The Education Authority has apologised to parents after its new online admissions process for pre-school and primary school places was inundated with traffic when it opened for the first time yesterday.
The new online system opened on the Education Authority (EA) website on January 2 and within hours had been swamped with thousands of applications.
Some parents have reported difficulties accessing the site.
The EA has now apologised for the inconvenience but issued a reminder that the application system remains open until the end of the month.
In a statement, the EA also re-iterated to concerned parents and guardians that places are not allocated on a “first come first served basis”.
An EA spokesperson said: “The Education Authority had successfully received approximately 7000 applications on its new online system for pre-school and primary school places by mid-afternoon today (Wednesday).
“We are still experiencing a high level of business but applications continue to be successfully received. We would like to again reassure parents and guardians that places are not allocated on a first come first served basis and schools and play groups will not consider applications until after the closing date.”
The spokesperson added: “EA apologises for any inconvenience that may have been caused to any parent/guardian due to the very high level of activity on the system and reminds parents/guardians that the admissions process is open until January 31st.
“If parents need any further help with their application or encounter any difficulties we would ask them to contact our Admissions Helpdesk on 028 95 98 55 95 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.”
Ahead of the launch of the new system, EA Director of Operations and Estates Sara Long had urged parents to submit at least four preferences.
“The EA processes over 70,000 applications for places every year on behalf of preschool, primary and post-primary schools. The new online process for applying for a preschool or primary school place for September 2019 is easy to use,” she said.
“The online application form is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week up to the closing date.”
She added: “While most children obtain a place at one of their preferred settings, this cannot be guaranteed. Parents can list as many pre-schools/schools as they wish but by listing at least four, the likelihood of not being offered a place at the close of the procedure is decreased.
“Some pre-schools/schools are oversubscribed and these settings will apply their admissions criteria to determine which children will be offered a place. As each application is assessed against the admissions criteria, it is important to read carefully the published criteria for each pre-school/school and indicate on the application how your child meets them.”