunal and the preparation of your case, please do not hesitate to contact the Clerk to the Tribunal by emailing the relevant email address as stated in Point 2 above or telephone the Helpdesk 028 9598 5595.

What can I do if I am dissatisfied with the conduct of the Tribunal?

If you are dissatisfied with:

  1. the conduct of the Tribunal;
  2. the conduct of the Clerk;
  3. the administration of your appeal;

you should raise these concerns in writing with the Clerk (at the address below) or by emailing the relevant email address as stated in Point 2 above.

Postal address of the Tribunal

Clerk to the Tribunal
c/o Education Authority
3 Charlemont Place

The Mall
Armagh
BT61 9AX

Other Information

Admission Number

The Department of Education determines an admissions number for each school, in consultation with the Board of Governors and having also considered any representations made by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and the Education Authority in relation to all schools. The Board of Governors is not permitted to admit a greater number of pupils at the normal stage of entry to the school, unless it obtains the approval of the Department of Education.

Enrolment Number

The Department of Education determines an enrolment number, based on the physical capacity for each school, in consultation with the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors shall not:

  1. admit to the school a number of pupils which exceeds the school’s admissions number for the year; or
  2. cause or permit the number of registered pupils at the school at any time to exceed the school’s enrolment number.

Admissions Criteria

The Board of Governors of each grant-aided school is required to draw up admissions criteria. The Education Authority publishes criteria on behalf of all schools. If there are more applications than places available it is the admission criteria that are applied to decide which children are to be admitted to the school.

Generic FAQs

Admissions FAQs

Can I still apply for Pre-School or P1?

You can find detailed information here on how to submit an application at this stage for Pre-School and Primary 1.

Duplicate Applications

You can only make one application for your child. Otherwise you will have made a false declaration.  In the event that parents are discovered to have lodged more than one application for a child, then the first application lodged will normally be treated as the formal expression of parental preference and all other applications will not be considered.

Parents disagree on which schools to apply to/priority order for preferences

In cases where parents cannot agree on the preferences for their child they should endeavor to do so as soon as possible to minimise the risk of their child being unplaced.  If mutual agreement is not possible ultimately you may need to obtain a Specific Issues Order from the court.  If you require further advice you should contact the Education Authority.

Can I defer my child starting Primary One?

There is no legislative provision for deferring the normal age of starting primary school and as your child is compulsory school age then he/she is due to attend primary 1 unless he/she has a statement of special educational needs that says the child should remain in a pre-school setting.

Should you feel that your child is not ready to attend primary one you should read the information available in the document School Starting Age: A Guide for Parents which is available on the Education Authority website.

Pre-school FAQs

My child is under the age of 2, can I apply for pre-school?

No, if your child is under the age of 2 you can make contact with the Early Years Organisation or Family Support NI for further advice 

Early Years Organisation

Family Support NI

Is Pre-School compulsory?

No, although good quality pre-school education has important benefits.  Parents make application for a funded place on the understanding that their child will attend 5 days per week.  This will enable their child to benefit fully from a quality pre-school experience.

Do I need to put my name down or register with a pre-school provider?

No and even if you have given your name to a provider, you would still need to apply for admission.

Can my child attend a funded place in the morning and one in the afternoon?

No.  A child is only entitled to one funded place in a nursery school/unit or playgroup or private nursery e.g. a child may not have a funded place in a playgroup in the morning and attend a nursery school/unit in the afternoon.

Can my child be enrolled for a second year in Pre-School?

If your child is already attending pre-school and is at the age to apply for a second year, you still must complete an application. There is no automatic entitlement to a second year placement.

Can my child do another year in funded Pre-School instead of starting school?

No. A child over compulsory school age is not entitled to a funded pre-school education place.

Our information leaflet entitled ‘School Starting Age – A Guide for Parents' includes information on the legislation that determines compulsory school age, making your own arrangements to educate your child of compulsory age and advice on what to do if you have concerns about your child settling into primary school.

www.eani.org.uk/publications/starting-school-age-a-guide-for-parents

What does socially disadvantaged circumstances mean when applying for a funded pre-school place?

Legislation requires pre-school providers to give priority to children in their final pre-school year who are from socially disadvantaged circumstances.

The Department of Education has defined socially disadvantaged circumstances as applying to a child whose parent is in receipt of any of the following benefits:-  

  • Income Support; 
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; 
  • An award of Income Support which has been converted into an Employment and Support Allowance and the level of benefit remains the same; or
  • Universal Credit.

If you are in receipt of any of these benefits contact EA Pre-School Admissions for further information at preschooladmissions@eani.org.uk or visit www.eani.org.uk/benefitverification

How do I inform a pre-school who offers a morning and afternoon session, my order of session?

Pre-School legislation enables parents to list full-time or part-time preferences, it does not recognise morning and afternoon sessions as preferences. Where a pre-school offers a morning and afternoon session you can mention in your reasons for that preference, your order of session. The admissions criteria will inform you if a pre-school offers a morning and afternoon session.  

What curriculum is taught in pre-school?

All funded pre-school education centres must follow common pre-school curricular guidance to plan and organise the children's learning.

Who can I speak to about a pre-school provider’s published admissions criteria?

The Board of Governors of a Nursery School or Primary School with a Nursery Unit and the Management Committee of a Voluntary or Private Playgroup are responsible for determining and applying their own admissions criteria.  Any queries on the content of the published criteria should be directed to the pre-school provider.

Primary FAQs

Where can I find out about schools and their admissions criteria?

Use our 'Find a school’ section to search for schools in your area and read their admissions criteria.

You may wish to visit schools you are considering applying to by attending their open days/evenings. Details of the dates and times of open days/evenings and schools’ admissions criteria will be published on this website and advertised by schools.

Do I need to apply for a primary one place?

If your child was born between 2 July 2015 and 1 July 2016 they will be due to start primary one in September 2020 and as they will be of compulsory school age you must apply for a place in a primary school. 

Exceptions

Special Educational Needs Applications

If your child is undergoing statutory assessment you still need to apply for a primary one place.  However, you should not complete an application if your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs.  Your child’s placement will be arranged through the EA’s Special Educational Needs Department.

Children currently enrolled in a Reception Class

If your child is currently enrolled in the Reception Class of a primary school and you wish for them to continue their primary one education at the same school then a new application is not required.  However, if you wish to apply for your child to be admitted to a different primary school then you must complete an application for consideration.

Preparatory Departments and Independent Schools
For information on making application to the Preparatory Departments of grammar schools or to Independent Schools you should contact the schools directly. 

Last updated: 09/06/2020