A new online schools admissions process launched by the Education Authority (EA) opens today.
Parents whose children are starting pre-school or primary school in September 2019 will apply for a place via the EA website www.eani.org.uk.
The application process is now open and closes at midnight on 31 January 2019.
EA Director of Operations and Estates Sara Long urged parents to submit at least four preferences.
She also advised the system does not operate on a “first come first served” basis.
“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,” said Ms Long.
“The online application form is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week up to the closing date of Thursday 31st January 2019.”
The first stage of the process is for parents and guardians to choose the pre-schools or schools that they would like to apply to.
Parents should name at least four choices in their order of preference.
The admission criteria for all schools and pre-school settings are published on the EA website.
“While most children obtain a place at one of their preferred settings, this cannot be guaranteed,” Sara Long said.
“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.”
After completing the online application, parents/guardians will receive an email from EA to confirm that their application has been submitted. Parents should bring their child’s birth certificate and any other verifying information to the first preference pre-school or school by 12 noon on Friday, 8 February 2019.
Parents will be informed by letter issued on Thursday 9 May for receipt on Friday 10 May 2019 which pre-school/school their child has been accepted into. This letter will be sent by the pre-school or school.
If a child has not been offered a place at this date, the EA say it will write to parents/guardians providing information on pre-schools and schools which still have places available and what action they need to take to secure an available place.
Parents applying for a place in Primary 1 can also check eligibility for home to school transport assistance whilst online at www.eani.org.uk.
Ms Long added: “Parents can simply enter their home postcode and the name of the school they are applying to and they will be informed immediately whether their child could qualify for transport assistance. The online checker will also identify any closer schools a parent will need to consider applying to. This new facility will help parents in making an informed decision regarding their school preferences.”