Applying for a School Place

Information on the procedures for pre-school/school admissions in September 2020.

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.

Places are not allocated on a first come, first served basis.

It's important to apply for a pre-school/school place by the closing date.

  • Pre-School – If your child is eligible for pre-school education, you can apply online in January 2020.
  • Primary School - If you are applying for a primary school place, you can apply online in January 2020.
  • Post Primary – If you are applying for a post primary school place, the Transfer Form and guidance notes will be available from your child’s primary school in late January 2020.

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.

Important Information


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.

Application Information

  • 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 pre-schools/schools admissions criteria in your Preference Reasons in the application. Admissions Criteria is now available for Pre-Schools, Primary Schools and Post-Primary Schools under Find a Pre-School/School.  
  • Complete, Review and Submit the application, placing pre-schools/schools in order of your preference.
  • Please note that there are different deadlines for Pre-school, Primary and Post-Primary applications. Details of which can be found here and also in the Admissions Guides.
  • Contact the EA Admissions Helpdesk if you have any queries or are experiencing any issues.
  • Lastly, please ensure that you bring any verifying documents needed to the first preference Pre-School/School by the deadline specified.

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 -

How to Apply Online - Video and Guidance

To view translated versions of the Admissions 2020 leaflet in Irish, Polish, Portuguese & Lithuanian click here.

Start my Pre-School / Primary School Application

You have until 12 noon on Thursday 30 January 2020 to apply for Pre-school and primary school online admissions.

Places are NOT allocated on a first come, first served basis. Schools and playgroups 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.

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: 14/01/2020