Pre-school Admissions Guide

Although pre-school isn't compulsory it has benefits. Our guide will help you understand more about the process and what to expect when applying for a place in pre-school for your child.

Age to apply for a funded Pre-School place in the September 2020–June 2021 school year?

Target Pre-School Age:-  If your child is born on or between 2 July 2016 and 1 July 2017 they will be in their final pre-school year (Target Age) and you will be eligible to apply for a funded place for your child in either:-

  • a Nursery School; or
  • a Nursery Unit in a Primary School; or
  • a Voluntary/Private playgroup provider

Penultimate (Underage):- If funded places are still available after target age children are admitted then underage (penultimate) children born on or between 2 July 2017 and 1 July 2018 may also be admitted.  If your child falls within this age group you will be eligible to apply to:-

  • only a Nursery School or a Nursery Unit
Pre-School admissions procedure is in two Stages

After the application closing date of 12 noon on 30 January 2020 pre-schools will commence consideration of applications within a 2 stage process:-

Stage 1 – Consideration of target age applications (children in their final pre-school year)
Stage 2 - Consideration of target age children unplaced at close of Stage 1, underage applications, applications from children living in Republic of Ireland, target age applications received after 12 noon on 7 February 2020 and new target applications received in Stage 2.

A late application received by 12 noon on 7 February 2020 will be processed during Pre-School (Stage 1) admissions procedure.

Late applications received after 12 noon on 7 February 2020 will not be considered until the Stage 1 admissions procedure has ended on 28 April 2020,  These applications will be considered during Stage 2.

Stage 2 of the Pre-School Admissions procedure commences on 29 April 2020. An application received after 5 May 2020 will not be processed until Stage 2 of the admissions procedure has closed on 8 June 2020. 

The outcome of an application considered after 8 June 2020 will be issued by 30 June 2020 or when the pre-school is able to do so.  Any application received after 15 June will be forwarded to the pre-school for consideration.

If you have still to make application for Pre-School you can check the list of funded places available and complete an application.

Before you submit your application it is important that you read the admissions criteria of the pre-schools you are interested in sending your child to.

When completing the application you will need to make sure you include all the relevant information about how your child meets the criteria, as this is what pre-schools will use when applying criteria and making decisions on which children will be offered places.

I am socially disadvantaged.  How do I get my benefit verified?
Information is available at to guide you how to provide verification of your benefit.

For more information, please view the full Pre-School Admissions User Guide below (Published January 2020).

Download the Full Pre-School Admissions Guide (Published January 2020)

Last updated: 09/06/2020