Northern Ireland

NI education: New online admissions system begins

school desk Image copyright Getty Images

The Education Authority (EA) says it received more about 6,000 applications on its new online school admissions process in its "first number of hours".

All parents or guardians of pupils due to start pre-school or primary school in Northern Ireland in 2019 can now apply for a place online.

The new system went live on Tuesday and people can apply via the EA website until 31 January.

EA said a small number of users had experienced some difficulties.

In a tweet the Education Authority apologised for "any inconvenience caused".

The process replaces the previous paper-based system. Parents or guardians will have to register through the EA website in order to apply.

However, it is still up to individual schools to select pupils in line with their published admissions criteria.

By mid afternoon on Wednesday, the number of applications had risen to about 7,000.

'Not first come, first served'

The EA's director of operations, Sara Long, said that parents should name at least four school choices in order of preference.

She also said the process was not a "first come, first served" one.

Image copyright Education Authority
Image caption Sara Long is the chief executive of the Education Authority in Northern Ireland

"While most children obtain a place at one of their preferred settings, this cannot be guaranteed," she said.

"Parents can list as many pre-schools or 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."

Parents will receive an email from the EA to confirm that their application has been received.


Further information on all aspects of the process are available on the EA website.

However, pupils will not find out which school they are being admitted to until 10 May.

The vast majority of children should be placed by that stage, but in some previous years a relatively significant number of pupils have had to wait longer than that.

Some schools are also likely to be oversubscribed in areas where there is increasing demand for places.

The process for older children applying to post-primary schools is unchanged in 2019, but is also likely to move to an online-only system in 2020.

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