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.

The Citizen Portal is available to make an online application for admission to pre-schools in September 2020.

Places are not allocated on a First Come, First Served basis.

You will be able to apply online between:
12.00 noon (GMT) on Tuesday 7 January 2020
12.00 noon (GMT) on Thursday 30 January 2020

If you are unable to apply online, paper applications will be available on request from pre-schools/schools or the Education Authority.

Before you submit your application it is important that you read the admissions criteria of the pre-schools/schools that 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/schools will use when applying criteria and making decisions on which children will be offered places.

If you apply after the closing date/time for punctual applications i.e. 12 noon on Thursday 30 January 2020, you will need to complete a paper form as the Citizen Portal will not be accessible after this date, and your application will be treated as a late application (Target Age – Late in Stage 1 and Underage Late throughout the procedure).

For more information, please view the full Pre-School Admissions User Guide below.

Download the Full Pre-School Admissions Guide

Last updated: 06/01/2020