Applying for a Post Primary Year 8 Place

Information on making a Post Primary Year 8 application.

The EA Connect Portal for application to Post Primary is now closed.

See our information on making a ‘Late Application’. 

Special Educational Needs

If your child is undergoing statutory assessment, you still need to apply for a Post Primary 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.

Late Application

The closing date for punctual Post Primary Year 8 applications was 12.00 noon on Thursday 22 February 2024.

Applications received between 12 noon Thursday 22 February 2024 and 4pm Monday 4 March 2024 will be treated as late.

All late applications will be paper based and must be returned by 4pm Monday 4 March 2024.

Contact [email protected] or call 028 95 98 5595 to request an application form.

If you started an application on EA Connect but did not submit, you will need to complete a late application and return by 4pm Monday 4 March 2024.

Any applications received after 4pm Monday 4 March 2024 will not be processed until after the end of the procedure on Saturday 18 May 2024.

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.

Supporting Documents

If you have submitted an application on EA Connect you have until 4pm Monday 4 March 2024 to upload supporting documents

If you are completing a late application, documents should be returned along with your form by 4pm Monday 4 March 2024.

EA Connect

Birth Certificate

All schools will require the birth certificate to verify a child’s name and date of birth. Either a full (long) or short birth certificate may be used or an amended birth certificate or an adoption certificate, where appropriate, is acceptable. If a birth certificate is not available you can contact the school to determine what alternatives may be acceptable e.g. a biometric card, passport, medical card etc.

Other Supporting Documents

Check the admissions criteria for each of the schools you have listed as some schools ask for additional documentation such as proof of address and/or proof of eldest child. This documentation may be requested at the time of application, during the process or at the notification of placement. If verifying documents are being requested at the time of application you will need to upload the information on EA Connect for all school choices.

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

If a school has asked for documents which you do not have, or if it is unclear what type of documents are needed, you should email or phone the school directly to find out what they will accept as it can vary from school to school.

Outcome of Application

Saturday 18 May 2024

If you submitted a punctual application on EA Connect you will receive an email notification to the address you registered with. The email will provide you with basic details on the outcome of your child’s application. For more detailed information you can log in to EA Connect on the same date.

Applicants who submitted a paper application will either be advised of the outcome by email (if supplied on form) or by letter.

School Age

If your child was born between 2 July 2012 and 1 July 2013 you will need to apply for their Year 8 Post Primary school place for September 2024.

Key Dates



Thursday 11 January 2024

Admissions criteria for Post Primary Schools published on the EA website.

Tuesday 30 January 2024 - at 12 noon

EA Connect opens for online applications for Post Primary.

Thursday 22 February 2024 - at 12 noon

EA Connect closes for online applications for Post Primary.

Monday 4 March 2024 – by 4pm

Final date for late paper applications.

Saturday 18 May 2024

Parents/carers will receive application outcome via email (where one is held) or by letter.

Find a School

Use the ‘Search Schools’ tool below to search for Post Primary schools in your area and read or download their admissions criteria.

Other sources of information which may be useful to you include:

Read the Admissions Criteria

All schools have admissions criteria. If they receive 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 published admissions criteria for each school that you wish to nominate as a preference. 

You should complete your application providing all the relevant details/preference reasons about how your child meets the schools’ admissions criteria.

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

Please note that you cannot list the same preference more than once. The only exception where you can list a school twice in your order of preference is if you wish to apply for a school which offers both English and Irish Medium education. Where there is an option of applying separately to an Irish Medium Unit, EA Connect will indicate this in the school’s name.

If your child’s application is not selected by your first preference school it will then be considered by your second preference school. The process will be repeated until a place has been allocated or all preferences that you have listed have considered your application. Places will be allocated to those who best meet the admissions criteria for each school. 

Any queries on the content of a school’s published admissions criteria should be directed to the school.

Search Admissions Criteria

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.

You should list at least four schools in order of your preference. You may need to nominate more schools if the schools you have chosen are normally oversubscribed.  You should include at least one non grammar school. 

The first school you list will consider your application. If they are unable to offer a place the application will then go to your second preference school and so on until a school is able to offer a place or the list is exhausted.

You can list up to 12 schools on the online 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 options. 

Carefully select those schools that you wish to nominate as some schools have similar names e.g., St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick, St Mary’s High School, Newry etc.

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.

Consider whether transport assistance will be available from the EA. Your school choices can affect eligibility for transport assistance. Check Transport Eligibility.

Entrance Assessment – Special Provisions and Special Circumstances

Schools’ Entrance Assessment Group (SEAG) have provided an Entrance Assessment which some schools will use to select pupils for admission. The EA is not involved in these tests, nor does it have information on the scores/grades.

Information on Entrance Assessments is referred to in the admissions criteria published by schools. 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 Assessments 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 assessments. 

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.

Admissions FAQs

Last updated: 22/02/2024