Applying for a School Place

Information on the procedures for pre-school/school admissions in the school year 2020/2021

Children aged between 4 and 16 are of compulsory school age in Northern Ireland and parents/guardians need to apply in order for their child to be considered for a place. You can click on the appropriate guide below for further information and the eligible age ranges for admission.

  • Pre-School – If your child is eligible for pre-school education.
  • Primary School - If you are applying for a primary school place.
  • Post Primary – If you are applying for a post primary school place, the Transfer Form and guidance notes are now available from your child’s primary school.

Important Information

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

Application Information

  • Pre-School Funded Places Available at close of admissions procedure (Stage 2 – at 8 June 2020). View the list of funded pre-school places available and read the published admissions criteria of the pre-schools you are thinking of listing as a preference (a link to the published Admissions Criteria of pre-schools is provided below).  An Application Form is also provided below and Admissions FAQs are also available here for your information
  • Primary 1 Places Available at close of admissions procedure 
  • Post-Primary Places still available 
  • Read the Admissions guides.
  • Find out more information about the schools that you wish to apply for, using our "Find a School" facility.
  • Carefully read the admissions criteria for the pre-schools/schools which you wish to apply for, as you will need to indicate how your child meets the  admissions criteria in your Preference Reasons in the application. Admissions Criteria is available for Pre-Schools, Primary Schools and Post-Primary Schools under Find a Pre-School/School.  
  • Complete your application form and send to the first pre-school you list for their consideration.
  • I am applying for a Pre-School place and am socially disadvantaged. How do I get my benefit verified?
    Information is available at to guide you how to provide verification of your benefit.
  • Details of key dates in the admissions procedures which can be found here and also in the Admissions Guides.
  • Contact the EA Admissions Helpdesk if you have any queries. 


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.

What is Pre-school/School 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 carefully read 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.

Find a Pre-School/School & Admissions Criteria

Use our 'Find a School’ section to search for Pre-Schools/Schools in your area and read or download their admission criteria.

Other sources of information are -

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

Last updated: 30/06/2020