Applying for a School Place

Information on the procedures for pre-school, primary and post primary school admissions in the school year 2021/2022.

Admissions 2021/22

Pre-school / Primary - The online applications portal for admissions to pre-school and P1 in September 2021 has now closed.

Post Primary - If your child was born between 2 July 2009 and 1 July 2010, they will be due to start post-primary school in September 2021. This year you will be able to make an application online between 12 noon on Monday 1 March 2021 and 4pm on Tuesday 16 March 2021.

Important Information

In the menus below, you will find the information on how to find a School and Admissions Criteria, and on how to apply for a place in a pre-school/school.

Step 1: Find a Pre-School/School in your area

Use our 'Search Schools’ below to search for pre-schools/schools in your area and read or download their admissions criteria.

As applicable some other sources of information may be useful to you.  These include:

Search Schools

Step 2: Read the Admissions Criteria

All pre-schools/schools have admissions criteria. If they get more applications than they have places available, they use these criteria to decide who to offer places to.

Before starting to complete your child’s application you should read carefully the admissions criteria for each pre-school / school that you wish to nominate as a preference. 

You should complete your application providing all the relevant details about how your child meets the pre-schools/schools admissions criteria.

When making an application it is recommended that you should list at least four pre-schools/schools in the order of your preference, as there is no guarantee your child will be accepted into the first preference.

It is the responsibility of the Board of Governors of each school to decide the admissions criteria to be published.  In Voluntary/Private Playgroups participating in the Pre-School Education Programme it is the Management Committee of each playgroup who carries out this role.

The number of places each school has to offer i.e. the ‘Admissions Number’ is determined by the Department of Education. In Voluntary/Private Playgroups participating in the Pre-School Education Programme the number of funded places available is determined by the EA’s Pre-School Education Group. 

If pre-schools/schools receive more applications than they have places available, they must apply their published admissions criteria to determine which applicants will be offered places.  You should read carefully the admissions criteria for all schools you are considering.  It is strongly recommended that you list at least four schools in your order of preference.

If you are not sure what something means or have any questions about the admissions criteria of any school you should contact the school directly before applying, as this might influence the decisions you make in terms of which schools to apply to and in what order to list your preferences.  It is also important that you fully understand what information or documentation you will need to include or upload to support your child’s application.

Due to the cancellation of transfer tests the admissions criteria for many grammar schools are different this year.  Some schools indicate they will give priority to children who were registered to sit tests and a small number of schools plan to use another form of academic selection.

For more information see our guides Post-Primary Admissions GuidePre-school Admissions Guide, and Primary Admissions Guide.  

Step 3: Check Supporting Documentation for upload

Birth Certificate

A birth certificate is required by all pre-schools/schools to check your child’s date of birth.

Other Supporting Documentation

Check the admissions criteria for each of the pre-schools/schools you have listed to confirm the supporting documents required.  Some pre-schools/schools ask for additional documentation to support or verify information on your child’s application.  This documentation may be requested at the time of application, during the process or at the notification of placement. 

It is important that you support your application with any documents requested in the admissions criteria of the pre-school, primary or post-primary school you are applying to, for example proof of address, proof of eldest child or eldest eligible child to apply etc. A birth certificate needs to be uploaded for every child.

If you do not supply the documents requested this could lead to the withdrawal of a place or the inability of a pre-school/school to offer a place to your child.

If a pre-school/school has asked for verifying documents which you do not have, you should email or phone the pre-school/school directly to ascertain what they will accept as an alternative.

For more information see our Post Primary Admissions Guide, Pre-school Admissions Guide and Primary Admissions Guide. For post-primary admissions you can also watch our video.

Step 4: Apply Now - Start Your Post Primary School Application

You have until 4pm on Tuesday 16 March 2021 to apply for a post-primary school place.

Places are NOT allocated on a first come, first served basis. Schools WILL NOT consider applications until after the closing date.

We are expecting a high volume of applications over the first few days and will be operating a queue system during peak times.

Contact the Admissions Helpdesk if you have any queries.


Special Educational Needs

Special Educational Needs
If your child is undergoing statutory assessment you still need to apply for a pre-school/school 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.

The guides below contain more specific information with regards to each of the application processes for Pre-School, Primary,  Post Primary, Senior High Schools (14+) and also for Transfers between Schools.

Last updated: 01/03/2021