Post-Primary School Admissions Guide

Our guide will help you understand more about the process and what to expect when applying for a place in post-primary school for your child.

School Age

If your child was born between 2 July 2010 and 1 July 2011 you will need to apply for their post-primary school place for September 2022.

The Post-Primary Application process for 2022/23 has now closed. It is not possible to submit any applications or to make changes on the Application Portal.

See information below on making a Late Application.

Late Applications

Punctual Applications for post-primary admissions in September 2022 closed at 4pm on Wednesday 23 February 2022.

Late applications will be processed where there are exceptional reasons for the late submission and only when a ‘paper application form’ is received by the EA by 4pm on 9 March 2022.  Applications submitted after 9 March will not be processed until after the issue of placement notifications on 21 May 2022, at which point many schools will have filled all available places.

You can contact the Admissions Helpdesk if you require a hard copy of the application form to be posted to you.

Completed application forms and supporting documents may be returned via email to or by post to Post-Primary Admissions Office, Education Authority, 2-6 Ballee Road West, Ballymena BT42 2HS.

Having a late application could reduce your child’s likelihood of gaining a place in your preferred school i.e. some schools will have filled all available places at the end of the admissions procedure.

Changes/adding supporting documents to my child’s application

  • Between 4pm on Wednesday 23 February and 4pm on Wednesday 9 March 2022

Wednesday 9 March 2022 at 4pm is the final date/time for receipt of additional information/documents or changes of preference in exceptional circumstances. If, in exceptional circumstances, you wish to provide additional information to be considered or change your child’s school preference(s) you must submit a request in writing to the Education Authority, by email if possible, to You will need to provide your child’s details and set out the exceptional circumstances for consideration.

  • After 4pm Wednesday 9 March 2022

After 4 pm on Wednesday 9 March 2022 no changes or new information in any circumstances will be processed until after conclusion of the admissions procedure on Saturday 21 May 2022.

Key Dates

 Notification of the outcome of your admissions application for September 2022.

  • Primary One School Place – 28 April 2022
  • Pre-school School Place Stage 1 – 28 April 2022
  • Post Primary School Place – 21 May 2022
  • Pre-school School Place Stage 2 – 16 June 2022

For information on the key dates of the admissions process for Post-Primary Admissions, visit our important dates for your diary page using the link below.

Applying for a Post-Primary School Place

The online Post-Primary Application portal closed at 4pm on Wednesday 23 February 2022.

See the section on Late Applications

It is important that you:

  • Find schools in your area.
  • Read the Admissions Criteria.
  • Check what supporting documentation is required to be submitted with your application
  • List at least four preferences on your application.  
  • Check whether transport assistance will be available for your child by using our Transport Eligibility Checker.


The following children are exempt from the post-primary admissions process:

  • Children with a statement of special educational needs.

You should not complete an application if your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs as your child’s placement will be arranged through the EA’s Special Educational Needs Department. 

However, if your child is undergoing statutory assessment and does not currently have a statement you still need to apply for a post-primary place. 

  • Children who will be attending an independent school.

You will need to contact the school directly to make admissions arrangements for child to attend an independent school.

Admissions Criteria

It is the responsibility of the Board of Governors of each school to determine the admissions criteria to be used in the event of oversubscription i.e. if schools receive more applications than they have places available. 

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

You should complete your application providing all the relevant details about how your child meets each school’s admissions criteria.

Documentation to Support Applications

It is important that you support your application with any documents requested in the admissions criteria of the post-primary schools to which you are applying, for example, proof of address, eldest child/eldest eligible child status or an entrance test result certificate 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 school to offer a place to your child.

School Preferences

Parents have the right to express preferences for the schools they would like their child to attend, but no child can be guaranteed a place in any school or any particular type of school (secondary, integrated, grammar, single sex etc).

It is strongly recommended that you should list at least four preferences and you may need to nominate more than four schools if the schools you are nominating are normally oversubscribed.  You should include at least one non grammar school. 

Please note that you will not be asked for further preferences during the procedure.  You will only be asked for further preferences if your child is unsuccessful in obtaining a place at the end of the admissions process, at which point many schools will have filled all available Year 8 places.

You will be able to list up to 6 preferences on the Late application.  You cannot list the same school more than once, unless the school you are applying to has a Boarding Department or Irish Medium Unit in which case you may list either or both. 

You should be aware that some schools give priority to applicants who have listed their school as first preference, therefore, applicants who list the school at a lower preference may have less chance of obtaining a place at the school.

If relevant, consider whether transport assistance will be available from the EA. Your admissions preferences can affect eligibility for transport assistance. For more information see Information on eligibility for transport assistance.

Transfer Tests

AQE and PPTC/GL tests are unregulated entrance assessments organised independently by schools. The EA is not involved in these tests nor does it have information on the scores/grades.

Information on unregulated tests is referred to in the admissions criteria published by schools. However as these tests are unregulated any specific queries regarding scores/grades, arrangements for special circumstances and special provision etc should be raised directly with the school(s) to which you are applying.

Special Circumstances

Most schools which use entrance tests will consider medical or other problems which may have affected performance in the test(s) and which are supported by independent documentary evidence of a medical or other appropriate nature. These medical or other problems are commonly referred to as special circumstances.

Special Provisions

Special provisions refer mainly to pupils transferring from schools outside Northern Ireland or pupils who have received more than half of their primary education outside NI.  Special provisions may also include cases where a child was unable to sit any entrance tests. 

If you are making a claim for consideration of special circumstances or special provisions you should read very carefully the requirements set out in the admissions criteria of each school, to determine if and how they may apply to your child.  This can differ from school to school so it is important to read the admissions criteria for all schools to which an application is being made.

You must provide all relevant documents and information required to your online application.

Notification of the outcome of Applications

You do not need to log in to the online portal on Saturday 21 May to find out the outcome of your application.

If you submitted an application through the online Post-Primary Application an email will be issued to you on the morning of Saturday, 21 May 2022 notifying you of the outcome of your child’s application.

If you submitted a paper application by the closing date of 4pm 23 February you will receive notification by email, where an email address was provided, or by post where an email address was not provided.

Applications received in exceptional circumstances up until 4pm 9 March will receive notification of placement by email (or by letter, where an email address was not provided) on Saturday 21 May 2022.

Applications received after 4pm 9 March will not be considered by the school(s) until after 21 May 2022. Where a school is able to offer a place it will contact you directly.

If your child has not yet been placed in a school you had listed on your application the EA will advise you on the same date and you will be asked to add additional preferences from a list of schools which still have places remaining available.

Full Post-Primary School Admissions Guide

Contact Post Primary Admissions

For further information and guidance you can contact the Post Primary Admissions team on;

Admissions Helpdesk 028 9598 5595

Last updated: 12/05/2022