Children eligible for pre-school education places
Children born between 2 July 2017 and 1 July 2018 are eligible to apply for a funded pre-school education place starting in September 2021.
When and how to apply for a pre-school education place
The pre-school online portal opened at 12 noon on 7 January 2021 and will close at 12 noon on 29 January 2021.
The online application procedure for pre-school admissions is available on the Education Authority website.
All applications submitted on or before 12.00 noon on 29 January 2021 will be treated as ‘punctual’. Places are not awarded on a first-come-first-served basis.
For further information on the application procedure go to the Education Authority website
Where pre-school education places are provided
Funded pre-school education places are provided in:
- nursery schools
- primary schools with nursery units
- voluntary and private pre-school education settings with government-funded places
All pre-school education settings follow the same Curricular Guidance for Pre-school Education. Read the guidance at the link below.
The Education and Training Inspectorate inspects every pre-school setting.
Funded pre-school education places
All pre-school places available under the Pre-School Education Programme are funded by the government. Parents don't pay for these places.
Admissions criteria for pre-school settings
You should check the admissions criteria for each pre-school education setting that you are considering for your child. In your child’s application, it’s important to show how your child meets the admissions criteria for each pre-school setting.
The admissions criteria for all pre-school settings can be found at:
When will I know the outcome of my pre-school application
Visit the Education Authority website to find out more information.
More information about pre-school places
If you need more information about applying for a pre-school education place, contact: