Pre-school education places for September 2019

The Pre-School Education Programme funds education for children in the year before they start primary school. Pre-school education is available to every child but it's not compulsory. If you want your child to have pre-school education, you need to apply for a place.

Children eligible for pre-school education places

Children born between 2 July 2015 and 1 July 2016 are eligible for pre-school education places starting in September 2019. 

When to apply for a pre-school education place

Online applications closed on 31 January 2019 in the pre-school admissions process.  More information is given below on late applications. 

When a child is offered a place

If your child  has been offered a pre-school education place, the setting will have written to you by Friday 10 May 2019.

When a child isn't offered a place

If you applied on time but your child  hasn’t been offered a place, the Education Authority will have written to you by Friday 10 May 2019.  They'll ask you to list further preferences by 16 May 2019 for pre-school settings that still have places available.

Late applications for pre-school places

Online applications for pre-school places received by the 31 January 2019 closing date are considered first.

Late applications received by the deadline of 25 March 2019 will be considered after online applications that were received by the closing date.

Late applications received after the deadline of 25 March 2019 will not be considered for a place until 10 May 2019, which is the date on which notification of placements are posted to parents.  

The next stage of the admissions procedure commenced on 10 May and runs to 11 June 2019 to enable any remaining children to be placed.

Where pre-school education places are available

Funded pre-school education places are available 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. To read the guidance, go to:

The Education and Training Inspectorate inspects every pre-school setting. To read inspection reports, go to:

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. 

Your child’s birth certificate and other documents

After you apply, you’ll need to give your child’s birth certificate to your first preference pre-school setting. Some settings might ask for other supporting documents. They'll tell you about these in their published admissions information.  You must give your child’s original birth certificate and any other supporting documents to the pre-school. For late applications, you should provide these documents to the pre-school along with your application.

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.

To read admissions criteria for all pre-school settings, go to:

More information about pre-school places

If you need more information about applying for a pre-school education place, contact:

More useful links

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